Watch CBS News

'Trevor Noah Wanted To Give Asian People A Voice': Ronny Chieng On 'The Daily Show With Trevor Noah'

(CBS Local)-- Ronny Chieng knows how to make people laugh in a variety of ways. He does it regularly each night as a correspondent on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" and the actor and comedian has built a worldwide reputation for himself through his stand-up comedy work and appearances in movies like "Crazy Rich Asians."

CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith recently chatted with Chieng to discuss his new movie "Long Story Short," how getting on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" changed his life and what he aims to do with his comedy. "Long Story Short" is now available on demand and on digital.

"Josh Lawson pitched me this idea and I was immediately sold on this twist of Groundhog Day," said Chieng. "Also, the character he wrote wasn't written as an Asian person. It was just written as a person and it was filming in Australia, so I was in. As Asian-American storytellers, we're constantly butting up against two storytelling philosophies in America. One is are Asian people here to tell Asian stories in America or are we here to tell stories about being American, so you can stop calling us Asian because we're Americans. Those are two contradictory positions and after working in America for five years, I think the answer to which we are going to do is it depends. It depends on the story."

Chieng says it was nice to be in a story where the focus was on his character being three dimensional just like anyone else. It was his first dramatic role where there was no mention of his character being Asian. The actor even had to cry on demand, which he has never had to do before. Chieng is more accustomed to making people laugh, which is what he does on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah."

"When I met Trevor Noah in 2013 in Canada at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, he was already a rock star," said Chieng. "People don't understand that the continent of Africa was already his base. The entire continent. We were both doing the comedy festival circuit. Everywhere he went, he would be the talk of the town. This guy was already super talented and well received before he set foot in America."

"He was always supportive of me and saw something in me and gave me a chance on The Daily Show," said Chieng. "He didn't have to do that and he probably had funnier friends or closer friends he could've brought on the show, but he felt very strongly that he wanted to give Asian people a voice on the show and I am very lucky to be the recipient of that. He was thinking very selflessly. I am lucky to be a part of a show where our main focus is to talk about American politics and society. As far as anyone can be equipped to talk about these issues, I guess we are equipped. At our core we are a comedy show. We are here to tell jokes and make fun of things. Some of these issues get very heavy and a testament to Trevor for figuring it out."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.