A celebrity Chinese streaming act – who boasts 29 million followers on mainland social media – was plunged into a chaos earlier this month when Covid-19 wiped out his entire production crew. The act, which streams on Douyin, is called “Duoyu and Sister Maomao” and features a comedic male celebrity who switches between his real persona and a “female” alter-ego who dons red wigs and women’s clothes. When the virus knocked out his whole crew, Duoyu was forced to not only present the stream but also carry out the duties of the missing production team, such as switching camera angles and playing music. In desperation to fill in the presenting gaps, he called in Sister Wang a cleaning worker at the office who had never streamed before. What followed has been described as “the most ridiculous live-stream of 2022” after Sister Wang’s performance attracted millions of viewers and record sales. Like many streamers, Duoyu makes a living selling products for other companies, for which he is paid a percentage of the sales. Earlier this month, when Covid-19 struck, the show was selling snacks, kitchen pans, hobs, skincare products and men’s underwear in the busy pre-Lunar New Year period. In her debut stream, Sister Wang helped Duoyu cook hotpot on camera, and although they were nervous and made several mistakes, the pair sold all the cookery ware on sale and attracted more than one million followers who dubbed Sister Wang “the boss”. The surprise hit has only continued to grow, with six of their first eight shows this month attracting more than one million viewers and sales of more than 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million), according to Newrank. According to the social media monitoring platform Newrank, from December 17 to December 25, six of the show’s eight live streams had more than one million viewers and sales of above 10 million yuan were estimated. This is a 12-fold viewership increase on previous shows and a 10-fold revenue rise. Duoyu expressed surprise at the success of Sister Wang’s live-streams, saying: “So many people? Have my goods sold out already?” He now jokingly describes himself as a “God-chosen worker”, a popular new online term in mainland China that refers to people who dodged the coronavirus in December and kept working. The popularity of the live broadcasts reflects the dramatic changes taking place as China dismantles its zero-Covid strategy.