Ronny Chieng: Speakeasy (2022) Movie Script

Welcome to the stage,
the one, the only: Ronny Chieng!
Yes! Yes!
We did it. We did it.
We solved racism. Thank you.
Thank you for coming out.
Thank you for coming tonight,
New York City.
Thank you for not dying
during the pandemic.
Thank you for surviving.
We couldn't do comedy without you.
We tried.
There's too many fucking podcasts.
I feel like 2021 was the year
that people who peaked in high school
really found their voice...
...on the Internet.
All these fucking idiots on Facebook
demanding evidence.
You're trying to give them
life-saving information.
Like, "Here's some
life-saving information."
"Where's the evidence for this?
Where's the evidence for this?
Where's the evidence?"
All these fucking D-average students
who lack
basic reading comprehension skills
demanding PhD-level evidence
on virology.
What could you ever show them
that would be enough?
What evidence could you possibly show them
where they'd be like...
"Oh, my God. Thank you so much...
for showing me this evidence.
I wasn't aware
of this scientific theory before,
but now that I've read every page
of this peer-reviewed article,
including the footnotes,
and I spent the weekend cross-referencing
the sources on LexisNexis,
and everything seems to check out,
and I feel like
I'm a better person for it.
So, thank you so much for taking the time
to make me a better person."
These fucking morons.
They're fucking morons. They are.
I appreciate the sentiment
of wanting to understand everything
and having critical-thinking skills.
But the amount of background knowledge
you need to know to get to this point,
it's a little late in the game
to be getting into the "knowing" business.
At this stage of your life, you're more
in the "shut up and listen" business
because there's too much.
There's too much shit you missed out on.
You skipped too many classes, all right?
You're like the guy
who didn't study all semester,
and then you show up for the exam,
and you're like,
"None of this makes sense!
Math isn't real!"
There's too much... It's like trying
to explain quantum physics to a dog.
It's just beyond you at this point.
Just get with the program. All right?
This is the miraculous technological era
that we live in right now.
Okay, within three months
of this shit breaking out in March 2020,
they decoded the genome of the virus.
Yeah, they decoded it.
They were like,
"Yo, everyone, look, we found it.
We found the enemy.
Everybody, look, we got it right here.
Look, it's A-A-A-A, B-B-B-B-B-B,
A-A-A-A, D-D-D-D-D, A-A-A, C-C-C-C-C, T."
Can you imagine showing that
to these idiots on Facebook...
demanding evidence?
Saying, "Where's the evidence?
Where's the evidence?"
Like, "Right here. We got it.
We found the exact sequence
of proteins and amino acids."
"What the fuck is this shit?
Oh, yeah, right. You 'decoded' a genome.
Oh, yeah, you expect us to believe
you 'decoded' a genome,
and that's what it looks like,
these shitty Scrabble letters.
Yeah, I can decode genomes too.
Anyone can decode genomes.
Watch me decode genomes
on my keyboard all day."
All these fucking D-average students
who were in the back of the classroom
their entire academic career.
They were in the back of the class.
Stay the fuck in the back.
Don't come to the front during a pandemic
because you figured out
how to start a podcast.
Stay the fuck in the back with
your D-average mouth where you belong.
You had every opportunity
to prove yourself academically
and you failed or were mediocre at best
at every level.
Why the fuck should we listen to you
about anything?
Let the nerds lead.
Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. That's what the nerds are for.
Everything around you
was built by fucking nerds.
That's their job.
Nerds are here to input as much
raw data into their head as possible,
swirl it around,
and then regurgitate a path forward
of highest probability of success.
All right? And, yeah, some stuff fucks up
because it's a probability thing.
All right?
It's a normal distribution curve.
You're never gonna get
a standard deviation of zero.
That's basic central limit theorem,
Like, I love these guys
who didn't go to school
and they automatically assume
that they're street smart.
It's like, "Yo, it's not automatic.
You could be both dumb and street dumb.
That's also a possibility."
I've been lucky to live
in a couple of countries in my life.
I was born and raised in Malaysia,
I grew up in Singapore,
I lived in Australia for, like, ten years,
and now I live in America.
Feel free to cheer that last one.
Or not, it's fine.
- Yeah! Whoo!
- It's a bit late. You missed it.
But I applaud you for trying.
Um, I'm just saying
I've lived a few places, okay?
Not just for like a weekend getaway.
I've lived in these places
for like a decade or more. Okay?
And I'm telling you guys
from personal experience, all right,
there's racist people everywhere.
Okay? Every country
has its racist, awful people.
I've seen them. They fucking suck.
Also, it's such an obvious point to make.
I thought it goes without saying.
But apparently,
if you don't say it enough in America,
everyone goes crazy with the whataboutism.
You're trying to point out
some fucked-up situations,
like, "Yo, this situation is fucked up."
And some people are like, "You think
that's fucked up? What about these people?
And what about what these jerks are doing?
What about what these assholes are doing?"
And it's like, "Yeah, of course.
Of course, every race
has its racist, awful people."
The problem is we keep comparing
the worst 10% of one race
with the best 10% of another race.
Right? Which is obviously a mistake.
Because what we should be doing
is we should be getting
the worst 10% of every race
and comparing that.
