The last time Ronny Chieng was in Boston, the city’s many liberal-leaning residents were in desperate need of a laugh.
Just days after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, the comedian and “Daily Show” star was scheduled to perform at The Rockwell in Somerville. Chieng was understandably worried that there might be “weird vibes” in the room, but he was pleasantly surprised by the crowd that showed up.
“I did a small room, one show, and it sold pretty well so it was kind of packed,” Chieng tells Metro. “We had a good time at the show. It was comforting. It felt like, okay, whatever’s happening outside, on the ground level, everyone seems to be still okay.”
Ronny Chieng explains his love of the Patriots, comedy roots
Chieng won’t have to worry about the vibe in Boston when he returns for a stand-up performance at The Wilbur on Saturday night, as the Hub is still riding high from the Patriots’ latest Super Bowl victory parade. While the comic was born in Malaysia to a Malaysian-Chinese family and went to school in both Singapore and Australia, he’s also an avid member of Patriots Nation.
Between the ages of 3 and 8, Chieng lived in Manchester, New Hampshire, while his parents were attending a community college in the state. Chieng and his family would often drive down to Boston’s Chinatown during their time in New England and, naturally, the comic grew to love the region’s hometown team.
As for why he continues to root for the Patriots, it’s a mix of nostalgia and his affinity for organizations that run a tight ship.
“The truth is, I just love well-run organizations,” Chieng admits. “The Patriots are a very well-run organization. I like the San Antonio Spurs. I liked Manchester United back in the day. Just well run from top to bottom. I just appreciate the competence.”
Since Chieng was too young to experience Boston’s acclaimed comedy scene when he lived in New England, he grew to love stand-up during his college years in Australia. Chieng, who has degrees in both finance and law, always wanted to take a crack at comedy and finally ended up on stage when he was struggling to find work in law school.
“At the time, I couldn’t get a job because of the global financial crisis,” Chieng says. “I was actually getting more work from comedy. I was making a little bit of money as opposed to no money.”
Although he initially had doubts about sticking with comedy since he witnessed so many friends get high-paying corporate jobs, Chieng now feels “so lucky” for choosing a path in entertainment. The decision has turned out extremely well for the comic, who now works as a correspondent for Trevor Noah’s “Daily Show” and recently created the hit sitcom “Ronny Chieng: International Student.” Not to mention, he was also featured in last summer’s rom-com blockbuster “Crazy Rich Asians,” so clearly he’s made the right choice.
Don’t expect Chieng to slow down anytime soon, though, especially now that he lives in New York, where he can perform nearly half a dozen sets night after night thanks to the city’s collection of esteemed comedy clubs.
“It’s the stand-up mecca. You can do so many sets a night,” Chieng says. “It’s a crazy addiction.”
If you go:
Ronny Chieng performs at The Wilbur on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 9:45 p.m.