‘Sexist’ female stand-up comedian Yang Li’s return sweeps Chinese social media again by gender issues
Published: Aug 18, 2021 07:24 PM
Yang Li. Photo: screenshot from Sina Weibo

Yang Li. Photo: screenshot from Sina Weibo

 In the latest episode of Chinese stand-up comedy show Rock and Roast on Tuesday, the controversial "punch line queen" Yang Li surprised audiences again by joking about men and attacking domestic violence.

Yang went viral in China with her sharp appraisals of male behavior during the previous season of the show, making punch lines out of men who have achieved little in life but remained overly confident. 

Her routine even gave rise to the popular term puxinnan (lit: mediocre but confident men) on Chinese social media.

Her jokes about gender issues sparked both love and hate among viewers. Many male netizens accused her of "man hating" and "creating gender opposition."

Now Yang has returned with new punch lines about men and even sensitive issues such as domestic violence, challenging those who have criticized and even abused her online.

The hashtag for Yang's routine rose to No.2 on Sina Weibo's trending charts, earning more than 120 million views as of Wednesday.

"This year I learned the most important lesson in my life, which is to never make fun of men; and if you have to make fun of them, just joke about their success," she said during her performance. 

The observation became one of the most talked-about highlights from the show on Sina Weibo.

The 29-year-old comedian also touched upon the social issue of domestic violence, joking that after she enraged male netizens, her mother is no longer pushing her to get married because she's afraid that any man who wanted to become her husband would beat her more conveniently.

Like her old routines, Yang's new performance has drawn reactions from both extremes of the love/hate spectrum. 

"The Yang Li I know has returned! One of the main reasons why I watch this comedy show is for her. Yang's performance helps work off my anger about the inequality I have experienced in daily life while interacting with some men," Yang, a loyal fan of the show, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

She praised the comic's talent for humorously giving voice to many women out of their inner thoughts.

While Yang represents the voices of support among viewers, there is another opposing group that is calling for a boycott of the comedian. 

"Why do you always want to create gender opposition? If you make money by attacking men, will you feel comfortable?" one netizen commented on Sina Weibo.

The boycott seems to have had some impact. 

Technology company Intel worked with Yang on an advertisement for one of its laptops, but the ad was later pulled in March after Yang was accused of being sexist and offending men.

In the ad Yang says, "Intel's taste in laptops is better than my taste in men." 

Soon after its release, the ad drew complaints from some male netziens, who claimed that Yang shouldn't have promoted Intel laptops after she became famous for "insulting" men since they made up the majority of consumers of the product. Some even vowed to boycott Intel products due to the ad.