The Play of Lips and Teeth

Chapter 1 - A Guest Dropped from The Sky

Second Persona Official Weibo1: "When a variety program has a xiangsheng2 actor and a well-known presenter swap their jobs with one another, what spark will arise from the meeting of their ‘violent mouths’? @ZhouChenYu @YanZhao"

In the guest lounge, Yan Zhao read the newest Weibo update that abruptly popped out in his phone, and he was blindsided. “What’s going on? Wasn’t it supposed to be a boyband’s member?”

The high-heeled shoes of his agent, Wei Lan, made a clicking clacking noise as the owner strode over to the side of the sofa.

With a bang, she tossed the documents in her hand down to the coffee table. Then grumped as she spoke, “Did you read the news yet? That idol, whom we previously had an agreement with, suddenly had his romantic affairs exposed by the paparazzi today. Their company had directly set him aside for good.”

Before she finished talking, Yan Zhao had already slipped into the Hot Search interface. And indeed, the headline news had the deep orange marking with the word ‘boiling' on it.

“Darn it,” huffed Yan Zhao in irritation, “The official shooting will start tomorrow and they chose today to release this news. Are they deliberately embarrassing us?”

Second Persona was an original variety program produced by Cosmos TV. This show would be focusing on the relatively lesser-known occupations in the entertainment industry. This kind of occupation may already have its own considerable fanbase, but was yet to be known in the wider audience space. An example of them would be trainees, and another would be e-sport players.

Second Persona would invite celebrity guests from multiple fields, have them pair up in twos, and let the people with their different-natured jobs exchange their identities. This would let them experience the other’s distinct routines, and having this experience recorded would achieve the goal of popularizing it to the masses, as well as hyping up some romance, friendship, ‘bromance’, etc.

Yan Zhao was the currently popular emcee of Cosmos TV. His face value was high, he was young, and he had a lot of fans. It was only natural for him to be paired up with the idol from the presently most popular boyband and have him experience an idol’s trainee life.

Originally, the preparations were all in order. They were supposed to have a promotional photoshoot today. Yet who’d have expected this matter to come up?

With this kind of accident happening, it’d be reasonable to postpone the program. Yet outrageous as it was, not only wasn’t it postponed, the team had unexpectedly pulled up a ‘substitute guest’ in the speed of light.

—and left Yan Zhao completely in the dark about that. So much so that he was aware himself had a change of partner only after the matter was announced through Weibo.

Wei Lan got angrier by the thought. She swept the documents off to the ground, exclaiming, “Anyhow you’re also one of the program’s planners and scriptwriters, do the production team still regard us in their eyes?”

Yan Zhao was also kind of irritated, but seeing Wei Lan’s state, he could only choose to console her, “Sis Wei, you calm down first.”

One couldn’t blame Wei Lan for being this angsty and furious. It’s because from the moment she took over Yan Zhao, she had been accustomed to being high above all, to be the moon cupped by the stars3. No one had ever dared to slight them like this before.

There’s no other reason, really. Yan Zhao just had that typical golden finger4 befitting a Gary Stu5 male lead. These twenty three years of life, no matter if it was his academic or stardom journey, all was smooth sailing, akin to the sesame flowers blooming higher one after the other6.

As for the person, Yan Zhao looked handsome, his reaction time quick, his articulation smooth. The basic essentials for being a presenter were fulfilled all in its entirety.

The more awesome thing was, he didn’t major in broadcasting, but just jumped into the job on the way.

He got into the journalism department of Peking University as the top scorer for the college entrance exam in his year. He joined a talk show program while he was studying and gained instant fame.

After his graduation, he soon joined Cosmos TV and became responsible as both planner and MC for many of their programs. These programs were mainly all kinds of large banquets and important shows. His resources were so ample it’s enough to make people click their tongues.

There was no mistake that Yan Zhao was intelligent. But such a heaven-defying life experience in any way would seem impossible to achieve relying solely on the intelligence of such a youth.

