Ronny Chieng’s Netflix special comments on cancel culture, pandemic poltergeist and deconstructs America once again
Last Updated: 04.17 PM, Apr 16, 2022
Review: Ronnie Chieng, a comedian of Malaysian descent, is probably best recognised for his role as the obnoxious Eddie Cheng in the 2018 blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians. He’s also a correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. In 2019, comedian previously put together a special for Netflix Asian Comedian Destroys America where he dissected the American culture from an outsider’s point of view.
In Speakeasy, his second special, which Netflix premiered on April 5, he’s walking on a similar rope but this time with a safety net. Chieng bases his whole narrative on subverting the Twitter feud, disarming mindless cyberbullies and flanking the mindless, less informed members of the society with irrefutable logic and reasoning.
The whole thing starts with a pretty genteel touch when Rony walks into the restaurant from the streets of New York with his wife in a white tuxedo, white bow tie, pants and slicked hair.
Intimately set at the Chinese Tuxedo Bar and Restaurant in New York City, Chieng stands in the middle of a bar which may remind you of a cabaret in a lit-up circle. There were glimpses of the audience but there were no close shots of the audience’s reaction. However the catcalls, cheering and applause went indefinitely with each statement.
Chieng tries to engage everyone in a rhetorical creative exercise when he asks the members of the audience to shout out their most disliked race on the face of Earth. And then he goes on to instigate a fistfight among themselves and asks them to tag him in the video.
And then he open fires on the United Kingdom and skins the imperial system little by little. The most ludicrous moment is definitely when Chieng paints a picture about fornicating with Mr. Bean. He also thrashs the hecklers, critics and the gatekeepers of the United Kingdom who represent the supercilious face of the gormless wazzock. And he also gives a shoutout for another comedian’s special, James Acaster’s Vimeo special. A humble gesture which is really rare in today’s time.
Chieng was already a hit onstage and onscreen in Australia before he moved to America, and his outsider’s point of view served him pretty well as a stand-up targeting America and its one-upness. He manages to deliver brilliant analogies while deciphering the insane mentalities of American society and its history of abundance and wastage. His argument that the world is only getting dumber due to the internet sounds logical and he also claims that the remaining sensibilities are also going to vanish from the face of the earth gradually.
For an hour-long, the show was surely an entertaining watch and will absolutely make you smile, giggle and think.
Ronny Chieng: Speakeasy is streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer