Melbourne-based comedian Ronny Chieng has landed a career-changing role as one of three new correspondents on US satirical talk show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
The Malaysian-born Chinese funny man has been forced to reschedule and cancel part of his upcoming tour to Australia to commence the coveted role, which was officially announced on Thursday.
“I was literally on tour and I got the call,” Chieng told The New Daily. “I’m going from my stand up straight to the show and I have to move to New York on Tuesday.”
The job is a big deal for a comedian, with former correspondents like John Oliver and Stephen Colbert going on to have their own successful shows and a massive international following.
Chieng, who has worked with incoming host Trevor Noah (Jon Stewart’s replacement) before, scored the gig after submitting an audition tape filmed in his Melbourne home.
“It was a piece I wrote myself. I did it to camera and I was lucky enough to be asked back to do a live audition in New York.
“I thought there was going to be another final interview. Last week I was waiting for details on the final audition when I got the call.”
Chieng said he believes a big part of the reason he got the job was Noah, of whom he speaks highly.
“We knew each others names. I wouldn’t say we hang out. I don’t want to make it sound like we’re best friends but we knew of each other.
“He’s a very talented man. He was given the hosting job for a reason. I think he will bring a younger perspective and dare I say maybe a less American, more global, perspective.”
“I’m sure he had a big part to play in me getting this job.”
Chieng, the first Australian to appear on the show, said he hopes to fly the flag for the Asia-Pacific region.
“I’m from Asia. you can hear it in my voice and you can see it in my face and that’s primarily my perspective,” Chieng said.
“I definitely bring an international perspective. I bring different countries to the table – Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. I’m bringing the Asia Pacific to the show.”
The comedian, who turned 30 on Thursday, said he is trying not to consider the size of the task ahead of him.
“I’m just focussed on doing a good job. That’s all I really can do.”
Chieng’s main concern is apologising to fans who bought tickets to his now-cancelled shows in Perth, Darwin, Geelong, Bendigo, Newcastle and Brisbane.
“I never want to cancel shows. It was tough and I hope they [the fans] can understand why,” Chieng, who is currently on tour in London, said.
“Also, I was looking forward to coming home.”