Thus, there was no lack of people who blackened his name on the internet. They said that he had limited professional ability because it wasn’t the field he majored in, and that he became popular only by relying on his looks.

All kinds of gossipy talks never ceased to be heard. The most widely spread one was the melodramatic plot the melon-eating masses7 were also the most obsessed about—That Yan Zhao was backed by a sugar daddy who had been helping him rise to his position today.

Yet when it really came to this precarious situation, who knows where this fabled omnipotent ‘sugar daddy’ had gone into?

Wei Lan was anxious. However, Yan Zhao knew well that he was a person of Cosmos TV, and the planning of the program Second Persona had no less of his contribution in it.

The production team should have their own reasons for doing things as they were. Moreover, the news had already been announced in Weibo, so it’s all the less reason for him to break off the contract. He just had to face whatever’s coming his way calmly.

Since the production team wanted him to perform xiangsheng…

No, but, is the production team alright? Perform xiangsheng?

Let him, this talented handsome youth of barely 23 years of age, perform xiangsheng?

The key thing was that he knew next to nothing about it. The impression he had on xiangsheng was also limited to the single sentence from Mr. Ma Sanli8, ‘playfully teasing you’!

This production team wasn't f*cking ‘playfully teasing him’, right?

Besides, weren’t xiangsheng actors those old artists advanced in age?

With this age gap of twenty to thirty years, what bromance was there to hype? More like a father-son relationship, alright?!

Wait a minute, that xiangsheng actor he had to swap jobs with…

Who was the name again?

Thinking up to this point, Yan Zhao belatedly realized he was so muddled from the sudden change in guest that he forgot to note what’s the name of this partner of his who suddenly dropped from the sky.

He thus re-opened the Weibo announcement in hindsight, to have a look at the other party’s name.

Not looking, in a haze. Once he looked, in a daze.

He might not have recognized it if it was anyone else’s, but this was the name of a famous person which not a single modern, internet-addicted youngster would be ignorant of.

Yan Zhao couldn’t resist his frown, “Zhou Chenyu? That ‘Flower Vase9 Support Gen10’ ?”

Before Zhou Chenyu became popular, he didn’t have this moniker. This was the nickname he was mocked with in the entertainment industry, for he supposedly only mooch off on his partner.

His partner, He Chenfeng, was a xiangsheng actor from the same folk art group as him, Liao Fengxuan. He crossed his specialized field to act in a low-cost literature film, and was unexpectedly crowned as the Movie Emperor. His fame thus boomed, and he also brought along his Support Gen to popularity.

After both of them became famous and under the fans and anti-fans war as well as some collaboration from the melon-eating masses, Zhou Chenyu then had a unanimously recognized public persona: The Support Gen of an excellent Tease Gen, relying fully on his partner to soar up. Under the brilliance of his partner, his own sense of existence was low to the extreme. When he performed xiangsheng together with He Chengfeng, it was no difference whether he existed or not.

There was one point, however, that his fans, his anti-fans, and the melon-eating masses all readily admitted: he was trully good-looking.

Hence, some said that Zhou Chenyu was just there to attract audiences. If, in the next performance, the one on He Chenfeng’s side was a flower vase instead, and He Chengfeng was let to perform his sketch solo, the effect may just be better than the both of them working together.

It really wasn’t Yan Zhao purposefully blackening his name, for he hadn’t even watched any of his xiangsheng performances. But this title 'Flower Vase Support Gen’ had long been turned into his form of address by the whole net, so Yan Zhao had also blurted it out customarily.

Yan Zhao opened the search engine. He was just planning to find out more details about this Flower Vase Support Gen when he heard the knocks, neither light nor heavy, coming from the doorway.

He hadn’t had the time to raise his head before a ridiculing voice sounded in his ears. “When one talks bad about other people, they should at least close the door. Am I right, Flower Vase Little Presenter?”

