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Contract dispute was nothing to joke about

IT was no laughing matter when Chinese comedian Xiao Shenyang appeared in Changzhou City, Jiangsu Province, early this week.

Just three months after his breakthrough at the China Central Television Spring Festival Gala, he is said to have refused to pay for lunch, demanded payment for what were fake airline tickets and threatened to cancel his show as the audience waited.

The hosts of Xiao Shenyang's performance said the comedian had refused to pay for the lunch he and his team had the day after Monday's performance and demanded about 40,000 yuan (US$5,860) for non-existent round-trip flights between Shenyang City and Changzhou.

When the hosts, a media company and a local advertisement agency, refused to pay for the meal, Xiao Shenyang began swearing and there were heated arguments until police arrived.

Xiao Shenyang later paid the 1,100 yuan bill.

Twenty minutes before the previous night's performance, the comedian is said to have demanded air ticket expenses between Shenyang and Changzhou for his team.

However, they had been picked up in Shanghai by bus after their performance there and the air ticket receipts they provided were found to be fake, the hosts said.

Xiao Shenyang then asked them to cover their flights from Shenyang to Shanghai, or he wouldn't perform.

The comedian's assistant said the contract required the hosts to cover all their expenses in Changzhou. He said they felt they had been cheated. The hosts said the contract was not in force on Tuesday.

The comedian became an overnight sensation after his performance with the renowned comedian Zhao Benshan at the Spring Festival Gala.


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