RONNY CHIENG: ASIAN COMEDIAN DESTROYS AMERICA (2019) – TRANSCRIPT

Ronny Chieng ("The Daily Show," "Crazy Rich Asians") takes center stage in this stand-up special and riffs on modern American life and more.
Ronny Chieng Asian Comedian Destroys America

[“The Evening Primrose (Ye Lai Xiang)” by Li Xianglan plays] [woman singing in Chinese] [audience applauds and cheers]

[female host] Ladies and gentlemen, Ronny Chieng! [audience cheers and applauds]

[Ronny] Thank you! Thank you!

[cheering and applause continue]

Thank you! Thank you. Okay! Thank you. We gotta get going! We gotta get going, guys! Thank you! Thank you. That’s very kind. Thank you. Thank you. Netflix says we’re losing viewers by the second. Let’s get started. All right? Thank you. They’re clicking X as we speak. Thanks for coming. Uh… It’s nice to be here in America.

[audience laughs]

What’s going on in America in 2019? Uh… Measles is coming back, right? Bringing back measles. Why not? Why not at this point? How much worse can it get? Let’s bring back measles. Every year, America becomes more and more hipster.

[audience laughs]

It’s time to bring back organic, small-batch diseases.

[audience laughs]

Because of all these stupid anti-vaccination idiots. Reading some bullshit on the internet, getting brainwashed, not vaccinating their children. Yo, the internet is making people so fucking stupid.

[audience laughs]

[woman] Whoo! Like, who knew all of human knowledge can make people dumber?

[audience laughs]

Like, in 50 years, we’re gonna look at the internet the same way we look at smoking right now.

[audience laughs]

It’s going to be like, “Man, I can’t believe 50 years ago, we just let pregnant people use the internet.”

[audience laughs and applauds]

“What were we thinking? Pregnant people were just using the internet. We’d use the internet in front of babies. We’d let babies use the internet.”

[audience laughs]

Yeah, in 50 years, we’re gonna have special areas outside buildings where you can use the internet. Internet designated zones 50 feet from every entrance. Don’t bring the internet indoors. The secondhand stupidity’s a real killer.

[audience laughs, cheers, and applauds]

Yeah. [chuckles]

[cheering and applause continue] Yeah! Yeah, we’re stupid. Yeah! [audience laughs] [laughs] Uh, yeah, I’ve been living in America for a while now. It’s been great. Uh… [inhales sharply] There’s so much stuff here. There’s so much stuff in America. There’s so much abundance. It’s hard to see if you’ve been born and raised here, but when you come from somewhere else, it’s so obvious the abundance in this country. Out of control. So much stuff. Every day, new stuff. It’s like Christmas every day. Hyperloops, electric cars, SpaceX, robot vacuums, iPhone 8s and 10s at the same time. [audience laughs] Can’t even wait in America. We get the iPhone 8, and we’re like, “You know what? Fuck 8 and fuck 9. Ten. Let’s go.”

[audience laughs]

Just skipping iPhone models. So much stuff. There’s so much food in America. There’s so much food, every… [grunts]

[audience laughs] Food. There’s so much content. So much content. Oh, my gosh. So much content on demand. So many screens. The most screens per capita in the world. Every night in America is like a competition to see how many screens we can get between our face and the wall.

[audience laughs]

It’s like, iPhone, iPad, laptop, TV… [exhales] …and an Apple Watch. Okay. Just maybe…

[audience laughs]

As many screens in a row as I can get in front of my face. I need a screen below my eyes and a screen above my eyes. So when I look down and I look up, I don’t miss any of the action in this Game of Thrones episode that cost $30 million, but for some reason, we couldn’t figure out how to adjust the contrast, and so everything is dark as fuck!

[audience laughs and cheers]

So much stuff. So much… So much packaging. Oh, my God! The packaging in America. Everything here is triple-bagged. Right? You order anything to eat at any restaurant, they give you 50 napkins. You throw away 80.

[audience laughs]

Yeah, in America you throw away more napkins than you took. Just breaking the laws of reality… with the abundance. Every restaurant you go to in America, you just make it rain napkins every day.

[audience laughs]

A glass of water, five napkins.

[audience laughs]

Amazon Prime every day. Send that shit to my house every day. Never leave your house. In America, never leave your house. [audience laughs] Land of the free and land of never leaving your house. No item too trivial… no quantity too small… to be hand delivered into your home like an emperor. Anything. Anything in the world that comes to mind, any fleeting thought you have while drunk, anything. Just… [grunts] “I want one pen.”

[audience laughs]

[grunting] “I want one. I don’t want a box. I want just one pen. I want it in a box with some plastic. Throw some napkins in there… in another box, in a bigger box.” Fifty million boxes flying across America at all times. The airspace above America is just Amazon Prime. Packaging just knocking into each other, like satellite debris, right? More, more Prime. Can’t get enough Prime here. We need it, Prime. We need Prime harder, faster, stronger. Faster Prime. Prime Now! [audience laughs] Prime Now. Two-hour delivery.

[audience laughs]

Prime Now. Give it to me now! When I press buy, put the item in my hand…

[audience laughs] [audience applauds]

…now. In America, there should be no lag. Zero lag… between when I press the button and when the item is gently placed into my hand. [breathes heavily] So I can use it now. Oh, same-day delivery? [moans in agony] Un-American. Same-day? [retching] Now. Prime Now. Break into my house…

[audience laughs]

…and put the food I ordered in my mouth… and help me chew it! And then push it down my esophagus with a stick. [pants] And then pull the feces out of my anus for me now. It’s like, where do we go from here… as a civilization? Like, how much more convenience can we get? How much less energy can we use… to get what we want? Let’s get Prime Before.

[audience laughs]

Send it to me before I want it! [audience laughs] It’s 2019, I have to make a decision? Before you mail me what I buy? Use artificial intelligence… to substitute my own intelligence… so I can live my life. Send me everything I want before I want it… in as many boxes as possible. So much packaging. But… yeah, very happy to be here. Why do people come here?

