Clowning Around on the Great Wall of China

We all have moments when we wish we could put our bosses in their place, right? When we could publicly show them how stupid some hairbrained scheme they’ve concocted would be if seen through? Oh, yeah. Well, a famous Chinese clown / court jester did just that.

Blog 4 Great Wall

During China’s Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 256 B.C.), the emperor was Ch’in Shin Huang-ti, best known as the leader who ordered the building of the Great Wall of China. He employed a clown named Yu-Sze, who became one of China’s most famous court jesters.

The Great Wall was an expensive project, not only financially but in human lives as well. That’s why citizens and members of the court were dismayed to learn that the emperor decided his pretty new wall needed a coat of whitewash, a process that would never be finished and would cost thousands of lives. Of course, no one at court had the huevos to tell the emperor that his plan would have dire consequences. Who wants to piss off the guy in charge when he can have you put to death?

Luckily, one person was in a position to tell the truth – the court’s jester. Yu-Sze.

According to the legend, the clown showed his displeasure by doing a painting on the Great Wall … of a penis. He was whipped for his act of self-expression. When the emperor threatened to further his punishment by making him whitewash the wall by himself, Yu-Sze explained he was the wrong clown for the job because he was colorblind.

News of the confrontation quickly spread, causing the country to laugh at the emperor’s folly and the emperor to abandon his plan.


About Doc Davis's Baggy Pants

Doc Davis is a college professor and author of books on Burlesque and Baggy Pants Comedy. He appears regularly as half of the Doc & Stumpy comedy duo. His latest book, "The Delicate Art of Pie Throwing" is nearing completion.
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