So we can figure out
which is the worst race.
So we can finally answer that question
and solve racism.
Because then there can be consensus.
Right? We can be like,
"Yo, look. This race is the worst."
And that race can take a good look around
and be like, "Yeah, we are the worst.
Goddamn it."
And then there can be healing.
Right? But we gotta be
comparing apples to apples.
We can't be going high-low
with the comparisons.
The p-values are too high.
In fact, you know what?
Fuck it, let's do it right now.
Yeah, let's do it right now.
Let's figure out
which is the worst race right now.
Okay? You guys up for it?
- Yeah!
- All right. Okay. Cool.
On three, I want you to shout out
which race you think is the worst.
All right? Okay? No, no, no.
Don't worry. We'll all do it together.
We'll all do it together.
I'll join in. Of course, I'll join in.
Right? Don't worry, this is a comedy show.
This is a safe space.
We asked you to put your phones away
for this moment right now.
Now is the time to let it out.
This is it. Don't... Don't bottle it up
and go crazy outside.
Just... Let it out now.
Let the demons out now, all right? Okay?
You don't even have to be specific.
Okay? Just shout a color.
Okay? Okay?
Guys, we all know
what the answer is going to be.
Come on.
Who are we fooling here? All right?
Okay, on three, worst race on three.
Okay? One...
This is happening,
whether you join in or not.
You might as well say something,
even if you don't believe it.
Just as a creative exercise.
Just let it out.
- It's like speaking in tongues.
- Just go...
All right? Okay, on three. Okay?
Worst race, on three, all right?
Okay, one. Worst race. Two.
If you said anything,
you're the worst 10% of your race.
That was fucking disgusting.
Bunch of goddamn racists
coming to my show in New York City,
completely missing the point of that joke.
And I'm going to expose you
to the country,
every comedy show I do.
And the problem with that joke is
I can't get in there any quicker
to interrupt you fucking barbarians
before you shout some shit out that's
gonna start a race riot in New York City.
But you know what?
Fuck it. I need the publicity.
I need the press. Do it.
Do it. Start a race riot.
In this room, do it right now
and blame me.
Blame me, tag me.
Tag me in the fight video.
Blame me. Cancel me.
Cancel me.
Tell Twitter I told you to say the N-word.
Do it. Cancel me.
Cancel me.
If you really think
you have the ability to cancel me,
sitting in your underwear at home
on your fucking phone, do it.
Cancel me. Cancel me.
I left three countries
with free health care and no guns.
I moved to America in 2015
already prepared to die.
You think with MAGA idiots, Asian hate,
uncontrolled COVID,
Twitter people scare me?
Do it. Cancel me. Cancel me.
What are you gonna do? Cancel me
so I have to go back to Malaysia
where I'm a national hero?
And the currency advantage
is very much in my favor?
Oh, no! How will I ever survive?
Do it. Do it.
Free me from this hell.
Do it. My mom lives
in Singapore right now.
I haven't seen my mom in two years.
Cancel me so I can see my mom.
I keep getting acting jobs.
Cancel me so I can see my mom.
Everyone thinks that
because I'm on The Daily Show,
I'm here to save the world.
No, I'm not here to save the world, man.
I'm here to talk shit,
make money and bounce! That is it.
That is it. Yes.
Everyone's always asking me
to use my platform.
"Ronny, use your platform.
Okay? You have a platform,
use your platform.
Use your platform, Ronny.
You have a platform. Use it.
Use your platform
to talk about Asian hate. Use it."
This is not the skill set
to talk about Asian hate, all right?
If you can come up with a way to make
hate crimes against Asian people funny,
be my guest, go make a joke about it.
End your special with it.
Make it your closer.
Everyone's always asking me
to use my platform.
"Ronny, use your platform
to spread awareness.
Spread it, spread awareness of vaccines.
Ronny, if you don't use your platform
to spread awareness of vaccines,
do you know anti-vaxxers
might not take the vaccine
and they could die?"
What am I missing?
You're telling me
if I do absolutely nothing,
I can make humanity better
in one to two generations?
I mean, the public-utility-to-effort ratio
on that graph is just out of control.
If you calculate efficiency
on that curve, at this point,
it will be socially irresponsible for me
to tell people about vaccines.
All right? Just mathematically speaking.
Can you imagine? This is the first time
in American history.
It used to be a no-brainer
to come to America.
That's the level of prestige
America held internationally.
It was a dream to come to America.
Whatever region of the world
you were from...
Asian countries, African countries,
white people countries...
whatever your social economic status was.
You could be a rich white Australian.
You hit the jackpot,
and if someone gave you a US green card,
you'd take it in a heartbeat.
Even then, you'd still go.
Why wouldn't you go?
Why wouldn't you go to America?
Why wouldn't you go?
Of course you'd go. Why wouldn't you go?
And for the first time
in American history, the question is:
Why would you go?
Why would you go?
My mom in Singapore,
literally begging me
not to come back to America
at the peak of the pandemic.
She's like,
"Don't go. Ronny, don't go back.
Don't go back to America, please.
What are you going back there for?
Half the country has lost its mind,
the virus is raging out of control,
major metropolitan areas
are literally on fire.
What are you going back there for?