Wei Lan abruptly got on her legs. She stole a glance at the incoming person, then a glance at Yan Zhao, before voicing with awkwardness, “I was too anxious when I came, I forgot to close the door…”

Yan Zhao stood up while buttoning his suit jacket. This was the only moment he had to size up the person before him.

Trendy permed korean-style bangs, flashy T-shirts, delicate eyebrows that bring up a teasing smile-yet-not-a-smile expression, and a gorgeous look with a touch of wickedness mixed in.

Not unlike those maddeningly cool, douchebag male leads in a campus idol drama, and also had the flavor of a domineering visual from some popular boyband group.

In short, he couldn’t be seen in any way resembling a xiangsheng actor.

If it weren’t for the fact that Yan Zhao had more or less seen his picture from the internet, he would never have believed this person was the legendary Zhou Chenyu.

In the time it took to stand up, Yan Zhao’s brain and expression rapidly and synchronously got to work. An apologetic smile quickly hung upon his face.

In view that Madam Du had said that he was two years older than himself, Yan Zhao chose a relatively normal way of address, “Hello, Zhou Laoshi. I was just joking, please don’t take it to heart.”

Zhou Chenyu gave him a glance, then made a smiling yet not smiling expression, “In front of the person’s face, that’s called joking. Turns out, behind the person’s back, was also called as such?”

Yan Zhao naturally understood he was indeed in the wrong, but that back then was really only a slip of tongue. Who’d expected this Zhou Chenyu to be so petty, even talking in sarcasm, causing the smile on Yan Zhao’s face to appear awkward instead.

Realizing he met an opponent that wasn’t easy to handle, Yan Zhao inwardly wiped his own sweat. He was still pondering on how to go around the subject, when he saw Zhou Chenyu suddenly beamed, “I was also only joking with you. Look at you being this scared.”

Caught off guard by how this person’s face changed faster than the flipping of a page, Yan Zhao stared hard at this appearance of his that was difficult to tell cloudy from sunny. He mumbled inwardly: in the end, was this guy playful, or was he actually psychotic?

Zhou Chenyu held his hand out to him, “Little Didi11. It's Gege's first time recording a variety show. No experience. I’ll still count on you to take care of me more in the future.”

Hearing this weird form of address, Yan Zhao was somewhat startled. His heart had also made its basic decision: Yep, definitely a psycho.

He quickly reached out to hold the other’s hand, “No way, you flattered me. Let’s both take care of one another.”

His expression mimicked the smiling emoji12 while saying,: “But, can you not call me… Little Didi?”

It sounded both so obscene and vulgar.

Zhou Chenyu lifted his gaze to him before his brow raised in a teasing smile. Pinching his throat, he then said in his demure voice13, “Well, okay, Xiao Yan Gege~”

Yan Zhao: …… Vomit.


  1. A social media application, much like twitter
  2. Chinese crosstalk comedy, performed usually by two people
  3. To be the one in the central position
  4. A cheat attribute, like an ability or halo of luck
  5. Male version of Mary Sue, a kind of omnipotent character in a story
  6. The way sesame flowers bloom are from bottom upward, so this was saying that his achievement get better and better
  7. The passer-by who joins in the gossip for fun
  8. A famous comedian. douniwan'r should mean in the line of 'just joking' or 'making a fool out of you'
  9. Calling somebody a flower vase means that he/she was useless except being pretty
  10. A double act comedy consisted of two actors. One who act as the main joke-deliverer or 'the funny man', and one who act as the one who dead-panned the joke or 'the straight man'. For a pretty obvious reason, I decided to use a semi-transliteration of Tease x Support instead of funny x straight
  11. While Didi just means little brother and Gege means big brother, Xiao(little) Didi means d*ck
  12. That dry smiling :) expression
  13. This refers to a technique male opera singer used to imitate woman's voice

T/N: Give the raw a view, eh~
(I might only translate the free chapters, but let the time decides)

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