[audience applauds]

No. Wait. Wait. Hang on. [laughs] Why do people come here? Why– Why do first-generation immigrants come here? Because this is the best, right? This is the best. This is the NBA.

[audience laughs]

America is the NBA. Do guys know that? You guys live in the NBA. In Asia, we think of America as the NBA. It’s where you go to be the best at whatever you’re doing. You come here to do it with other people, who are the best at what they’re doing. Like, the Chinese name for America is mei guo. That directly translates into English as “beautiful country.” That’s the Chinese name for America, Beautiful Country. That’s what we say when we say America in sentences. We say Beautiful Country. “Have you been to Beautiful Country? They have unlimited napkins in Beautiful Country.”

[audience laughs]

“They don’t give a fuck. They don’t even use it. They just take it and then just throw it away. It’s a Beautiful Country.” China in Chinese is zhong guo. That means “middle country.” It means nothing! [audience laughs] We named this place better than we named our own shit!

[audience laughs]

It’s the Beautiful Country. Let’s go to the Beautiful Country. Let’s leave the Middle Country. Let’s go to the Beautiful Country. Risk it all to start from scratch in the Beautiful Country. And then you finally come here, and everybody hates everything.

[audience laughs]

[in American accent] “Verizon sucks.”

[audience laughs]

[in American accent] “AT&T sucks. The TSA sucks. Fuck the TSA, trying to keep everyone alive. Fuck that.” [audience laughs and applauds] [in American accent] “The New York subway sucks. Los Angeles traffic sucks. Statues suck. Standing sucks. Kneeling sucks.” [audience laughs and cheers] [in American accent] “Congress sucks. Republicans suck. Democrats suck. Independents suck. Elon Musk sucks. Netflix…” Hm. [audience laughs and cheers]

[in American accent] “All right, Netflix is all right.” We got one right. Netflix is all right. -But Netflix on the iPad sucks!”

[audience laughs]

[in American accent] “It’s an un-intuitive interface. You can’t download offline viewing for every show unless it’s original, and I can’t watch it on the plane when I fly through the air like a god.” [retching] “Prime Now!” [retching] [audience laughs and cheers] All these first world allergies. [laughs] Everyone fighting to come in here. Everyone in here bitching. Doesn’t make any sense. It’s been great traveling around all over America. I have the best job ever. I get paid to travel around all of America. Try to make people laugh, meet real human beings. Not just Russian bots. -Right? It’s the best.

[audience laughs]

It’s a real privilege to get to see all of… this huge country. And I think outside of America, we think of America as like a monolith. Right? Like America, Americans, like one entity. But you live here long enough, you realize it’s such a big country. Every state is like its own nation unto itself. Their own cuisine, their own way of talking, their own values, their own flags. That’s why there’s so much division here. It’s all these different countries trying to federate. It becomes so obvious once you start living here. You can tell the difference between the different types of Americans, the different energies. Right? From East Coast to West Coast. It’s so obvious. You can call it out. Like, East Coast Americans, super intense. Right? West Coast, everyone calms the fuck down a bit.

[audience cheering and laughing] -Yeah. -Yeah.

[cheering continues]

Yeah, it’s like the East Coast of America, everyone’s still fighting the British. [audience laughs] It’s like they never got over it. Every day in New York, without fail, it’s just like… [pants] “Fuck. I’m walking here! Fuck!”

[audience laughs]

It’s like genetic PTSD, right? From Assassin’s Creed. And then you move west, and people calm the fuck down a bit. And it’s reflected in state mottoes of every state. The attitudes of the people from that state reflected in the state motto. East Coast state mottoes, super intense. Because that shit was forged in the heat of battle. So the Revolution is forever imprinted into the makeup of those people, right? Like the state motto of an East Coast state… Like the state motto of New Hampshire is “Live Free or Die.”

[audience laughs]

That’s a very intense state motto.

[audience laughs]

All right, if you’re from New Hampshire, and you’re living there, at some point, you have to start questioning… “Hey, how far do we take this? All right? Because… Because I’m feeling a little imprisoned by this post office line right now, and I don’t know, man. [yelling] Maybe I should live up to our state motto here!”

[audience laughs]

Or like the state motto of Pennsylvania or Massachusetts. It’s like another East Coast state, it’s like something in Latin. Like, “Liberty, but only by the sword, or I’ll chop your head off.” It’s like Game of Thrones book titles. It’s a dead language. I’m paraphrasing, right? Then you move west, and people calm the fuck down a bit. Like, you move southwest to Tennessee, and the state motto of Tennessee… is “Agriculture and Commerce.”

[audience laughs]

Compared to “Live Free or Die”… [audience laughs] “Agriculture and Commerce” isn’t even a call to action. [audience laughs] Like, it’s not even, “Let’s do agriculture and commerce.”

[audience laughs]

There’s no verb in that motto. Do you understand? It means there’s no action word. So the sentence has no direction. It’s just concepts. It’s like everyone got to Tennessee, and they were like, “Oh, my God! The sun here is awesome! Yeah, agriculture and… [clears throat] …commerce. Yeah, figure it out. But not today.” Then you move further west, southwest to Texas. Right? And the state motto of Texas is… Anybody here know the state motto of Texas, by any chance? I won’t make fun of you if you get it wrong. “Lone Star State”? Good guess. That’s wrong.

[audience laughs]

Anyone else?

[woman] “Don’t tread on me!” “Don’t tread on me”? Great guess. That’s wrong.

[audience laughs]

“Remember the Alamo”? Bad guess. That’s wrong. [audience laughs] You’re going to let this fucking foreigner teach you about your country? All right. Your President’s not going to like that. But that’s the energy, right? What? “Grab your guns.” “Don’t fuck with Texas.” “Don’t mess with Texas.” “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” “Build the wall.” “Fuck your mom.”

[audience laughs]

No, the state motto of Texas is “Friendship.”

[audience laughs and applauds]

Yo, the state motto of Texas, it’s the opposite… of every commonly held connotation of the state. That’s a major failing on the PR department… of the state of Texas, to get your messaging that wrong. Everyone thinks it’s “Go fuck yourself.” It’s “Friendship.”