Why? Why?"
And I had to tell my mom,
"Mom, you don't understand.
All right?
You don't see what I see when I'm here,
the highest ideals of this country,
that America, despite all its flaws,
this is still the country
where you can tell dick jokes
for $12 in New York City.
Do you understand?"
This skill set is worthless in Singapore.
In Singapore, I told dick jokes all day.
Nothing ever happened.
Here, we get in Marvel movies.
Did you hear me? I said Marvel movie!
Yes! Yes! Yes!
The chaos is worth it!
Yeah, my mom lives in Singapore right now.
It's very hard to explain
Singapore to Americans.
It's very hard to explain
any other country to Americans.
Because Americans
have no point of reference
for anywhere else on the planet, right?
And fair enough too,
because the only reason we knew
anything about America in Singapore
is because we grew up watching
a lot of American TV shows,
and that's how we formed a rough idea
of the cultural tapestry of the country,
albeit on a very shallow level.
But at least we understood...
Like, watching Seinfeld, we knew,
"Oh, Seinfeld is in New York.
There's Jewish people in New York.
There's stand-up comedy in New York.
What a thing to aspire to.
That's crazy. What is that?
You can just talk into a microphone
and people pay you money?
That's a job in America."
We knew Grey's Anatomy was in Seattle.
Lots of people
fucking in hospitals in Seattle.
Yeah, maybe that's why
American health care is so bad.
'Cause people
won't stop fucking in hospitals.
We knew RoboCop was in Detroit.
There's some problems in Detroit.
But nobody's watching Singapore TV, right?
So no one knows what the fuck is happening
outside of America,
'cause you don't watch
anyone else's shows.
So, whenever I bring up
another country to my American friends,
my American friends will always bring up
the one fact they read one time
on the back of a Snapple cap,
and they'll just throw it back at you
and they try to use it to paint
the entire history of your civilization
with whatever half-remembered,
back-of-the-brain-stem, regurgitated fact.
They can just flick it from this part
to this part as quickly as possible.
Just spit it out.
When I tell my American friends
I grew up in Singapore,
they're always like,
"Singapore? You grew up in Singapore?
They cane people in Singapore, right?
Like, in Singapore,
if you spit gum on the floor,
someone just runs up
immediately behind you
and just canes you in your ass. Right?"
And I'm like...
So, don't fucking do that shit.
What is it,
some kind of innate need of yours
to visit other peoples' countries
and spit gum on the floor?
In which case,
please do not visit Singapore
because they will cane you
on your fucking face."
And some Americans are outraged by that.
The thought of grown men
being caned on the ass
for being a dick,
it's outrageous to them.
But what's funny is, you ask any American,
especially any New Yorker,
what they would do
if a guest came into their home
and spit gum on the floor.
They would be like,
"We would beat the fuck out of them."
I'm like,
"Yeah, that's what we do in Singapore.
We just outsourced the ass-kicking
to the government.
It becomes a more cost-efficient
punishment for everyone involved.
It's why we pay our taxes."
Uh, yeah.
I don't think women get enough credit
for taking the pill.
- Yeah!
- They don't, man.
Thank you, women, for taking the pill.
Even now, half the room is like,
"What the fuck are you talking about?"
Thank you for taking the pill.
No one ever gives you credit for it.
Men barely appreciate the expense,
the fucking military precision it takes
to keep the pill going.
Yeah, sometimes across time zones.
Alarms going off
at random times of the day.
Right? 3:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m.
Wake you up, remind you to eat this thing
within a 30-minute window,
otherwise you might
accidentally create human life.
Like Zeus.
Men have no idea.
Like, by the way, guys,
you don't just walk into the pharmacy
and buy the pill
like you're buying a Tic Tac.
Like, next to the gum
just before you leave.
"You want lemon-flavored?"
Then you're good for one Olympic cycle.
No. Assuming you can get a prescription,
you have to try three different types
over the course of months
to see which one fucks you up the least.
You'll literally performing
clinical trials in yourself,
like you're trying to find
a COVID vaccine.
Your favorite flavor is the one that
causes the least amount of depression.
No, men have no idea.
Even if there was a pill for men,
you'd never trust a man to take the pill.
If some dumbass man was like,
"Yo, don't worry.
I'm on the pill,"
you'd laugh in his face.
You'd be like, "There's no fucking way
you're on the pill.
At the very least, there is no way
you're doing it correctly,
something that complicated.
I don't even trust you
to take a shower every day.
So, put a condom on or put that dick away,
otherwise this isn't happening."
The variables that you have to be aware of
when you're on the pill
just so you don't fuck it up,
like the external factors
you have to keep track of,
like what you're eating,
just so you don't fuck up the pill.
And by the way,
I don't even know enough about this.
Okay, I'm not trying to mansplain this.
I don't know what I'm talking about!
Google it after the show!
All I know is what my wife told me
in passing, all right?
But, apparently...
apparently, if you have diarrhea...
Diarrhea can fuck up the pill.
That's right.
Scares happening in this room right now.
Because diarrhea causes babies.
'Cause, apparently, if you have diarrhea,
like, the... the pill
can pass straight through you
before your body
has time to absorb the hormones.
So, diarrhea can fuck up the pill.
