Comedian Ronny Chieng bringing his 'tone issues' to Singapore show

Malaysia-born, New York-based comedian Ronny Chieng can get quite aggressive when he delivers his jaunty yet unapologetic stand-up act that is often loaded with expletives, so much so that his Vietnamese-Australian wife has called him out for having "tone issues".

The 33-year-old, who is a correspondent on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah on Comedy Central, told The New Paper over the phone from New York: "She has an issue with my tone because apparently the way I talk sounds offensive, which is also the reason why I named my latest tour Tone Issues."

Chieng - who last performed in Singapore in 2015 - will be bringing his Tone Issues Tour to Esplanade Theatre on Nov 29.

He grew up in Singapore and returns here every four months to visit his family and friends who are living here.

When asked about the subjects he will be tackling during his latest tour, Chieng, without elaborating much, said he will be covering his wife, the UK and bloggers.

"It's a bit difficult to classify them into topics because I will just be saying anything that comes to my mind."

On whether he will be injecting local flavour to his set, like ribbing the government or transport system, he jokingly said: "Will people come if I were to include local jokes? If so, then it's a yes.

"But seriously, everyone complains about the local MRT system but they should leave the country for a while and then they will realise that the system here is actually pretty good."

Chieng said he is a "Jurong East guy" who spent his youth studying in heartland schools, from Yuhua Primary School to Pioneer Secondary School to Pioneer Junior College.

His favourite food haunts include "the char kway teow at Hong Lim (Food Centre)", Ah Chiang's Porridge, Tong Ah Eating House and Chong Wen Ge Cafe.

Chieng, who made his feature film acting debut in last year's hit rom-com Crazy Rich Asians, jokingly rated his performance as Henry Golding's character's obnoxious, loud-mouthed cousin Eddie Cheng a 10 out of 10.

"It was very cool that the story was set in Singapore and it was a film about a Chinese family who resonates with people globally," he said.

"There is a lot of authenticity in it as they squeezed as much about Singapore into it - be it the food or the Marina Bay Sands location."

While he is not sure if he will be cast in the sequel China Rich Girlfriend, Chieng definitely wants to be part of it.

He said: "I hang out with all (the cast members) based in Los Angeles often and I talk with the Singaporeans all the time.

"We are all pretty active on the (Crazy Rich Asians) WhatsApp group chat, but if I were to name one person, (local actress) Fiona Xie is the most active."

WHAT: Ronny Chieng - Tone Issues Tour (M18)

WHEN: Nov 29, 7pm and 9.30pm

WHERE: Esplanade Theatre

TICKETS: $68 to $98 from Sistic

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.