[audience laughs]

That’s 180 degrees off-message. That’s how chilled out they were. When they got to Texas, they were like, “Friendship!” And then you get to California, and the state motto of California is “Eureka!” “We made it! We’re as far from the British as we can get. Fuck those assholes. Legalize weed, make movies, do whatever the fuck you want! Manifest destiny!”

[audience laughs and cheers]

Yeah, it’s been great meeting the different types of Americans as well. Um, think of every… the different races, different ethnicities, different cities, all different people. Of all the Americans I’ve met, I think African-Americans have got to be the coolest race of them all, right?

[audience cheers]

They’re the coolest. Everything they do is just cooler. Everything they touch is just smoother, right? Sports, science, music, presidencies. Right? Everything they do.

[audience cheers and applauds]

Yo.

[cheers and applause continue] They got the swag. Black people have the swag. You cannot deny the swag. Black people have the swag. Even white supremacists are like, “Yeah, they have swag.”

[audience laughs]

It’s like undeniable coolness. Like, black people are so cool, they can own their own racial slur. Okay? That’s how cool they are. No other minority in America is cool enough to own their own slur. All right, you never see Chinese people walking around just going, “Hey, yo. Hey, yo, my chinks.”

[audience laughs]

“Yo, where my chinks at? Yo, holler at me, chinks.”

[audience cheers]

“My chinks. Hey, stay yellow my fellows. What.”

[audience laughs]

Sounds awful. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. [squeakily] “My chinks! My chinks! My chinks!” I think… America is very politically divided right now, right? A lot of things here. No matter what topic you bring up, you reduce it down to politics a lot, which eventually gets reduced down to race. I think we can all do with taking a step back from race every once in a while and just talk as human beings. And let me just tell you, I think we need more Asian people in this country.

[audience cheers]

There’s not enough. There’s not enough. There’s not enough. Right now, we’re like 5.6% of the population. Okay? We need to get the number right up. Need more Asian people in this country. I’ll tell you why. Because we are the only objective referees… [audience laughs] …in the ongoing race war… between white and black people. Okay? Because you don’t care about us… and we don’t care about either of you.

[audience laughs and applauds]

So you can trust us. When we tell you things, there’s no bias, right? There’s no agenda. We just give it to you straight because we don’t care.

[audience laughs]

Like, lately, there’s been a lot of skirmishes in America. Right? White people calling the police on black people for very innocuous activity, like barbecuing in the park. [audience laughs] Or like entering their own homes.

[audience laughs]

So, yo, next time you feel aggrieved, don’t call the police. Call the Asians.

[audience laughs]

We will come in and arbitrate any situation for you… impartially and without bias. Because we don’t care. Like, if you called us into Starbucks that day, we’d be like… “Yo, these two black guys? They’re just sitting down drinking coffee. Why don’t you drink your latte and shut the fuck up?”

[audience laughs and cheers]

Yeah.

[laughter and cheering continues]

And you can trust us because we don’t care. Because our skin is not in the game.

[audience laughs]

Literally, NFL, NBA, our skin is in none of those games, all right?

[audience laughs]

So we don’t give a fuck… who’s kneeling at what, okay? I don’t care about your fantasy football draft analysis. We just want shit to work. Asian people in America just want shit to work. We’re not distracted by the spectacle of show business. We just want things to work so we give it to you straight. You can trust us… to tell you the truth. -Okay? Okay, yeah.

[audience cheers and applauds]

Ugly truths, but truths nonetheless. Like, yo, white people… Yo… “Bohemian Rhapsody” sucks.

[audience laughs]

Right? It’s a fucking un-danceable song. For the love of God, stop gathering in circles and chanting it at parties.

[audience laughs]

Okay? If you must, keep it to your shower, okay? No hatred. There’s no hatred here. It’s just information, okay? Just putting it out there. Take it or leave it. I… We give it both ways, okay? We give it both ways. Yo, black people… Yo, a little noisy in the movie theater. Okay, again, no hatred. There’s no hatred here. It’s just solutions. That’s all we offer. Both your people, solutions. Nothing more, nothing less. We need an Asian President, man, I’m telling you. Yeah.

[audience cheers]

Yeah. Man or woman. Man or woman. Get that Asian President in the White House. We will fix this shit in a week.

[audience laughs]

I promise you, give us a solid eight days, you will see results, because we don’t care. We just want things to work. Imagine harnessing the power of Asian people in government. [imitates explosion] Oh, my God.

[audience laughs]

All the Asians in government just going down the list of broken things, fixing it one-by-one with no agenda. Just pure logic, right?

[audience laughs, cheers, and applauds]

Just… Just going down the list, “Live long and prosper.” “That’s fine, that works, that’s pretty good, separation of powers is awesome, that works most of the time, that’s okay, that’s okay, that’s fucked, that’s fucked, Environmental Protection Agency’s fucked, Medicare’s fucked… Do your fucking job!” Just slapping people in the face. Right? Every nine months in this country, there’s, like, a congressional gridlock. Right? Everyone always threatening a government shutdown. Government shutdown? Yo, there’s no government shutdown with Asian people in charge.

[audience laughs]

We don’t shut down for anything.

[audience laughs and applauds]

Yo, we don’t shut down for Christmas, do you understand?

[audience cheers]

We work through public holidays. Any city in America, when it’s 3:00 a.m., and you’re hungry, where do you go? You go to Chinatown. That’s where you go.

[audience laughs]

Because things are affordable, delicious, and open. Does that sound like a country you want to live in? We don’t shut down for anything. Thanksgiving means nothing to me.

[audience cheers and applauds]

Do you have any idea how meaningless the concept of Thanksgiving is to me? Fuck turkey. It’s dry.

[audience laughs and cheers]

Yeah, I’d rather fix healthcare than eat turkey. How about that? Is that someone you want to charge? Please, vote for the Asians when you get a chance. We’ll work while you’re eating.

