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Chen Yinquan

By NewsChina Updated Apr.1

Comedian Chen Yinquan has mastered the art of speaking without saying anything. Take his Spring Festival greeting to fans he posted to Douyin on February 2:  

“In looking back at the past, we will be surprised to find that we haven’t truly experienced it, or perhaps we have already moved beyond it. When we look ahead to the future, we will be even more amazed to discover that we don’t have a future either.”  

Known as the “nonsense master,” the 38-year-old crosstalk comedian has gained internet fame for meandering comedic routines that resonate with anyone who has been forced to sit through a dull meeting.  

Born in 1986 in Beijing, Chen has devoted 17 years to the traditional Chinese comedy style of crosstalk. While Chen had gained some recognition for his quiver of impressions and accents, it was his “nonsense” that propelled him into the spotlight.  

Chen told media that his inspiration came from a video in which a hospital director delivered a speech to staff chock-full of repetitive and meaningless phrases. This prompted him to improvise a series of monologues filled with evasive and ambiguous language to gently mock those who avoid speaking directly, particularly figures of authority.  

His short videos quickly went viral on social media, especially on Douyin. Many netizens commented that his style of speaking reminded them of their elder family members or managers at work. Chen has garnered 1.23 million followers on Douyin alone, with many of his videos receiving millions of likes.  

“If you speak too precisely and directly, others may perceive you as overly strong and domineering. But if your way of talking is too empty and dull, you may appear incompetent. Therefore, in many situations, especially during speeches, Chinese people tend to speak in a nonsensical manner – neither too sharp nor too dull,” Chen said of his style in an interview with Jiupai News.