Internationally acclaimed comic Ronny Chieng is returning to his old Melbourne stomping ground for his first shows since being headhunted by US cable network hit The Daily Show.
What can we expect from your show?
I haven’t toured Australia in two years, so it’s the stuff that’s happened to me since then. I think I’ve gotten better at stand up since working on The Daily Show. I think it’s matured a bit, as I have.
How have people’s expectations of your stand up changed since you joined The Daily Show?
I’d say people expect it to be more political. It can’t help but rub off on you, working with that stuff every single day. I always tended to avoid politics, mostly because one of my big philosophies was that nobody should be talking about something they don’t understand. Being hired on the show, you have to understand it and it’s your job to have an opinion.
American politics has gone crazy in the last year. What role do you see The Daily Show playing in helping people understand that?
I think we help inform people, for better or for worse. And I think some people use us to process what’s going on, because news is too boring. Comedy is the honey that helps the medicine go down. I don’t know if we change anyone’s mind.
Your ABC series Ronny Chieng: International Student has gone down very well here and abroad. Are there any dangers in playing yourself on screen?
Don’t put it like that, it sounds scary! I don’t know if there are any dangers. For me, it was the only way I could get my own TV show. I can’t act, I’m not Daniel Day-Lewis. Playing myself is the only way I could have got on TV, I think. Good storytelling is about telling authentic stories. Authenticity resonates with people, no matter what your background is. Me being myself helps in that. My mum liked it, but she doesn’t see it as a comedy.
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Your website has an extensive guide to Melbourne eateries. If you hadn’t gone down the comedy path, would you have rather ended up as a lawyer or a restaurant critic?
I don’t think I’d become a critic. The way I talk about restaurants is just focussing on what I like about them. If I had to do something else, I guess I’d be trying to make an app. That’s what everyone else is doing.
Ronny Chieng plays Hamer Hall
- November 8, $49.90