[audience laughs]

And we got the votes, Asian people. We got the votes, man. I’m telling you, everyone, they want us. We just need to corral it. Everybody loves us. Jewish people will vote for us, because, like I just said, we’re the only ones that cook for them during Christmas, okay? They’re already loving the flavors. Italians and Greek people will vote for us, because we have a shared culture of family-based food activities. Also, we beat our children.

[audience laughs]

We know what it takes… to make good people. Black people… Black people will vote for us, because we’re not white, right? [laughs]

[audience laughs and applauds]

I’m not saying it’s automatic, okay? I’m just saying, all things equal… they’re gonna go with the not white, but it’s the tiebreaker. That’s what I’m trying to say, okay? Don’t take it for granted. You still gotta work for the black vote, but if you get the overtime, you have the advantage. Right?

[audience laughs]

Uh, and that’s… [chuckles] And Latinos and Indian people will vote for us.

[woman whoops]

Yeah, because we… Pfft. I don’t know. We have rice in our cuisine. Okay, I don’t know.

[audience laughs]

I don’t have all the answers. I’m just saying there’s something there. Also, we beat our children. Really, really… Really, the beating of the children is that thing that unites… most of the races into the fist that beats the children. And think of how inspirational that would be if we have the first Asian President. What an inspirational message that would send to Asian children everywhere in America. If we have the first Asian President, you could go up to Asian children, anywhere in America, you can finally say, “Hey, listen, buddy. You don’t have to be… just a neurosurgeon.” [sobs]

[audience laughs and applauds]

[sobs] [crying] “The sky is… Sky’s the limit! There is no bamboo ceiling! If you shut up and work even harder… You fucking piece of shit.”

[audience laughs]

You gotta get behind that message. It’s such a weird stereotype to have associated with your ethnicity. Right? That stereotype of Asian parents wanting their kids to be doctors. Right? It’s such a weird thing to have on your race. Like, what is that? Is that good? Is that bad? I thought it was a good thing. Apparently, it’s worthy of mockery. Right? Asian parents wanting their kids to be doctors. It’s weird because it’s true. Right? I know because my parents were the same way. They just wanted us to be doctors. It was like this obsession. They just wanted us to be doctors. And it’s insidious as well, because when Asian parents want their kids to be doctors, helping people is, like, on the bottom of the list of reasons.

[audience laughs applauds]

Oh, if it even makes the list… of reasons to go into medicine. Helping people is, like, the unfortunate by-product… [audience laughs] of becoming a healthcare professional. Like, when they first see that they can’t even believe it. They’re like, “What the fuck? You gotta help people? Well, whatever, get it out of the way. But don’t let it get in the way of what this is really about. It’s about the money and the prestige, right?” It’s the money and the prestige. Because if you’re a first-generation immigrant, your children becoming doctors is the quickest way you can turn it around in one generation. Instant credibility, instant respectability, instant money. Right? You flip the clan narrative around. Boom! Started from the bottom, now we here. We’re doctors! [laughs]

[audience laughs]

And it’s also weird because Asian parents are also the last group of people you can ever convince to see a doctor.

[audience laughs, cheers, and applauds]

Yo, these fucking people will never see a doctor. They spend their whole lives obsessing over it. Nothing can make my mom see a doctor. There’s nothing… My mom can have an arrow going right through her. [pants] And she’s trying to pull it out like Rambo, right? And you’re like, “Yo, Mom, let’s go see a doctor.” And my mom will be like, “No. They just want to take people’s money.”

[audience laughs and applauds]

Then you’re like, “Then why do you want your kids to be doctors so badly?” [strained] “Because I want my kids to take other people’s money, obviously!” [pants] “The fact that you don’t understand that is the reason why you never became a doctor.”

[groans] -[audience laughs] Because Chinese people love money. We love that shit. Chinese people fucking love money. Okay? You think rappers love money? Yo, we love money…

[audience laughs]

…more than anyone. Chinese people love everything about it. We love making it, love spending it, we love giving it, we love receiving it, we love throwing it up in the air. Yo, Chinese people love money so much, we have a god of money.

[audience laughs]

Of all the gods in Chinese Taoism, there’s one god, he’s the god of money. Caishenye, we pray to him… for more money! Every day, we go, “Hey, god of money…”

[audience laughs]

“…give us more money.” And he gives us more money. Very fickle god. Doesn’t care about inflation, right? No understanding of basic principles of macroeconomics, just… Just throwing out gold ingots if you ask for it at the right time. “Here’s some money. Burn some incense. Here’s some money, man.” Even during Chinese New Year, the biggest holiday for Chinese people, Chinese New Year, when we see each other during Chinese New Year, the way we greet each other is we say, “gong xi fa cai,” or “gong hei fat choy” in Cantonese. I’m sure you’ve heard that, at least peripherally, “Gong xi fa cai.” Gong xi fa cai means, “Hope you get rich!”

[audience laughs] [audience cheers and applauds]

That’s not “Happy New Year.”

[audience laughs]

Do you understand, the go-to phrase during Chinese New Year isn’t, “Hey, happy New Year.” It’s, “Yo, hope you get rich.”

[audience laughs]

“Hope you get rich. Hope you get richer than all these other motherfuckers. Hope you get so fucking rich, man. Hope you get rich and also hope… You better hope I get rich. We can hope each other… Both get rich together.”

[audience laughs]

[chuckles] Yeah, there’s no context for Asian storytelling… in America. Like, I talk about a god of money here, everyone looks at me like I’m a Scientologist. Right? He’s real.

[audience laughs]

He’s real, man. Burn your incense. -Make some money.

[audience laughs]

Yeah, I moved to America in September 2015, and I thought I got here just in time for that last bit of Obama’s America. Like, I thought I snuck in here for that last lap of Obama’s presidency and, like, this new golden age in America, and instead I got here just in time for Donald Trump’s America. That’s like buying tickets to Beyoncé, and instead it’s Donald Trump.

[audience laughs]

And you’re expecting, “All the single ladies, all the single ladies, all the single ladies.” But instead, it’s the same hand grabbing people by the pussy.

