The stand-up comedian on why he runs his jokes past his other half
Actor, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent Ronny Chieng, 33, continues his Tone Issues stand-up tour in early July (postponed from April), taking in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
The past few years have been busy, so looks like the decision not to practise law has paid off? No, I’m actually trying to get back into it. I’m going to quit my day job and follow my dreams of being a corporate lawyer. [Laughs] I didn’t actually decide [not to be a lawyer]. I couldn’t get a job, so the decision was made for me.
Your new show is described as “unapologetic”. Is it tricky at the moment to be edgy as a comic but not cross a line and need to apologise? You have to be edgy. Why should people listen to you unless you’re saying something? But it’s an art form not a science, so it’s tricky to navigate. You’ve got to feel it out – a situation, a context, a topic and how you’re going to talk about it. It’s tempting to feel like with social media it’s trickier now than ever, but stand-up has always been controversial. It’s up to the comic to figure it out and not be scared to say what they believe in. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t.
Where does the title Tone Issues come from? My wife says I have tone issues. People get offended because of the way I talk – apparently it makes them feel like I’m angry.
Everyone who bought tickets should already have been notified but Australia & New Zealand: I had to postpone my stand up tour to July 2019 because I got cast in a US network sitcom pilot. Sorry to everyone who already bought tickets for the inconvenience and hopefully see all of you in July! Auckland 3 July Sydney 5 July Melbourne 6 July Canberra 9 July www.ronnychieng.com
Do you run your material past your wife? Yeah, I ask for her opinion. She represents a very good layperson – she’s not in comedy so if I make a reference she gets, I know everyone will get it. But there have been times when I’ve disagreed with her on stuff and do it anyway.
And who’s right? It’s very hard to say, but me. [Laughs]
How was the experience of appearing in Crazy Rich Asians? Making it was super fun – we filmed in my hometown, Kuala Lumpur – and the aftermath was just this whirlwind. It’s nice that people embraced it. I would bet on there being a sequel.
Gavin ScottA pop culture enthusiast from a young age, Gavin is equally passionate about great pop music (’80s synthpop, ’10s dream pop), gripping TV series (Friday Night Lights, The Handmaid’s Tale) and trips to the cinema (I love a blockbuster as much as anyone, but I’m done with the superhero thing).