That is the shittiest way to have a baby.
All right? How many...
How many diarrhea babies...
are in this room right now?
We'll never know.
We'll never know.
We'll never know
because you wouldn't know,
first of all,
if diarrhea caused your baby.
Why would you know that?
That's not common knowledge.
In fact, in my experience,
diarrhea stops babies...
...from being made, all right,
so it's counterintuitive.
Second of all,
even if you manage to power through that...
and you knew for a fact that diarrhea
caused your baby, like, directly,
why would you ever
pass that information on?
Why would you tell anybody that?
Much less your own child.
Like, your kid is asking you,
"Hey, Daddy, where do babies come from?"
uh, a man and woman fall in love,
uh, the woman has some bad oysters,
some evil stuff comes out of her butt,
and you're a blessing,
is what I'm trying to say."
Just curious
which way this room leans politically.
You guys left or right in this room?
I got jokes for both sides.
At this point in the Netflix special,
I want there to be two boxes
that drop down.
Like a Choose Your Own Adventure.
And you can pick which side
of the political spectrum you're on.
Right? And then no matter what you pick,
it just goes to the same place.
I think we have the technology
to do that.
Just a useless graphic.
It's a metaphor for the country.
Ah, I know you guys are thinking:
"Ronny, stop with the politics, please.
You keep talking about politics.
It's so stressful.
We didn't come out tonight
and dress up, for once,
to come out and talk about politics.
Just move on.
It's making us very uncomfortable.
Please, if we wanted to hear
about politics, we'd go on Twitter.
This is not the place for it."
I hear you, and I agree.
I'm very pro-Brexit.
Just hear me out here, all right?
I love Brexit
because I hate the United Kingdom
and I hope Brexit destroys that country.
And that's not racist
because the United Kingdom is not a race.
I used to love the UK, man.
I used to love the UK.
UK is "United Kingdom," for Americans.
If you grew up
in a former British colony like I did...
Singapore, Malaysia, Australia...
we put the British on a pedestal.
We thought they were awesome.
I mean, technically,
America is also a former British colony,
but you guys are too cool for school,
so you're not part of the Commonwealth,
I get it. I'm just saying, if you come
from a real British colony like I did,
we thought the British were the shit.
We were like,
"Oh, my God, they're amazing."
Everything they did
was the best way to do that.
Every institution they installed
endures till today.
In Singapore, we still use it
because we thought it was so efficient.
Like in Singapore, we still use
the British system of government:
the Westminster parliamentary system,
probably the best expression
of Western democracy ever invented...
ever implemented...
Okay, it's not perfect,
but at least you have options, right?
You can be gay and like guns.
It's not this binary shit all the time.
Like in Singapore, we still use
the British education system in Singapore.
When you leave high school in Singapore,
you do the exam,
the University of Cambridge O Levels.
We do it in Singapore.
We mail the exam to Cambridge University.
"Cambridge, please tell us. Are we
smart enough to leave high school, please?
We don't give a fuck
what anyone else thinks.
What do you think? British people,
tell us, are we smart enough?"
The University of Cambridge will mark
the exam and they'll mail it back.
They'll be like,
"Yeah, you're smart, you're smart.
You're fucking dumb. Go fuck yourself."
And then we'll be like,
"Thank you. Thank you, British.
Thank you for telling us."
In Singapore, we still use
the British electrical system.
In Singapore, we still use
the British three-pin plug,
that three-pin, solid, chunky plug
with three solid pins sticking out.
You stick it in the wall,
it's never coming out.
Yeah, not that stupid American two-prong.
You stick it in, it falls out
of its own weight like a limp dick, right?
"Thomas Edison."
No, man.
We use that solid British three-pin.
Conquered half the world
with this imperial engineering, right?
You stick in the wall,
it's never coming out.
You trip over it,
your whole wall comes down instead.
In Singapore, we still watch
British comedy culture.
It's the dominant comedy culture
in Singapore. Mr. Bean.
Mr. Fucking Bean
is the biggest comedian in Southeast Asia.
In Southeast Asia, there's no...
In Singapore and Malaysia,
there's no Chappelle,
there's no Chris Rock,
there's no Seinfeld.
It's Mr. Bean.
Mr. Bean
was the greatest comedian of all time,
with his stupid fucking face.
The greatest... The greatest comedian.
Fuck that guy.
Fuck it. Not to mention the fact
that he fucked my friend's girlfriend.
But, yeah, if you wanna hear that story,
just google James Acaster on Vimeo.
He's my friend and a comic,
and he talks about that story very openly.
It's not really my story to tell,
so let me plug his special a little bit
in my special.
But I know what you're thinking.
"What would it be like to fuck Mr. Bean?"
And I can't say for certain,
but I imagine
it would be something like this.
And that's not even the reason
why I hate the UK.
I hate the UK because when I was
three years into stand-up comedy,
I got invited
to the Soho Theatre in London
to do a one-hour comedy show.
It was a big deal at the time.
It's a very prestigious venue.
The Soho Theatre in London
is like the piazza of
the British comedy community.
It's the gatekeeper
of what's cool and what's not cool
in the British comedy establishment.
