Multicultural campus capers
Comedian Ronny Chieng of The Daily Show fame is moving from the periphery of our vision to dead centre with a Comedy Central/ABC coproduction titled Ronny Chieng: International Student, based on the Malaysian-born performer’s experiences studying in Melbourne.
It emerged from last year’s ABC initiative Comedy Showroom, which featured pilots for six different series. Chieng’s was the first to be greenlit. (The pilot, still available on ABC iView, is mandatory viewing ahead of the series.)
Playing a semi-fictionalised version of himself, Chieng takes us through the quirks and oddities of life on the modern multicultural university campus, from drinking rituals to making friends and learning names (complicated by the phenomenon of Asian students with invented Western names such as Denedict and Joderick), while fielding frequent intrusive phone calls from his tiger mother back in Singapore. Ronny Chieng: International Student
In the pilot episode, Chieng’s first law lecture on conflict resolution featured an assignment for which there was only one textbook in the library, which not surprisingly led to conflict only resolved by a yard glass drinking competition.
Episode one begins with a new American student, Craig (Patch May), who tries to divide a student residence into North and South; hilarious Vietnamese student Elvin (Hoa Xuande) is on to his “colonial” ways.
As Craig takes a Colonel Kurtz turn, it appears the whole episode is an elaborate homage to the Vietnam War and Apocalypse Now — but it’s nothing Chieng can’t solve with some openhanded hitting.
This very funny series is expected to air in the US on Comedy Central later this year. Wednesday, 9pm, ABC.
Comedian Ronny Chieng plays a semi-fictionalised version of himself in