Ronny Chieng told me that I wasn’t allowed to write this review.

Well, he didn’t tell me specifically, but he did basically say that as a blogger who hasn’t done comedy I should just mind my own business.

He’s got a point.

Could I sit here and analyze every moment of his one hour set and point out a few things that might not have been the most polished? Should I underline the odd joke that didn’t land and give him some kind of a rating?

I mean, I’ve never done that in reviews, so why start now?

As Chieng himself points out in one of the recurring themes in Tone Issues: comedy has its ups and downs. And Chieng has been in the game long enough and played to enough rooms that you begin to wonder whether even some of the downs are intentional. After all, the ups will be much higher.

If you’re familiar with Chieng’s work on The Daily Show, you’re already probably aware of the three main ingredients of his comedy:

  1. Racial commentary
  2. Political commentary
  3. Being thrown into a rage by either the very largest or very smallest of irritants.

But, like a chef who is famous for a particular type of cuisine, he can bend and manipulate those ingredients into some incredible laughs.

Non sequitors become callbacks 45 minutes later.

A seemingly pointless rant in the first half provides a punchline for story in the second half.

In short, if you enjoy his segments on The Daily Show you will enjoy his standup.  It’s crazy to think that this is his 5th (maybe 6th?) full hour of material when he’s only a decade into his career.

There’s a joke here about work ethic, but I’m not a comedian.

Ronnie Chieng’s Tone Issues closes TONIGHT at Le Gésu. Tickets and Info Here

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