And getting invited there was cool,
especially coming from Southeast Asia,
where it's like nothing you do in English
in Southeast Asia is worth a damn
unless white people cosign it,
and this was the ultimate cosign.
It was like, "Oh, my God, the English
are asking you to perform comedy
in English to the people
who invented the language?
It's out of control. You got to go.
Go, the motherland is calling you."
I was like, "Fuck yeah.
Of course, I'll go."
I was excited to prove myself
on the international stage,
so I gathered together
all the material I had.
I cobbled it together
into barely, like, an hour worth of stuff,
whatever I'd written to that point.
Um, I put it in a suitcase
and I went to London like Paddington Bear.
And I got there and I got a two-week run
at the Soho Theatre in London.
My first time in London,
first time performing in London.
I remember opening night
of my two-week run.
I was two-thirds into the show,
and the show was going okay.
Uh, the energy
was much like it is right now.
Just fucking,
"Where is this going right here?"
And I did this joke about how...
It's from
my first five minutes of comedy...
It was a joke about how
Asian parents love their kids
more than white people parents.
So the joke was something like:
"People always ask me what my parents
think about me doing stand-up comedy,
but you never ask
these other white comedians that question
because you know their parents
don't give a fuck about them."
So, I did that joke in London,
and some people laughed
and some people didn't laugh,
just like in this room.
But that's what it is, though.
That's the ups and downs of comedy, right?
That's what you do.
You build it up
and then you pull the rug out
by saying something outrageous
just to break the tension.
That's the only way I know how to do it.
That's 101.
So I did that bit. Some people laughed
and some people didn't laugh.
And then we just moved on
to the next bit, right?
But before I could move on,
this old British person
in the second row of the Soho Theatre
stood up and started yelling.
And I don't want to gender this person.
But just imagine an old British person
complaining during a show,
and what gender do you see? Right?
So anyway he stood up...
...and he said,
"Fuck you, my parents loved me!"
And I was like, "What?"
And he goes, "My parents loved me, man.
And we invented universities
and we invented
the Westminster parliamentary system."
And he started going on like
a Western civilization open mic, right?
And I was like,
"Oh. Oh, no, no, no. No, no.
No, sir. That... That joke
wasn't about you at all.
Don't take it personally.
That wasn't about you and your parents.
If anything, it's about me and my parents
and how society views us.
So don't take that personally.
That wasn't about you at all. Please."
And he just wouldn't let it go, saying,
"Fuck you, my parents loved me."
And we argued for two minutes
about whether his parents loved him.
And I knew what that energy was.
I felt that energy growing up.
It's very familiar.
It's the British expat in Asia.
"Don't tell us we suck,
we used to own your region,
live without consequences
because we have exit strategy" energy.
And so I just went, "You know what, man?
Like, we're two-thirds
into my show right now.
We've been arguing about
whether your parents loved you
for two minutes,
which is an eternity in a live show.
I don't think I'm going to convince you
that I'm a good comedian.
Maybe you should just go."
And he said, "I paid 10 to be here.
I'm not fucking going anywhere."
Which is a very unusual stance
to take at a comedy show.
And so I just said,
"Well, okay, I'll pay you 20 to leave."
And so I did.
And he left.
And that's a terrible business model
for comedy, by the way.
That will... That will never happen again.
No refunds ever... ever again.
I don't give a fuck what happens tonight.
Your money is already mine.
Do you understand?
I don't care.
You can storm the stage if you want.
I'll have an early night, all right?
You decide how long you want the show to
go for, 'cause your money is already mine.
And all that actually happened.
He stood up, he yelled at me,
I paid him 20 and then he left.
And that's not even the reason
why I hate the UK.
I have conservative parents.
I was taught if something goes wrong,
blame yourself forever.
And I'm like,
"Yeah, I can get behind that.
I subscribed to that YouTube channel.
Let's do this.
Let's take some personal responsibility.
I gotta get better. I will get better.
I gotta get better jokes.
I gotta get better at dealing with people.
I'll come back.
I'll come back
and I'll win these motherfuckers over.
I'll come back
and I'll be undeniable to the British."
And so, for the next two years,
I worked on my next hour of comedy, right?
I tried to make it
more universal, less parochial,
more whimsical, right?
More of this shit.
With a teddy bear or whatever the fuck
I thought they wanted.
Just pandering the shit out of it.
And two years later,
I got invited back to the Soho Theatre
for another two-week run,
and I was raring to go.
I was like, "Fuck yeah." Excited to go.
I was like Rocky after the montage, right?
"You killed my Black friend.
I'm here to kill you now. Let's do this."
I'm really bad with analogies,
but you know what I'm trying to say.
So I got invited back.
I remember opening night of my second
two-week run at the Soho Theatre.
I was three-quarters into the show
and I did this joke about how...
And keep in mind
what I'm about to tell you
is a joke from a much younger person
and a much more inexperienced comedian.
Okay? So if it helps you process this,
just view what I'm about to say
as being in quotes.
Okay? I am not actually
doing this joke right now.
I am quoting another comedian
who did this joke in London in 2012.
That other comedian
just happens to be me. All right?
Also, I was a lot younger
and more inexperienced
and my crowd was also a lot younger
back then, okay?
