Ronny Chieng – You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About
Ronny Chieng @ Palace Nova – ExiMax
11:00pm, Fri 6 Mar 2015
I once saw Ronny Chieng perform as a Rhino Room headliner après-Fringe, and – possibly as a result of an adult beverage or two prior to the show – I thought it was amongst the funniest sets I’d ever seen: without resorting to smut or creative profanity, his observations and short stories were so well constructed that I laughed continuously throughout the entire set.
Rushing in from my previous show, I was kinda thrilled to see a long queue of punters zigzagging around the Palace lobby… because Chieng, I reasoned, deserved a big audience. But the age of the people in the queue furrowed my brow a little, because (a) I’m an ageist snob, and (2) they were all young.
There’s very little fanfare as Chieng takes to the stage, notebook in hand, and started hammering through his material… and there were plenty of laughs to be had, even with the relentless pace of his delivery. There’s little in the way of a central thread to the show; a five-minute ramble about how “young” people (under the age of 25) should just shut up (which provided the title for the show) was the closest thing to a narrative through-line. Chieng also spent a significant chunk of time talking about his own accomplishments – especially all the awards he’d won – which I found a little self-aggrandising (to an already enthusiastic and captive audience).
And whilst I had many chortles with Chieng’s topical and well-delivered humour, he’d clearly hammered through his intended set in record time, and then engaged with the audience to inspire more material. And these interactions were ragged, resulting in the audience heckling Chieng with requests for earlier material… a disappointing end to the show.
Ronny Chieng is still an awesome comedian – he’s got a wonderful sense of humour, and his ability to frame jokes is exceptional. But the ad hoc climax to the show, and the surprising amount of self-congratulatory material, took the shine off the rest of the performance.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 6, 2015