Vietnam's famous comedian apologizes to TV audiences

By Hieu Nhan   January 28, 2023 | 01:00 am PT
Vietnam's famous comedian apologizes to TV audiences
Xuan Bac is famous for his comedic roles and as host of many events. Photo courtesy of Xuan Bac Official
Comedian Xuan Bac has apologized to audiences of TV program “Tao Quan (Kitchen Gods) 2023” claiming he did not upload a story on Facebook to satirize them.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Van Hoa newspaper published his apology on Friday, which said it was a personal story and not meant to offend anyone.

The comedian and director of the Vietnam National Drama Theater had posted "Mother’s slap" three days earlier to seemingly take a potshot at people who criticized his TV show.

In the story, a woman cooks "banh chung" (glutinous square rice cake) every year for Tet, but her son, who does not know how to make it himself, always criticizes it.

It read: "This year is no exception. At 8pm on Lunar New Year’s Eve, I criticized the cake after the first bite. My mouth has two sides, one to chew on ‘banh chung’ and the other to criticize the cake.

"Not really because the cake is not delicious, not necessarily because it is bad, but because it is not what I imagined, it is not what I wanted. I criticize it because I have the right to criticize, because it is my mother’s responsibility to cook cakes as I want them."

In the end the woman becomes angry and slaps her son. "You think you have the right to criticize?" she demands.

"If you think you have the right to criticize, then you have to criticize it rightly. If you are good, you should cook the cake next year."

Many believed Bac posted the story to imply that his critics also need to be performers themselves, and he drew flak from colleagues and the public.

Some even demanded authorities should sanction him. Screenwriter Chu Thom said: "How can there be a famous artist without an audience? Disrespecting the audience is a no-no for artists."

But Bac also had his share of defenders, who believed it was a personal story and not targeted at viewers.
He said: "My story has caused misunderstanding among some audiences. I sincerely apologize for this and look forward to audiences’ continued support."

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ta Quang Dong said he has worked with Bac before and the post was indeed a personal anecdote, but as a public figure he should have been more careful. "Tao Quan" has been broadcast for two decades now, and is eagerly looked forward to by viewers on New Year’s Eve.

This year too, as always, it sought to hold a mirror up to social problems, but gradually it has become amusing rather than hard-hitting as it used to be.

Critics have described it as "dead" and no longer creative.

Bac, 46, has been part of it from the early days in the role of Nam Tao.

He has acted in many TV series and hosted many TV shows. In 2010 he was named UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador for clean water and environmental sanitation.

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