[audience laughs]

Single or married, it doesn’t matter. Coming for… [grunts]

[audience laughs]

Yeah, I moved… Moved straight to New York City. Another dream come true for me, moving to New York City as a stand-up comedian. New York City is like the Mecca. It’s like… You know, you can do, like, ten shows a night, easy. All my comedy heroes came from New York City. There’s a real creative energy there. I’ve been lucky to live in a few cities in my life. I used to live in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, I used to live in Singapore. I used to live in Melbourne, Australia. New York City is the only city I’ve lived in where people fight subway trains… and win.

[audience laughs and applauds]

Like, any other city on the planet, when the train doors start to close… Bee, beep, beep, beep. …that means that train is departed. Okay? You’re supposed to shut up and wait patiently for the next train. Oh, not in New York. In New York, if you can slip a piece of paper in between those doors, one millimeter of space, that’s all you need. You got a fighting chance. People take it for granted now, strolling up to closing train doors in New York, just uppercutting them in the…

[audience laughs]

…in that black rubber part, like that’s the personal open button for every commuter on the train. Just bam! “This train ain’t leaving till I get on board. Where’s my ticket? Right here, buddy.” Like, my first week in New York, uh, I was on this crowded subway train, and it was packed all the way to the doors, right? I’m on the train, packed all the way to the doors, and the doors start closing in front of me. And as the doors start closing, this guy, like, walks up to the closing train doors, -and just jams his fingers…

[audience laughs]

…just right into the door. No regard for his limbs or appendages. Like, his need to get on this train exceeded his need to grip things. [audience laughs] He did a cost-benefit analysis in his head. And he was like, “You know what? This is overrated. Right? Who needs this motion? Who needs this point of articulation, right? Let’s get on this train. My life will be perfect.” So, he just creates enough of a gap to start fighting, and he fights this train for eight seconds. He just fights it to a stalemate. Okay? It’s a judges’ decision. He can’t move the train, the train can’t move, no one can move. And after eight seconds, he gets, like, tired. He starts gassing out. [pants] So he uses his head to jam up the doors.

[audience laughs]

Like a doorstop. As he readjusts his grip, right, he starts to chalk up his hands for round two. And I’m standing there, just facing the top of his oily scalp…

[audience laughs]

Just thinking, “Yo, man, just let it go, all right? I’m new in town. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to help you, or if we’re both going to get arrested, okay? I don’t know the social etiquette in this situation.”

[audience laughs]

“All I know is there’s a train in three minutes.”

[audience laughs]

“This is the ACE line in Manhattan, all right? If you let this go, we will all get to where we need to go to quicker.” But he’s like, “No, this is the one, man! This is the last train ever!” And he fought the train… for, like, four more seconds… and he won! He won. The train tapped out. Right, it was like, “All right, gotta respect your ground game. Full mount to omoplata is out of control. Anyone else wanna run in at the last minute? It’s not like we have a schedule to keep or anything.” And that’s the problem with America right there. Too many civil liberties.

[audience laughs]

There’s too much freedom here. You guys took your Bill of Rights and just ran with it. That shit would never fly in Malaysia. Where I’m from, in Malaysia, you stick your hand in the door, the doors close, you get dragged for like a mile.

[audience laughs]

Right? Right? You get brought to your knees by the system. As the train runs over you, it starts going after your family, right? You start… You start, like, bleeding out on the tracks. The doors open. We all walk over your dead corpse. [audience laughs] “Yeah, that’s what you get, you dumb fuck.”

[audience laughs]

Not in America. In America, one man… can stop the entire train line. Because everyone can make a difference.

[audience laughs, cheers, and applauds]

Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, it’s been great living in America. Yeah, New York City, it’s a great city, but by any objective measure, it’s like… it’s just barbaric, right? [laughs] If you compare it to other cities… Like, if you go to Japan, any city in Japan– Anyone here been to Japan, by any chance?

[audience cheers]

Yeah, Japan… Japan’s, like, awesome, right? It’s, like, the future. If you go to Japan, everyone’s so polite and friendly. Very courteous, very conscientious society in general, right? Practical application of advanced technology in Japan. They have toilets in Japan that can wash your asshole.

[audience laughs]

Did you know that? I bring news from the Orient! [audience laughs] In Japan, they have toilets that can wash your asshole clean.

[audience laughs]

And they’ve had this now for decades. This isn’t “Best of 2015” on BuzzFeed, okay? This was mastered and implemented in the ’70s. Everyone has one. It’s by default they have it, right? Restaurants, homes, hotels, everyone has one, and it works. I was skeptical, too.

[audience laughs]

First time I saw one, I was like, “There’s no way this thing works. It’s a fucking gimmick.” Oh, how wrong I was.

[audience laughs]

Hot jet stream of water… on target every time.

[audience laughs]

How is it on target every time? It never has an off day. It’s like Steph Curry from the free throw line, just automatic. [audience laughs] On target every time. How? How? How? It’s like every toilet in Japan has a camera and a guy aiming it in the back.

[audience laughs]

He’s the same guy who carries your luggage up to your hotel room.

[audience laughs]

And… And people in the West don’t really know this, but Chinese people and Japanese people have, like, beef stretching from World War II, because in World War II, Japan did tons of war atrocities to Chinese people. Rape, torture, human experimentation, the whole nine yards. China, all the way down Southeast Asia. Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia. And people in the West don’t really know this, because there’s no Schindler’s List for Chinese people, okay?

[audience laughs]

No one made a dope black and white movie about it in the West, so it’s not common knowledge. If you didn’t know it, I’m not calling you out. If you didn’t know that, why would you? That’s not your story. It happened on the other side of the planet, okay? Why would you know that? I’m not calling you out. If you didn’t know, I’m just letting you know it happened. Okay, if you grew up in Singapore, like I did, they never let you forget it.

[audience laughs]

In Singapore, it’s, “Never forget. They did that. Never forget. They did that shit.” Every year, a new documentary drama series detailing the atrocities that happened during the Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia. “Never forget. They did that!” And if you grew up in Singapore and Malaysia with that swirling around your head, and you go visit Japan for the first time, right, with a lifetime of that stuff still in your head, and you’re in Japan, and everyone’s super polite and friendly, and there’s, like, Sailor Moon, right?

