Chapter 494: A compilation of Guo Degang's crosstalks!
The next day.
That afternoon, at Central TV's competition grounds.
Today's recording location was a different set, not at the original, small recording studio they had previously been in. The location had been changed to a hall in the basement that took up two levels, or you could say that it was more like an auditorium. All in all, it could accommodate an audience of about 2000 to 3000 people. This location was usually reserved for smaller scale gala events, but it had been reserved for the National Crosstalk Competition today. As the competition had reached the third and final round of preliminaries, all the teams had gathered here for the live internet broadcast. Those who passed the first two preliminary rounds would draw lots to decide their order of appearance. This was why the last round would take longer than usual, as there were a hundred teams scheduled to perform. The estimated period of time for this final round was slated to last about three days.
The auditorium was filled to the brim with audience members.
Seated in the front row were some of the leaders from Central TV, the Crosstalk Association's President, members of the Folk Arts world, and even some of the judges. Tang Dazhang and Xu Wenxiang were amongst those seated in front.
"Your two disciples are quite good."
"Hur hur, they aren't quite there yet. They will still need a lot more practice."
Many crosstalk actors were chatting amongst themselves as well.
An area had been set off to the side specially for the qualifying 500 teams of the first round, in which Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai were a part of.
The seats behind them and on the second level were made up of random people, whether they were fellow crosstalk actors, media, or staff from other agencies. There were also some lucky winners from the Weibo-held lucky draw and others who had gotten the tickets, as well as employees from sponsorship companies. They made up 80% of the audience and numbered in the thousands.
"I'm so looking forward to this!"
"Who do you like the most out of everyone?"
"Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai of course!"
"Haha, I like their crosstalk too. It's really good!"
"But looks like they will have some trouble today. The authorities had already warned them and their fellow actors are also boycotting them. Even the organizers have issued an ultimatum against them, so I wonder how they will perform today."
"At yesterday's crosstalk conference, I heard they listed out Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai's '7 Deadly Sins'. They also said that Zhang Ye kept using the term 'father' to insult Yao Jiancai and his constant use of swear words. That bunch of people is really good at distorting the facts. I think that they're just jealous!"
"Will they continue their vulgar style of crosstalk, or will they compromise with an educational one? Teacher Zhang Ye and Teacher Yao Jiancai have probably already made their choice."
In the middle row, Tian Bin had also gotten his hands on some tickets as a radio host of Central TV to watch his old colleague perform.
The hosts had appeared and they were a male and female duo.
"Leaders, guests, and members of the audience. Good afternoon to everyone of you!"
The first segment for today's show will be to reveal the second preliminary round's vote tally. Among the 500 teams, the top 100 teams would advance to the final round of preliminaries.
After a bunch of introductions and encouraging words, the results were finally revealed!
Coming in First Place: Team Nameless with a total of 1.28 million votes!
When this figure was shown, everyone in the auditorium drew in a cold breath of air!
Everyone was no longer interested in the vote numbers of the final 99 teams. The suspense had already been lost as the second ranked team had only garnered 31,000 votes, with the following teams getting 25,000, 9,000, 8,925 and 6,700....These figures were not noticed by anyone at all! The nameless team's votes had surpassed all of their votes added together by multiple times, so there wasn't anything to play for at all! Actually, in the past years, no team had gotten such low vote numbers before. They would at least score 80-90,000 votes or even 100,000 votes for the good performances, but this year, Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai were too good for the others. They hogged all the attention and votes for themselves and left almost nothing for their competitors to scrape off!
The whole set was filled with discussion.
Everyone knew Team Nameless was Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai's team.
But the hosts made no mention of first place and their introduction title only flashed for a second before disappearing. The hosts directly moved on to announcing the qualifying teams for the third preliminary round without mentioning Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai's names. They had skipped past them without a second thought. They could take part in the competition, but Central TV Department 11 would not give them any promotions or airtime at all.
Half an hour later, the lottery draw for their scheduled appearances began.
On the right side of the seating area, Yao Jiancai turned slightly and whispered, "It'd be better if we get to go early?"
"Yes." Zhang Ye smiled, "For today's performance, I think it's the best if we can go first."
Yao Jiancai said, "Yea, if it happens too late, then I'm afraid we won't even have the chance to perform. If we get scheduled for the third day, the crosstalk world members might even try to create issues for us and cause the program team to disqualify us."
Zhang Ye squinted a little and said, "Let's leave it to luck. It's the best if we can go first."
His words had just stopped when the number on the big screen located on the stage came to a stop. Seeing the number it stopped left many people stunned.
The female host hesitated for a moment before announcing the number, "The first scheduled performance will be by Division C, #8."
They did not announce their names, but everyone knew. This was Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai's team number!
Yao Jiancai slapped his thigh loudly and smiled, "Great one, old bro. We're starting the show? That suits me just fine. Haha, why do I feel that our luck has been extremely good these past two days?"
