You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About (Ronny Chieng)
Brisbane Powerhouse, Powerhouse Theatre
March 14 – 15
Melbourne comedian Ronny Chieng has come a long way in the past 12 months since playing 2014 Brisbane Comedy Festival shows at the Brisbane Powerhouse’s Visy Theatre; his name is up in lights as his 2015 shows are now in the much larger Powerhouse Theatre. There’s good reason, he tells his audience; in 2014 he was winner of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Directors’ Choice Award and was named Best Show at the Sydney Comedy Festival (amongst Helpman, Aria and Cleo Bachelor of the Year award nominations).
In his latest show, “You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About”, Chieng showcases his distinct comedic style in overanalysing the everyday idiocy of life in 2015. It is not all negative, however, as he provides public service announcements with some bonus Valentine’s Day advice to the males of the audience and dating advice to his fifteen-year-old self about the importance of cooking in attracting a girl. Food features throughout the act, from French baguettes to customs-quarantined barbeque pork. Technology is also an ongoing theme: selfies, social media, bendy phones and hard drives. He even takes the opportunity to name and shame one of his Twitter trolls, as evidence of how while ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion ,some people should just shut the f**k up’.
Chieng’s style of comedy comes from a comforting place, with bits about peak hour traffic and leaving the iron on, that are hardly groundbreaking, but still very funny. And it is refreshing to see a performer who does not need to rehash previous material to get their laughs. His material is not overly offensive and is very identifiable. In fact, its funniest moments come from recollection of cultural and generational clashes such as defence of Asian behaviour on ‘Border Security’ and when his mother insists that he incorporate You Tube clip comments of constructive criticism of his work into his act.
Thankfully, for comedy fans, Chieng has chosen to ignore her and continue to share his clever and completely hilarious observations about all sorts of topical subjects from hipster hypocrisy to no-frills airlines and crazy train people (#Illridewithyou)… take it from me, as someone over 25 because, “if you are under 25 and you don’t know what you are talking about, just shut up”. Not only is “You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About” well-crafted and effectively delivered, but it is evidence of how Ronny Chieng is a comedian who just keeps getting better and better with every show. And he’s also kind of cool… because what other word is there to describe a performer who cuts his comedy album on vinyl.