[audience laughs]

And there’s toilets that wash your ass. You can’t help but wonder… how did these guys go from rape, torture, and human experimentation to Pokémon…

[audience laughs]

…in one generation? [scoffs] -[audience laughs] So I’m just saying… if we give ISIS a couple decades…

[audience laughs]

…maybe they’ll cure cancer, okay? You don’t know. You don’t know what the future holds. Might be judging them on a very harsh period of their history right now.

[man cackling]

Okay, mixed reaction to that. That’s fair enough.

[audience laughs]

But you know what? It’s a comedy show, not a TED Talk. Okay? Calm the fuck down! Everyone’s asshole clenched up so tight, a Japanese toilet couldn’t wash it.

[audience laughs]

Yeah, like I said, I used to live in Australia. I started doing comedy in Australia. Um… Australia was always really good to me. Uh… My wife is Australian, and I love my wife a lot. I love my wife so much, I married her three times. That’s right. I married the same woman three separate times. Why? Because when you have Asian parents, you have to get married… in every fucking country you have relatives in.

[audience laughs]

Because Asian parents have to brag, okay? And I know every parent has to brag. I’m not trying to take anything away from anyone. I’m just saying Asian parents also have to brag, and, like, weddings is how they do it. Like, Asian weddings for baby boomers, Asian baby boomers, it was the original Instagram, okay?

[audience laughs]

It is how they catch up with everybody. It’s how they get the likes. It’s how they get the dopamine hit. It’s how they leave comments. “Why so skinny? Why so fat? Why aren’t you married? Why don’t you have a baby? What’s wrong with your balls?”

[audience laughs]

They say shit to your face that reviewers on the internet wouldn’t say.

[audience laughs]

So we had to get married three times. So the first wedding we had in Melbourne, Australia, because my wife is from Melbourne, Australia. Then we got married in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, even though I’m not from Kuala Lumpur, but who gives a fuck what the groom wants, right?

[audience laughs]

Let’s just find the nearest landmark in Malaysia everyone can pronounce with the most direct flights.

[audience laughs]

And then we got married in New York for green card purposes. -Okay, so…

[audience laughs]

Three very romantic weddings, for the right reasons. Chain migration, and…

[audience laughs and applauds]

Let me tell you something.

[man] Whoo!

Let me speak from the heart here for just one minute. If you take nothing else away from the show here tonight, please just hear me now. Okay, I’m speaking from personal experience here. There are fewer joys you will experience in life… than organizing three weddings at the same time.

[audience laughs]

Oh, my God! It’s so much fun and so easy to do.

[audience laughs]

I highly recommend it. In fact, it’s so much fun, after you organize three weddings… [laughs cynically] …you should just kill yourself immediately! Because it turns out you’ll never experience as much joy as you do… than when you’re trying to organize three wedding simultaneously. In fact, the only way you can experience more joy, is if you organize those three weddings as far away from your physical location as possible. Because you’ll find that the enjoyment-versus-distance graph increases exponentially the further away the weddings are from your physical body. So fun and cheap.

[audience laughs]

So the first wedding in Melbourne, Australia, I’m sending out the wedding invites, right, and I’m going… going all the way with these things, not holding back. Everything, gold embossed lettering with the lace and the holograms. It’s, like, $20 an invite. At this point, it’s cheaper to write the invitation on money, okay?

[audience laughs]

“We should write the invitation on money and serve cash at the reception. -We’ll save some money.”

[audience laughs]

So, I’m sending these things out, and on the back of the invite, my wife is like, “You have to put your email address on the back of the invite so my friends can email in their dietary requirements.”

White people dietary requirements.

[audience laughs]

Holy fuck! Yo, there’s no dietary requirements. Okay? Chinese weddings in Malaysia, there’s no dietary requirements. Chinese weddings in Malaysia, everyone shows up, we eat, some people die, and then we go home.

[audience laughs] [audience cheers and applauds]

Makes the race stronger!

[audience laughs]

We’re not customizing meals for weak genes! Thousands of years of Chinese weddings, people show up and die, -no one complains.

[audience laughs]

No one’s every written a bad Yelp review because they died at a Chinese wedding. [sobbing] “What a tragedy.” We collectively accept that as a possibility. Okay, because life is risky. I was expecting the usual, reasonable dietary requirements. Right? Gluten allergy, vegan, shellfish allergy, peanut allergy. Keeping it reasonable. Oh, my God! The shit we got back.

[audience laughs]

Spreadsheets… of genetic failures.

[audience laughs and applauds]

One after the other, each more pathetic than the last. [breathlessly] “Excuse me, Ronny! Excuse me! I can’t eat figs!” [pants] “Excuse me, Ronny. I can’t eat red pepper. Green pepper is fine, but red pepper makes my mouth red. Excuse me, Ronny. I can’t eat fried garlic. Does this have fried garlic? I have to pick the fried garlic out of the bok choy. Excuse me, Ronny. I can’t eat lettuce. This san choy bau is wrapped in lettuce. I can’t eat it!” From the same person.

[audience laughs]

Yo, dietary requirements is a serious issue. Okay? It’s a medical condition. It means if you eat this, you could die. It’s not license to tell me what textures you don’t enjoy.

[audience laughs]

These motherfuckers trying to influence the menu! [audience laughs] Anyway, I had a great time at my wedding. It was awesome. [audience laughs] Uh, I love my wife a lot. My wife says that I have tone issues, so… [audience groans] Everything I say sounds sarcastic or angry.

[audience laughs]

[angrily] Apparently. [audience laughs] But listen to the words, not the tone, please. [angrily] I had a great wedding. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It was awesome.

[audience laughs]

[sarcastically] Three was not enough. Your friends are amazing.

[audience laughs]

I love my wife a lot, but marriage has definitely made me a worse person. Before I got married, I used to care because I was trying to get laid. Now I don’t care anymore, okay? All I care about is my wife’s opinion about me and her well-being. That’s all I care about. I don’t give a fuck about any of this other… Idiots on the internet… Even her friends come and talk to my wife, “Hey, Ronny!” I’m like, “Fuck this shit.” I just gotta walk away.