Zhang Ye knew that it wasn't exactly down to luck, but due to his activation of the "skill" -- Lowering of Difficulty.
Over on the other side, the staff quickly looked for the two of them, "Both of you, please go backstage and prepare." Although the lottery draw was still going until all 100 teams appearance orders were decided, the first team still had to start preparing beforehand.
And so, with everyone's eyes on them, Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai proceeded to go backstage.
At the side of the stage.
A meeting was being held in the studio.
The program team's in-charge said, "I will say it again! There must absolutely be no mistakes today! The SARFT has already given our crosstalk competition a very stern warning! If we continue to broadcast anymore footage of a banned artist, we will all be left jobless, so all of you better get serious!"
"Don't worry about it this time."
Someone said, "Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai will be appearing first, so shall we?"
The person-in-charge and the station had obviously had a discussion earlier on how to handle this, "Commercials will be shown for the entire 10 minutes of their performance. We won't be giving them any airtime at all. They will be cut off 1 second before their performance starts!"
Everyone nodded, "OK."
The in-charge repeated, "Don't ever, ever make any mistake this time!"
The previous two live broadcasts that Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai had received had already left the management scratching their heads in anger. If it happened again, none of them could bear the responsibility, and all of them would be fired!
Another 30 minutes had gone by.
The National Crosstalk Competition's final round of preliminaries had officially started!
Just before the host was about to announce the first performers, just backstage, the person in-charge gave his instruction, "Right now, air the commercials and cut off the feed from the studio!"
A staff member quickly changed the controls and said, "It's done!"
The person-in-charge was really afraid that things would go wrong again, "Check it again."
"The broadcast has already cut to the commercials." That same staff member confirmed.
The person-in-charge said, "All other positions, do a confirmation as well."
Seven or eight staff members busily adjusted their controls to check and confirm that the commercials were playing, "There are really no problems, leader."
Only at this point did the person-in-charge heave a sigh of relief.
But it seems that Central TV was destined to have strange happenings occurring for these few days. A staff member was just making use of the free time that they had now to eat something from their lunchbox when, without warning, a portable charger exploded with a loud noise. The youth received a great shock from it and threw the lunchbox out of his hand, scattering the contents all over the equipment. His elbow reactively smashed into two buttons on the control panel, bada.
The portable charger flew to the side, where everyone placed their clothing at and flames ignited from it, spreading very quickly!
"It's on fire!"
"Put it out! Put out the fire!"
Everyone was furiously trying to put out the fire since the live broadcast controls had already been set anyway. No one checked it, as putting out the fire had taken priority at this moment, otherwise, all the controls in the room would be affected!
On the web.
Tens of thousands of viewers were waiting for the crosstalk live broadcast to start.
"It's Zhang Ye's turn!"
"Right, he's going first!"
"Haha, I can't wait any longer!"
"Eh, damn! Why did it cut to the commercials?"
"They're clearly not giving Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai any airtime?"
"Eh, no, the feed is back. Hahaha! Teacher Zhang and Teacher Yao are coming out soon!"
In the auditorium.
The female host smiled as she announced, "Next, we have our first group of performers, Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai." This time, she read out their names, as the hosts had already been informed earlier of the plan for Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai's performance to not be broadcasted.
Yao Jiancai came onstage first, followed by Zhang Ye behind him.
When they saw them appear on stage, the folk arts and crosstalk world members did not show any reaction, but the thousands of audience members roared with cheers and applause for the two of them. They were already laughing loudly and slapping their thighs when they saw their faces, with some even whistling to cheer them on!
The crosstalk actors were all frowning.
Those crosstalk competition participants didn't look happy either.
Only some of the media people looked at each other and whispered about the on-goings. No matter how the others scolded Zhang Ye, no matter how they chose not to recognize him, just based on Zhang Ye's popularity alone, no one from the crosstalk world could compare to him. Crosstalk had always had a small following as a culture. Nobody had ever heard anything like Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai's crosstalk performances! In the past, this was unthinkable!
And then, everyone stared at the stage as they thought.
Would they compromise?
Would Teacher Zhang seek amnesty with the crosstalk world?
Although everyone knew Zhang Ye's personality to be free spirit he was, at this moment, everyone could not be sure of anything. They weren't sure what kind of performance Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai would do, as they had been banned after all. The National Crosstalk Competition was their last resort, and if they were disqualified, there would be no road ahead for the two of them. They could join other competitions? With the crosstalk competition as an example, no other organizers would accept them anymore! Even if they would be criticized by name, they would never let Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai take part in their competitions. That was without question!
The microphone was set.
Zhang Ye stood on stage and looked up. He smiled and said, "There's quite a large turnout today."
Yao Jiancai nodded, "That is how it is. They're all here to listen to the crosstalk performances."
Zhang Ye said, "The opening performance will be performed by the two of us. Would everyone like to listen, or would everyone like to listen? I won't force you to choose!"