It wasn't this divorce,
babysitter crowd, all right?
I don't know what happened.
My audience has aged horribly with me.
I can't explain it either,
but here we are,
so let's just try
to make the most of this.
Um, so view what I'm about to say
through that lens.
Younger comic,
younger audience, all right?
Or come cancel me,
I don't actually care anymore.
So I did this joke about how...
It started with:
When I was in high school,
I was really awkward around girls.
If I had a crush on a girl
and she didn't like me back immediately,
I took that as a sign that
I needed to try harder to win her over,
so I tried to show her my sincerity
by buying her flowers.
I'd buy her chocolates.
I'd give it to her in class.
I'd hand-draw comics where
the ending was we got together, right?
Just horribly embarrassing shit
that I still scream about in bed
17 years later, right?
And, like most guys that age,
I didn't know how to control my emotions
and guys are already
base-level dumb, right?
Then you add hormones on that.
That's just like dumb on dumb.
You start going down that spiral
that most guys go down,
which is, you try to analyze
how to get girls to like you.
You start trying to break it down
like math.
And you're like,
"Okay, you... you gotta be a bad boy.
They don't like nice guys."
Blah, blah, blah.
And it took me so long to realize
the secret about women,
which is that, if you like a girl
and she doesn't like you back,
all you have to remember
is that women don't owe you anything.
That's what it is.
Women don't owe you anything.
- Yeah!
- Yeah, so guys get hung up.
Some guys get hung up and they're like,
"Yeah, but I bought her flowers.
Why didn't she want to fuck me?"
Because they don't owe you anything.
"Yeah, but I spent the weekend
fixing her computer.
Why doesn't she want to suck my dick?"
Because they don't owe you anything.
Get it in your head.
Women don't owe you anything.
It doesn't matter what you do.
That's on you.
Whatever you do, that's on you.
Don't put that on them.
That's your shit, right?
Women aren't just vending machines
you put kindness into until sex falls out.
Okay? They don't owe you anything.
Women aren't just like coffee cards
where you get ten stamps
and then you fuck, all right?
They don't owe you anything.
Get it in your head.
They don't owe you anything.
Anything you do, that's on you.
That's your shit. Figure it out.
And so, if you're a guy
and you like a girl
and she doesn't like you back, okay...
And keep in mind,
I'm still in quotes here.
You take all the energy
that you're wasting externally
on buying flowers and chocolates
and hand-drawing comics...
Okay, you cut that shit out.
And you direct that energy back inwards.
Focus on yourself.
Make yourself a better person every day.
That's your goal.
Make yourself a better person today
than you were yesterday,
even if it's just 0.5%, right?
And the marginal gains
will add up and they'll add up.
And as a man,
your value will increase with age, right?
And as a woman,
their value will decrease with age.
And when that line exceeds that line
and Y equals MX plus C,
you get all that shit back, okay?
You play the long game
and you wait these motherfuckers out.
Because time is on your side.
So anyway, I did that joke,
and, uh, some people laughed
and some people didn't laugh,
just like in this room, right?
But that's what it is, though.
That's the ups and downs of comedy.
I don't know how else to do it.
You build it up
and then you pull the rug out.
I don't know how else to do it.
So I did that bit and, um...
oh, I didn't even get to the punch line.
I got as far as the setup.
So, in my second two-week run
at the Soho Theatre in London,
opening night,
three-quarters into the show,
I get as far as:
"When I was in high school,
I was awkward around girls.
If I had a crush on a girl
and she didn't like me back immediately,
I took that as a sign
I needed to try harder to win her over,
so I'd buy her flowers,
I'd buy her chocolates,
I'd hand-draw comics where we got together
just to show her my sincerity."
And at this point in the setup,
this young British person
sitting in the same place
the old British person was
two years earlier.
This person stood up and started yelling.
And I don't want to gender this person.
But just imagine a young British person
complaining in the middle of a show,
and who do you see in your head?
Right, so anyway, she stood up...
and she said, "I'm sick of men
making excuses for sexual assault.
What you're saying
is perpetuating rape culture.
Hormones are no excuse."
And I was like, "Whoa. Whoa!
Whoa, no, no, no.
This isn't a story about rape.
I promise you, this isn't a rape story.
This is a story about
awkward, unrequited teenage love.
Yeah, and I'm on your side.
I'm on your side, by the way.
I say 50 times,
'Women don't owe you anything.'
I'm on your side. You just gotta let me
turn the corner on this
because this is a comedy show.
You got to let me turn the corner on this
and I've got a Shakespearean quote
about women and vending machines.
You're going to love it. I promise you.
I... I promise you,
you're gonna get behind me on this one.
Just let me turn the corner on this.
And, yeah, okay,
maybe you'll hate the ending.
But that's what it is.
It's the ups and downs of comedy.
Some stuff you don't like,
but you're gonna like the whole package.
I promise you, I'm on your side."
And she just wouldn't let me continue.
She just kept accusing me
of perpetuating rape culture.
So finally I just said,
"Well, you know what?
We're three-quarters
into the show right now.
We've been arguing about rape
for two minutes.
I don't think I'm gonna convince you
that I'm not a piece of shit.
Maybe you should just go."
