Tang Jiezhong, a famous Chinese crosstalk artist, died of illness at the age of 84 in Beijing Sunday evening, according to China Broadcast Performing Art Troupe (CBPAT).
Tang, born in 1932, was among the first group of crosstalk performers of the People's Republic of China.
Crosstalk is a traditional Chinese comedic performance involving one or two actors bantering on a fixed topic that relies heavily on slang, puns, and imitation.
Tang started learning crosstalk at an early age when he studied in Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province. He joined the military art troupe in 1949 and was transferred to the CBPAT in 1964.
He is well-known for his performances "Ode to Friendship" partnered with late crosstalk master Ma Ji, and "Father and Son" with performer Hao Aimin.
Among his more famous shows was "Fantasies at the Mouth of a Tiger," which poked fun at social ills such as discrimination of people of short stature and obsession with gaining fame.
Feng Gong, head of the CBPAT, said Tang's works reflected the joys and sorrows of ordinary people in the era of China's reform and construction. Building on the traditional art of crosstalk, his performances took on a sense of elegance and novelty.
Jiang Ping, secretary of Party committee of the CBPAT, said Tang's performances were sincere and natural, and he was good at tailoring his style to the characteristics of different partners.