Yao Jiancai said, "Heh, and you call that not forcing?"
Just those few sentences, those few opening lines, had left thousands of audience members in tears from their laughter. With such a level of skill, Zhang Ye left those crosstalk artists with frowns on their faces.
Zhang Ye smiled, "Actually, we preferred going to places like the television station to perform our crosstalk."
Yao Jiancai asked, "Why is that so?"
Zhang Ye said, "Because it's really well led here."
"Ah?" Yao Jiancai said.
The Central TV program team members expressions all changed!
Zhang Ye pointed to the two sides and said, "There are people leading the applause on the sides. Sometimes when you watch those crosstalk performances on TV, the actors just come on stage or as they speak their first few lines, there is immediate applause."
Yao Jiancai wondered, "When they speak their first few lines?"
Zhang Ye grabbed hold of his throat and uttered, "Today..... hualalala....I will give......hualalala......everyone....hualalala......a short crosstalk....hualalala....if it is not good...hualalala." Then he looked at the audience and said, "If it is not good, there would still be applause, but look at it today."
Yao Jiancai said, "What's the matter?"
Zhang Ye pointed somewhere off stage, "There's no applause at all."
The audience was stunned for a moment before everyone laughed and began clapping. They were giving the heartiest of applauses!
Firstly, they had really been amused by what was said. Secondly, it was because Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai's opening lines had set the tone. Everyone knew by now what they were going to do. Teacher Zhang Ye was still going to do what he did usually. He had not taken the warning to heart, nor the ultimatum. He just continued on in his own way! He had begun his satirical jokes about those crosstalk artists, who frequently featured on TV the moment he came on stage. Like a hedgehog, he would prick whoever tried to catch him. He had already completely let go of himself!
Today's crosstalk performance was definitely not going to be simple!
Zhang Ye said, "Thank you for everyone's applause. It seems like there are many people who like us."
Yao Jiancai laughed, "Everyone's being so supportive."
Zhang Ye smacked his mouth and said, "Of course, there's still some controversy in that."
Yao Jiancai head turned sideways a little, "You can take away the 'some'. It's basically full of controversy!"
The audience: "Yi!!"
Zhang Ye laughed and said, "Some of the authorities mentioned to me saying. 'Zhang Ye, your crosstalk is very vulgar and you're always insulting Old Yao, referring to him as his father's son. That sort of style is incorrect and it will be a bad influence and lead the audience astray. All of that are negative influences!'"
Yao Jiancai could only helplessly reply, "Yes, someone did say that."
Zhang Ye narrowed his eyes and said, "I wonder then if the relevant departments are being too harsh on crosstalk? Aren't you all underestimating the intelligence of the viewers? Oh, those who shoot movies will often show someone stabbing another person to death, but you know it isn't real. Then in TV dramas, the actors who act as father and son are also known not to be related in real life. How about those novels? The main characters would fly about and walk on walls to save the world, but everyone knows it's exaggerated too, and so I really wonder! Why is it that when it concerns us, all of that suddenly becomes real?"
When the audience heard that, they all began to clap in unison!
Yao Jiancai smiled and said, "That's really a tall order for us."
Zhang Ye said, "Please, have mercy on crosstalks. We are just two non-mainstream crosstalk actors who aren't as capable as famous mainstream crosstalk actors. Oh, if the corrupted society is not capable of leading everyone astray, then surely our crosstalk won't be able to as well, right? Would everyone who watches our performance go out to commit murder and become arsonists? Aren't you all overestimating what we can do?!"
The audience were laughing so hard, that they almost got cramps: "Hahahaha!"
Zhang Ye said, "Honestly if Teacher Yao and I had such capabilities, do we still need to be crosstalk actors?!"
Yao Jiancai also laughed along, "Yea, we really don't have such capabilities at all."
Bba Bba Bba!
The applause rang out once again!
Everyone was hungering for more by now. If yesterday's "I will reject the Three Vulgarities" was performed with an ironical sense, then today's performance would be direct satire! It was a totally different style of sarcasm, and Zhang Ye was about to showcase his diverse skills in scolding people!
The leaders of the related fields in the front row didn't look too good!
The bunch of crosstalk actors also looked terrible. No one had expected that Zhang Ye would still carry on this way after the SARFT's decree and the program team's ultimatum. It seemed like Zhang Ye even scolded them with more persistence now and all of this still seemed inconceivable to them!
Are you mad!
You're even scolding the related fields? Do you really intend on not staying in the entertainment circle anymore?!
Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai both knew that today would be their last performance in the crosstalk competition. This was the reason why they did not hold back as both of them just wanted to enjoy themselves during the performance. Why the heck should they care about who these people are! And so, Zhang Ye brought out a "Compilation of Guo Degang's crosstalks" for this. He wanted to put together the performances of Old Guo, such as "You want to be elegant", "The state of crosstalk for the past 50 years", and many others! Since it was their last performance, then these two bros must scold till their hearts were fully satisfied!