And she said, "Well, I paid 10 to
be here. I'm not fucking going anywhere."
Because my ticket prices
hadn't increased in two years.
So I just said, "Well, I'll pay you
10 to leave."
And so I did.
And she left.
And that's why women get paid
less than men per hour.
Because they don't know
how to push the advantage
in business negotiations...
is what I would say
if I was a terrible person.
But I'm not,
so obviously, I didn't say that.
That'd be a horrible thing to even think,
much less say out loud.
Who the fuck would do that?
But that's what it is, though.
That's the ups and downs of comedy.
You build it up
and then you fucking pull the rug out.
I don't know why it works. It just does.
I don't know why it's okay.
Maybe it's because we're all sharing
the same space and time together,
the same moment,
so we get what's going on.
Maybe it's not okay.
I don't know.
It's also not my job to teach you
how to fucking do comedy, all right?
If you wanna find out how to do this,
do an open mic
multiple times a night for the next decade
and you come and tell me.
If you think there's no artistry to this,
if you think
it's just about saying offensive shit
or never saying anything offensive ever,
then you fucking go do it.
You do it and you tell me.
And that's not even the reason
why I hate the UK.
I hate the UK just because
of their attitude towards comedy.
It's just so snobbish.
It's so snobbish.
I love doing comedy in America.
It's the best. What a joy.
What a joy to do comedy in America.
- It's the best.
- Yeah!
It's the best.
It is. It makes sense
that comedy was invented here.
Of course you guys invented this.
It's crazy, right?
There's a real spirit
of innovation here, right?
It's the same energy that allows you
to innovate to the point
- where you get the iPhone 13 Max Pro.
- Yeah!
Is the 12 okay? 12 is amazing.
But fuck it, keep going.
Come on. We can put
some more lenses on this thing.
There's still some more surface area.
Come on.
It's the same energy
that allows you to create
a miracle mRNA vaccine in under a year...
...that works, and then refuse to take it.
That is the most American shit ever.
America is like,
"The whole world is in trouble.
Let's use everything we've ever learned,
our entire knowledge base,
every resource at our disposal,
every immigrant who ever got a PhD,
every local-born PhD student,
let's combine forces
and create this miracle mRNA vaccine
in under a year.
We did it, and it fucking works.
And fuck you! We're not gonna take it!
Fuck you! We're not taking that shit.
We're not taking that.
You take it. We're not taking it.
You take it.
Oh, what? Oh, what?
You want it? Oh, you want it?
Well, fuck that.
We're not gonna give it to you.
We'd rather throw it in the river.
We'd rather throw it in the river.
Go suck it up from a river.
Suck it. Suck my dick.
Fuck you and fuck us.
Fuck you and fuck us.
Oh, what? What? Does it work?
Oh, my God, it works like a charm.
There's like a 90% efficacy.
It blows all simulations out of the water,
but fuck that shit.
We're not taking it.
Fuck you and fuck us."
That is the most American shit ever.
I love doing comedy in America.
It's the best. It's the best, man.
It's the best. We all get it.
We all get comedy in America.
We get the rhythm of it, right?
More or less.
We come down to a dark room.
We bring some friends.
We have some drinks.
Have some food, maybe. There's an opening.
Someone comes on.
Opening act comes on, does ten minutes.
Some fucking asshole comes on,
does over an hour.
Right? Some jokes we laugh at,
some jokes we don't laugh at.
Hopefully, overall we had a good time
and then we get the fuck out of here.
That's comedy in America.
It's fun. It's easy. We get it.
Comedy in the UK is very different.
Comedy in the UK is very serious.
It's very serious.
They don't even call it comedy shows.
They call it festival shows.
"What's your festival show?
What's your one-man, one-woman show?
You better make me laugh and then cry
and then laugh and then cry again.
In the UK, we'll come watch you,
and there's no food, no drinks,
no opening act, no friends.
It's just you. For one hour.
You better fucking do this.
You better fucking do this, man.
I paid for parking.
I paid for a babysitter.
I paid for drinks, I paid for dinner,
and I paid for you.
You better fucking do this."
And people come angry to comedy.
They're like, "Fuck you. Make me laugh."
You're like,
"How was your day today, sir?"
"Fuck you was how my day was."
And they come and watch you
and people come and review you.
People get paid
to come and review comedians
and we give comedians stars,
like restaurants.
Like Michelin stars, and we publish it
in the newspaper the next day.
News of the land. Right?
"Ronny Chieng...
Ronny Chieng was a two-star comedian.
Two stars.
Relied too much on his ethnic background.
Despite not doing a single joke
about Asian people. Two stars."
Nish Kumar... Nish Kumar has four stars.
Four stars to Nish Kumar.
Jack Whitehall...
Jack Whitehall, five stars.
Mr. Bean.
Ten stars!
Ten stars for the god of comedy, Mr. Bean,
who ended comedy. That night he ended it.
He ended the game
when he did this bit about this...
He ended it. GOAT. The GOAT.
GOAT being "greatest of all time."
- The GOAT.
- The GOAT did six episodes of...
...30 years ago, the greatest. The greatest.
With his ability
to cross cultures without words
like a modern-day Charlie Chaplin.
He's unparalleled in modern comedy.
