Interview: Ronny Chieng for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow 2012

How has your multicultural upbringing influenced your comedy?
It has given me an outside perspective on customs and social norms from the countries where I’ve lived. I see strangeness in what is generally accepted as “normal” in individual societies.
How did you get your start?
I took part in this comedy competition at college, which I won. Afterward, I kept on asking for spots at other comedy rooms around the city. I was lucky enough to keep getting gigs here and there, and used that stage time to get better.
Was it a daunting task writing a whole show?
Yes, incredibly. At some points, I didn’t think it’d be possible. A lot of trial and error went into my first show before it started to click. I felt like it happened almost by accident.
Do you have any pre-show routines?
I pace around backstage, drink water and yell at myself.
Who are your biggest comedic inspirations?
Louis CK and Bill Burr: legendary comics who are extremely funny and come up with great new material every year.
What advice would you give to young comedians?
Be aware of whether your material is working and do not be afraid to acknowledge when something isn’t so you can improve on it. Also, don’t believe your own PR.
Ronny Chieng will perform at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow 2012 on July 10-13, 8pm; 14, 6pm; 14, 9pm at DBS Arts Centre home of the Singapore Repertory Theatre.