[audience laughs]

Like, when my wife’s friends come and talk to me, I can’t even muster the bare minimum that society requires of me to interact with this person. It’s like, “Hey, Ronny, how are you?” I’m like, “Fuck this.” I gotta walk away.

[audience laughs]

Because when my wife’s friends find out I do stand-up comedy, what follows is the worst conversation… in the history of humanity. And it happens over and over and over again. Same thing every single time. It’s like, “Oh, hey, Ronny. Hey, wow. You do stand-up comedy? Oh, wow. Hey, Ron, when’s your next show?” “Well, I do five to six shows a night, every single night in New York City. So I guess my next show will be tonight or tomorrow depending on what time of day we’re having this conversation.” “Oh, wow! That’s really cool. When’s your next big show?” “I don’t really differentiate between big or small shows. I try to bring everything I have to every show I do, so I guess my next… big show will be my next show, which will be today or tomorrow, as per our previous excruciating interaction.” “Oh, wow, that’s really cool. Well, can you let me know next time you’re doing a show?”

[audience laughs]

“Well…” [sighs] “…like I just said…”

[audience laughs]

“I do five to six shows a night, minimum, every single night in New York City. There’s no possible way I could let you know… the next time you’re doing a show. That kind of notification wouldn’t be feasible for you or for me to receive, so I guess the answer is no. No, I cannot… let you know.” “Okay, well, are you gigging next Saturday? Because I’m free next Saturday in the city so if you’re around, maybe I can come around and watch you perform…” [yelling] “Listen, man! I’m not going to roll out a red carpet for you every time I go to work! Okay? You come, or you don’t! It’s on Twitter. It’s on my website. Figure it out! Everyone else figured it out!”

[audience laughs]

[audience applauds]

So…

[audience whistling and cheering]

So to avoid that timeline from happening, right? That’s like the worst possible reality. And I’m like a conversation Precog at this point. I can detect conversation crimes before they happen, okay? Just in my vat of milk, just watching that wooden ball road down the counter, like Tom Cruise, I’ll jump in and cut off that reality before it blossoms into full-blown asshole reality. I cut it off at the bud, so when my wife’s friends come and talk to me, and they go, “Hey, Ronny, you do stand-up comedy? Oh, wow, when’s your next show?”

[audience laughs]

I just say… [exhales deeply] “No, it’s okay.”

[audience laughs]

Then my wife here says, “‘No, it’s okay,’ is not an answer to the question…”

[audience laughs]

“…when my friends ask you when your next show is.” “Okay, sorry. Could you give me one second? What do you want me to say? What the fuck you want me to say? Because every time we have this conversation, it goes nowhere good. So what do you want me to say?” “Just say you don’t do comedy. It’s easier if you say you don’t do comedy.” “All right, fine. Next time your friends ask me, I’ll say I don’t do comedy. I don’t do shit. I’m a useless husband. All I do is sit on my fat ass all day reviewing things.”

[audience laughs]

[sighs heavily] So, yeah, tone issues is something I’ve been working on…

[audience laughs]

[sighs] …for the last five to six years, really. It’s been an ongoing battle. It’s been an ongoing battle between my wife and my tone.

[audience laughs]

Myself as a neutral third-party, of course. [inhales] And I got to say, I see good people on both sides, okay? -So I don’t know.

[audience laughs]

Yeah, I got married at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday in Melbourne, Australia. That was my… That was the tea ceremony in Melbourne, Australia. That’s the most traditional Chinese part of the wedding. We do it in the morning. Families come. We serve tea to everybody. Other stuff happens. It never ends, stuff keeps happening, but that’s when it starts, okay? Then after that, we have a dinner, and all that fucking bullshit. But it starts at 9:00 a.m. That’s the tea ceremony. So I booked my flight to leave New York City… at 10:00 p.m. on a Friday. And with the time zone difference and length of the flight, I’d reach Melbourne just in time, 9:00 a.m., to attend my own wedding. Um… And I was cutting it close. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to work to pay off three fucking weddings, okay?

[audience laughs]

I can’t just take leave whenever I want. I have to work to the limit, jump on a plane, and attend my own wedding, okay? Because, guess what? This shit ain’t free. And my wife hates it when I say that, so I say it every single time, okay?

[audience laughs]

I gotta work to the limit, make money, jump on a plane, and then get to my wedding. So, at 3:00 p.m. on the Friday of the flight, my wife calls me, and she’s, like– In The Daily Show office, she calls me, and she’s like… “Why aren’t you on your way to the airport?” At this point, my wife is in Australia, and my wife calls me at 3:00 p.m. in the Midtown Manhattan Daily Show office, and she says, “Why aren’t you on your way to the airport?” And I say, “Why would I go to the airport at 3:00 p.m. for a 10:00 p.m. flight?”

[audience laughs]

And my wife immediately starts crying. [breathes deeply] She says, “Because it’s not a 10:00 p.m. flight. It’s a 6:00 p.m. flight, you fucking idiot.” -[Ronny clicks tongue]

[audience laughs]

So, apparently, I made a small mistake there. Um…

[audience laughs]

I thought it was a 10:00 p.m. flight leaving JFK in New York City. It was actually a 6:00 p.m. flight leaving JFK. At 3:00 p.m., I was still in The Daily Show Midtown Manhattan office, and to make this flight, I would have to go home, pack…

[audience laughs]

…fight through Friday Manhattan rush hour traffic to get to JFK in time for an international flight in three hours to attend my own wedding. Herculean task, I know, but guess what? I believe in myself. -So…

[audience laughs]

…my wife immediately starts crying. She’s like… [sobs] “How can you let this happen?” I hang up the phone. I throw it against the wall. Because now is not the time for negative energy!

[audience laughs and applauds]

Okay?