All these fucking uneducated
Yelp, Twitter, reviewing bloggers
giving their unsolicited,
unqualified opinion.
The Internet has enabled
this goddamn amateur-hour culture
of fucking dorks to thrive.
People whose asshole opinion
we would never listen to
in any professional setting.
They start a Twitter or Yelp account
and suddenly everybody is scrambling
to bow to their knowledge.
It's gotten to a point
where you can flunk out of med school,
the very next day, review doctors.
Doesn't make any sense.
Everybody reviewing everything,
like they're experts.
People reviewing comedy.
Can you imagine that?
Who the fuck reviews comedy?
Unironically, who reviews comedy?
Who wakes up in the morning and goes,
"Hey, you know what I'm going to do today
with my limited time on this planet?
I'm going to take this thing
that was created with joy,
intended to spread happiness,
and then I'm gonna pick
as many flaws in it as I can.
'Cause I'm a fucking asshole.
That's my opinion."
So everybody mining for outrage
to get angry at,
put it on the Internet
with a sexy headline,
hopefully get some clicks,
make a little bit of money.
Because if you're looking for flaws,
you're going to find flaws.
You know that. If you go into
any situation just looking for mistakes,
guess what, you're going to find
some mistakes, right?
Because nothing is perfect.
Nothing we do as humans is perfect.
I'm sure I haven't been perfect tonight
for every single person.
The wage gap joke
was probably a tactical error.
I misjudged how blue the room was.
But whatever, you can find flaws
in anything if you look hard enough.
You can find flaws in the Mona Lisa.
What does that mean?
Also, what the fuck do you know about it?
Never been on stage in your life,
trying to tell me how to do my job.
That's like me going
to a maternity ward in a hospital
and giving women tips
on how to give birth.
Yeah, what kind of fucking asshole
would go into a maternity ward
and just look for women in labor?
And just go, "Hey, you really should be
pushing harder during childbirth.
You don't look like you're pushing
hard enough during childbirth.
I think you're relying too much
on your ethnic background...
...during childbirth.
Oh, the C-section? Oof.
That's a real lazy form of childbirth.
Two stars."
These fucking reviewing pieces of shit,
trying to fool everyone into thinking
they know what they're talking about
because they know how to use a keyboard.
The amount of energy it takes
to create something
versus the amount of energy
it takes to complain now,
the Internet has totally disrupted
that process, right?
Like, every morning,
people waking up, in this very room.
Putting your necks on the line,
breaking your backs,
trying to make something happen,
whatever your hustle is,
whether you're trying to start a business,
or organize your community
for positive political change.
What a thankless task that is.
Uh, open a restaurant.
The risks involved with that.
Perfect your cooking as a chef.
Train to be a pro athlete.
Make some music.
Graphic design. Mine Bitcoin.
Whatever your hustle is, every morning,
just make a little bit happen.
You've gotta put everything you have,
all your energy,
just to make a little bit happen.
All it takes to criticize now
is this motion. This is all we need.
You don't even need your neck muscles.
Before you're allowed to comment online,
you should be made
to do something with your life.
Go climb Mount Everest or something.
That should be the new captcha.
"Are you human?
Did you climb Mount Everest?
Okay, post a photo.
All right, you're good to go."
Right? 'Cause how can you critique
without creating, is my point.
How could you possibly have
perspective or goodwill
when you enter into conversations, right?
It's so easy to shit on things, man.
It's just so easy.
Shitting on things is easy.
I do it professionally.
Super easy.
It's much harder to build people up, man,
much harder to do stuff,
so we should be doing that
when we see someone else
doing something positive in the community,
something positive for themselves.
We should be encouraging to them more.
More than we're complaining
about other stuff, right?
You can only complain
as much as you help other people out.
Like, I was walking down West 4th Street
in Manhattan in New York City,
minding my own business,
not looking at my phone,
actually paying attention to the world
around me during the pandemic.
Just trying to get some fresh air.
Actually having a nice night.
I was walking down the street
in Manhattan, looking around,
and out of nowhere,
this woman walks right up to me,
grabs me on the throat
and just starts squeezing.
So I throw her off
and then she squares up.
And I look at her and I just walk away.
And that's, like,
a normal interaction in New York.
Neither of us said a word.
The entire time,
we didn't even make a sound.
We didn't review each other,
because we both knew what was going on.
We both knew
what that whole thing was about.
I looked at her and I was like,
"Oh, you're crazy.
Just like everyone on the Internet.
All right. See you later, crazy."
I didn't engage and I walked away.
And then she looked at me
and she was like,
"Oh. This is not a man who's going
to fight a woman on the street.
See you later, man."
And then we just went our separate ways.
And that was the end of it.
And I still respect that woman
more than these fucking
Twitter, Yelp, reviewing bloggers.
Because she was unhappy
about something in her life,
she got off her ass
and did something about it.
She didn't just sit behind her keyboard,
tweeting with her balls,
critiquing other people's creations
without making anything for themselves
like a bunch of parasites eating the host.
No, she didn't like Asian people.
She wanted to commit a hate crime.
And I can respect that.
That's proactive.
You guys have been awesome.
Thanks for listening.
I'll see you guys later.
Thanks, New York City. Thank you.