One of the most talked-about and controversial moments from this year’s CCTV Spring Festival Gala was magician Lu Chen’s “looking for Leehom” joke. His one-liner got the best crowd reaction — a mixture of delight and genuine shock that such a joke could fly — and ensured he’d stay in the public eye for days, possibly weeks, to come.
Lu’s remark to pianist Li Yundi — riffing off public perception of Li and Leehom Wang as lovers — got him in trouble with CCTV producers, who cut the scene from subsequent gala reruns. But it’s his performance that should have drawn criticism. Thanks to netizens, it now is, belatedly.
Check out his first trick, a simple sleight-of-hand involving sliding a wine glass through the middle of a wine bottle. Lu’s elementary mistake is highlighted here:
While pouring wine to prove that the bottle is solid, wine drips out from the middle, the exact location of the slit in which he’ll eventually slide in the wine glass.
When your audience gives you this reaction, it’s not a good sign:
Remember this when we don’t see Lu Chen on next year’s Spring Festival Gala. It’s not that he made an off-the-cuff remark that made CCTV producers uncomfortable. It’s that he’s not good enough yet at what he does.