Celebrated as one of the rising stars on the Australian comedy scene, Ronny Chieng has quickly gone from unknown Melbourne University student to world-class performer. His new show; ‘The Ron Way’ is currently warming up in Edinburgh and will soon be served steaming hot at London’s Soho Theatre.
1. WERE you a funny fellow before you came to Australia or have you only started to embrace comedy after moving to Melbourne?
I was super funny before I went to Australia. In fact, I think I have become less funny since I started actually doing comedy because I now understand how hard it is to be original and professionally funny to strangers.
2. What possessed you to begin your comedy career?
When I did my first gig, I didn’t think I was ‘starting a career.’ I had a feeling I could do a good five minutes of stand-up comedy, and I just wanted to confirm that feeling. So I signed up and did a gig, and I just didn’t stop doing gigs. So here I am today at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Soho Theatre in London!
3. Do you believe Australia has provided an audience and environment receptive to your comedy style, in particular the jokes about your Chinese heritage?
I think they have been quite receptive. I got awarded best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2012, and I got nominated for Best Show at the Sydney Comedy Festival 2013, so I guess that would be a good indication. I think Chinese people are everywhere so everyone can get behind a little bit of Chinese heritage jokes.
4. You’ve begun a winning streak having been awarded joint winner of the Best Newcomer award at Melbourne in 2012. What will you add to the trophy cabinet next?
Wow I don’t know. It would be great to get some kind of industry recognised award, but really I’m just trying to get better at stand-up comedy and build an audience. So if the people who come watch me laugh and enjoy the show, that is sort of an award in itself. That and winning a Tony award. That would make me happy.
5. I listened to your podcast and discovered that you are sick of ignorance on the Internet. Does this include Wikipedia?
Yes although I will have considered myself to have “made it” when I have my own Wikipedia article. What does a guy have to do to get people to make a Wikipedia article about him??
6. You were named as the ‘new face of Australian comedy’ by the Age, an emerging talent by pretty much every other publication and with the way things are going, you’ll be named Prime Minister soon enough. What would be your political agenda if you did run for Prime Minister?
Prime Minister? Of like Australia? My agenda would be to bring Pepperidge Farm cookies to Australia. It is ludicrous that they aren’t available there!
7. Be honest, you’re loving your new found fame aren’t you?
Honestly? I don’t think I’ve found fame at all! Nothing has really changed for me other than I can get comedy gigs a lot easier. That has been cool – using whatever “fame” I have to get more work.
8. You’ve been doing a lot of travelling with your comedy, what has been your favourite travel destination so far?
Everywhere I’ve been to so far has been awesome! Small towns in Western Australia, to Montreal, New York, Edinburgh, London. I’ve definitely seen a lot more of the world (and Australia) than I otherwise would have been able to!
9. Where would you most like to visit?
I would love to visit Japan or Alaska! I’m trying to set that up as we speak. Anyone know any comedy gigs there? I’d appreciate the hook up.
10. What can audiences expect from your upcoming Soho Theatre show?
I’m doing material from my old 2012 one hour comedy show at the Soho Theatre this year, but in a new order and with some new material thrown in. I’ll be doing the show for a month in Edinburgh, so I will be match fit with it by the time I get to London. Although there will be stuff some people will recognize from last year.
What: Ronny Chieng, The Ron Way
Where: Soho Theatre
When: 28 August — 7 September
How much: £10-£15