Ronny Chieng review – Daily Show comic’s slick set is derailed by a heckle


Soho theatre, London
The standup and International Student sitcom star delivers jaunty routines about US life but the show suffers when he reacts to a heckler

“I have a tone problem,” reckons Ronny Chieng: everything he says sounds angry or sarcastic. In the past, that’s been to the detriment of his standup, but it’s less the case here in his first London outing since becoming a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He dials down the scorn (a little) in this set, which is going with a swing – until he gets heckled for a routine defending the “creepy” amorous behaviour of the teenage male, at which point his tone problem resurfaces to unpleasant effect.

If you’re coming at him via his sitcom, International Student – routinely described as sweet and charming – you’ll barely recognise onstage Chieng. Slick and high-handed, he kicks off with an extended routine about living in the States: a land of consumerist abundance and turbo-charged convenience.

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