REVIEW | Melbourne International Comedy Festival | Ronny Chieng
by Ellen Seah
Ronny Chieng’s loud and aggressive delivery will turn off some Melbourne Comedy Festival punters, but after being in the business for only six years the lawyer-turned-comedian’s his assertive approach distinctly defines his act and his material.
A majority of Ronny’s hour-long set is one extended and detailed rant. By his own admission, Ronny “basically yells at you for 45 minutes”.
Compared to the political banality of some mainstream Melbourne Comedy Festival acts, Ronny’s lengthy tirade leaves no room for argument in the path of his vicious rage. He rages over Twitter. He rages over the Iphone vs Android debate. He rages over the technologically opposed.
Refreshingly though, Ronny steers away from centring the show around just being Asian, (although it’s arguably where his most reliable material lies). There are a few comfortably routine pokes at the strictness of Asian mothers and some overdone quips on Asians travellers struggling through Australian customs. While still funny, it’s largely unoriginal.
His comments on the modern technological age are far more inventive. Combined with his blatant egotism and hostile nature which has constructed his internationally recognised comedic persona, you can see how Ronny scooped up Director’s Choice at the 2014 Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Ronny doesn’t hope the audience will laugh, he expects it. From bragging about the many awards he’s gathered in the last year to being a nominee for Cleo’s Bachelor Of The Year, Ronny’s charming egotism (surprisingly) entertains more often than not.
Ronny must be given credit for his approach to comedy. His amusing exaggerated arrogance is much harder to muscle through a sceptical audience compared to the much easier self-deprecation some comedians opt for.
Occasionally Ronny’s delivery slides from confidently arrogant to awkwardly proud but given this was one of his first opening performances, Ronny will likely have these tonal changes primed and polished by early April.
Ronny has a solid, unique comedy ; just keep a liberal mind handy before the start of the show.