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王伟和外国朋友一起填表格。

王伟:“我姓王,所以我在‘姓’的旁边写‘王’。”

外国朋友:“哦,我姓‘Lee’,所以我写‘李’。”

王伟:“然后,我们在‘名’的旁边写自己的名字,我写‘伟’。”

外国朋友:“哦,我的名字是‘Christopher’,所以我写‘克里斯托弗’。”

王伟:“哇~你很有名!”

I wrote the above joke. Christopher Lee is a famous actor, so is actually 有名 = "famous". But the joke here is that his given name is really long when written in Chinese, so I'm pretending "有名" is an adjective meaning "has a long given name".

I posted this to my WeChat, but nobody 赞ed it. So maybe it's faulty or not funny for some reason.

Question: Why did my "你很有名" joke not work, and is it salvagable?

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I would guess three things as possible reasons:

•Not knowing who Christopher Lee is.

•Viewing 有名 as only its main meaning of famous and not seeing the double use-- these kind of double meanings usually don't get noticed unless someone studies a language etc.

•In the same vein the name for foreigners can easily be over twelve characters long. They may be used to it and not understand what's long about it.

There is also the possibility that it was understood but just not found funny. There is nothing wrong with the joke but imo it doesn't really match the common chinese sense of humor. But of course sense of humor is unique regardless of country :)

As for salvaging it, I would see if there is a way to tweak the famous section to actually apply the long, and replace christopher lee with a name that is actually really long in chinese characters so the pun isn't missed.

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