[audience cheers]

That’s right. We are in problem-solving mode. Okay? There’s plenty of time at a later date to assign blame to all parties responsible…

[audience laughs]

…for this fucking fiasco. But for the moment, can we just focus on positive energy and solutions only? Thank you. So I hang up the phone, throw it against the wall, and I run home. Fifteen minutes, I sprint home. And I get home in 15 minutes, and I pack in five minutes. I know I packed in five minutes because as soon as I got home, I said, “Alexa, time five minutes.” And then…

[audience laughs]

…Alexa was like, “Would you also like me to buy you a watch and a clock?” I was like, “Buy whatever the fuck you want. I don’t have time for this now.” “Okay, well, I’m going to buy all that stuff right now!” Then some guy came to my house immediately. I was like, “Get the fuck out of my house!” I took my luggage and I put my tux in there, one t-shirt, and one sock, ’cause there was gonna be a crazy after-party, and then I zipped up my luggage, and I ran downstairs. I hit the New York City street level with my luggage. Crucial decision to make: Do you take the taxi, or do you take the subway? Okay? And Google Maps says that the taxi will be an hour and a half through traffic. Google Maps says that the subway will be 59 minutes. So I go, “Okay, fuck it. I’m going to take the subway. Because I can’t live with taking a taxi, and getting stuck in traffic, and missing this flight. I’ll take the subway. At least I’m always in motion. And if I miss the flight, I’ll just find a new wife, all right? So…

[audience laughs]

So I take my luggage. I run down the New York City subway stairs, holding my luggage. I’m running down the New York City subway stairs. I hit the New York City subway platform, and there’s a train right there. And its doors start closing in front of me.

[audience laughs and applauds]

And I go… [yelling] “I know what to do in this situation!” [grunts] And I’m trying to put my head in the door, and I can’t… I can’t get to the door in time. I can’t even reach it. Even my hand, I can’t even reach it. It’s too far away. I’m trying to make the trade with the train gods. I’m like, “Take my hand, train gods, for safe passage. It’s worth it. Take it.” And I can’t reach the door. And the doors are closing, and this black guy is standing right at the door. And he sees me doing this. And we make eye contact. And then he just puts his foot right on the door.

[audience cheers]

Yeah. And the door is, like, slamming against him the whole time, but he doesn’t give a fuck because he’s black, right?

[audience laughs]

Slamming against him… And he looks at me and he’s like, “Get the fuck in the…” I was like, “Shit! He’s holding it open for me.” So I grab my luggage. I jump in the subway. I’m like… [breathlessly] “Oh my God. Thank you. Thank you so much. Oh, my God! You don’t understand what you just did, man. You just saved my… You just saved my wedding. You just saved my marriage. You definitely saved my life.” And this guy, he’s black so he’s, like, too cool for school. And he’s like, “Nah, don’t worry about it.”

[audience laughs]

And I’m like, “No, you don’t understand.” I’m, like, trying to make him understand, like, what just happened. Like, look at this text message. And he starts getting weirded out by me, he’s like… “Fuck this.” And he, like, leaves to the next carriage. And I realize I’m being the creepy person on the train right now. Because I’m sweating, holding my luggage, I’m not wearing pants, I’m going, “Thank you! [yelling] Thank you so much! Thank you! Thank you, everybody! Can someone spare some change, please? Can you please spare some change? Anything helps.” And so instead of trying to thank him in the moment, which is way too creepy a move, I just take a photo of his face when he isn’t looking, all right?

[audience laughs]

So at a later date, when I have enough Instagram followers, I can post this photo and be like, “Does anybody know this guy? ‘Cause he fucking saved my wedding!” Also, sometimes I look at his face when I’m feeling sad. [audience laughs] It was a dream run. Dream run to the airport. Fifty-nine minute dream run, then plus the AirTrain, all that bullshit. And the saving grace was that it was an international flight, but the first leg is domestic. So it’s New York to LA, LA back to Melbourne, Australia. And if it’s a domestic flight, if you get there an hour beforehand, you’re good. So I get there at, like, 4:55 p.m. 6:00 p.m. flight. You get there before 5:00 p.m. you’re good. I get there are 4:55 p.m. I take my luggage. I check that shit in. I’m like, “Did I make it?” They’re like, “You made it. You’re fine.” I’m like, “Oh, my God! Thank you! [laughs] I can’t believe I made it.” I’m in the lounge sipping champagne by 5:15 p.m.

[audience laughs]

I’m like, “I’m a genius.” My wife calls me. She’s still crying. She’s like, “How can you let this happen?” I’m like, “Hey, baby, no, don’t worry. I made it. I checked in. I’m waiting to board. Everything’s gonna be okay.” “But it doesn’t change the fact that you forgot the time and you risked everything–” And I hang up the phone. I throw it against the wall.

[audience laughs]

Because now is not the time for commiseration, okay? We just went through some serious challenges in our relationship. There’s plenty of time at a later date to assign blame to all parties responsible for this fucking fiasco. But for the moment, can we just focus on the present and celebrate successes as they come? Thank you.

[audience laughs]

So I hang up the phone. I throw it against the wall. And at 5:15 p.m., I’m sipping champagne… [sips] [sighs] And at 5:30 p.m., there’s a four-hour flight delay. [audience laughs] So by the time I get to LA, I missed the connection back to Melbourne, Australia, and so I missed the tea ceremony. I missed the most traditional Chinese part of the wedding. All the families were there. They were very upset. My in-laws were upset, my own family was upset, my wife was definitely upset. Our marriage started off on a very rocky term. I’m still making up for it to all parties involved, my in-laws and my own parents. But that’s not the point. The point is…

[audience laughs]

…that the black guy stood in the subway…

[audience laughs]

…he put his foot on the door… [audience applauds] -…and he held the door open… like a real American exercising his right to fuck up the entire train line for one person, but he did for someone else! He did it for someone else! Which is what this beautiful country is about. It’s using the freedoms we have to help other people who don’t have that many freedoms…

[audience cheers and applauds]

…who don’t have what we have here.

You guys have been awesome. Thanks for listening. I’ll see you guys later. Thank you.

[audience cheers and applauds]

Thank you!

[cheering and applause continue]

[“The Evening Primrose (Ye Lai Xiang)” by Li Xianglan plays]

[woman singing in Chinese]

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