Yesterday I watched Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), and noticed that in the scene in which Shang-Chi's friend, Katy, is asked her Chinese name, a group of people in the audience laughed when she answered. Nobody in my group could figure out why. Theories included laughter because
- Katy gave the Chinese name of an established comics character, leading some members of the audience to recognize Katy as a significant part of the Marvel pantheon
- Katy did not know her Chinese name and, in lying, accidentally said something rude in Chinese.
- Katy did not know her Chinese name and, in lying, accidentally gave the name of somebody else in the story (perhaps even somebody at the table)
- Katy knew no other Chinese, but did know her own name, leading to recognition laughter among Chinese Americans who similarly know no Mandarin except their 'Chinese names'.
I'd love to know — was Katy's Chinese name intended to be funny? If so, in what way?