Ronny Chieng: The Ron Way

Last year’s Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Ronny Chieng holds high expectations in his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe. Malaysian Chieng is a man lost in his own identity, having moved to both America and Singapore before going to University in Australia. In his show, Chieng claims he ‘won’t attack the audience, but will attack your perception of him’, which though interesting is always going to be tough since Chieng spends most of the show comparing himself to, and labelling himself as, a Chinese person – even though he has never actually been to China. The irony in him doing this is not quite clear, though it does facilitate many comparisons between Asian and Western people in his set.

The Ron Way’s identity as a show is just as confusing as its writer’s, though it has great moments of humour with Chieng building up anecdotes to blunt climaxes that have many of his audience in stitches. Focusing on Chinese clichés for much of his gig, Chieng flips each of them on their head using sharp punchlines to surprise his unaware audience. Chieng focuses on ethnicity for most of his set, with his anecdote on mistaken identity involving Coolio at Melbourne Airport landing particularly well with his audience.

Chieng’s humour lies directly in the dissection of social groups and racial stereotypes. Some of his material is hit and miss - an example being his troubleshooting call to his mother, who is trying to delete her own explicit comments on a YouTube page. The joke is poorly constructed and has holes, however as his anger at his mother build and builds, Chieng shows his ability to build to an enticing crescendo.

Chieng is an angry, middle class man who has established himself at the Edinburgh Fringe with his unique perspectives on both eastern and western society and rapier sharp wit. His race orientated show is nothing new though and it would be nice to see this clearly intelligent comic diversify into a more unique and complex topic with his next Edinburgh show.

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Performances

The Blurb

Best Newcomer, Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2012. Ronny doesn’t want to be liked. But he’ll get you on side with his determination to show he has the comic skills to make you laugh. 'Bluntly funny ... impressive.' **** (Chortle.co.uk).

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