Ronny Chieng has traded legality for laughter, writes Laura Brodnik.
He graduated from Melbourne University in 2009 with a degree in Commerce/Law but the legal life didn’t last long for Ronny Chieng, who found his true calling treading the boards at international comedy festivals around the world.
He was named Best Newcomer at the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and has performed twice at Montreal’s invitation-only Just For Laughs Festival but when picking a career Chieng admits that comedy was the last thing on his mind.
“It was just something I took up while I was studying at uni,” he says. “I didn’t realise it could be a full time career but the more I did it the more I enjoyed it and the more attention I got.
“It’s been a bit difficult to explain to my family, my parents live in Singapore where I’m from, what I do now, but I’ve been doing a lot of touring and TV work so this is where I want to stay.”
Chieng practiced law for six months before taking up a full time comedy career and along with commanding laughs from his quickly growing legion of fans, he says sharing the stage with the world’s greatest comedians is the highlight of his job.
“I take this very seriously as a career,” he says.
“I love watching people I admire and seeing how they work. I’ve been lucky enough to see people like Eddie Izzard and that is amazing, to meet your heroes.”
Chieng will bring his new show, The Chieng Reaction, to the Brisbane International Comedy Festival in March.
“It’s really different to my past shows,” he promises.
“It’s really just me on stage telling a lot of stories about my life, but I hope people will find it funny. There is a lot of pressure with being called best newcomer or best new comedian and success itself has its own pressures.
“But I love what I do”
Ronny Chieng will perform at the Brisbane Powerhouse from Tuesday 18 March to Sunday 23 March.