Netflix made Ronny Chieng change the title of his upcoming special because “nobody knows” him, the comedian said in a new interview.
His stand-up tour, which premieres next week, ultimately went with “Asian Comedian Destroys America!” — a fitting choice as he continues to break Asian stereotypes since “The Daily Show” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”
The 34-year-old comedian initially came up with a subtler headline — “Tone Issues” — which was also the name of his actual tour.
Apparently, that didn’t fare well with the streaming platform, which then pressed him to pick up with a much catchier alternative.
“I was going to call it the name of the tour [“Tone Issues”], but Netflix was like, ‘Hey, you need something that people will actually click on, because nobody knows who you are,'” Chieng told Entertainment Weekly.
When he tried to argue with a reference to Chris Rock’s special “Tamborine,” Netflix simply shut him down. “They’re like, ‘You’re not Chris Rock. So figure out your title,'” he said.
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Chieng, who was born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore, thought there was “nothing more American” than deciding on a controversial title to make money.
“So I was like, ‘Okay, if we’re going to make some clickbait title, let’s just go all the way. What’s the most clickbaity, YouTube-style title we can come up with?’ That’s how we do it here [America], as the president has proven,” he told EW.
The final title thus became a satirical take on that idea.
“Being controversial is probably more profitable than not,” Chieng said. “The title is satirical, because the idea that anyone can destroy anything by releasing a video — that kind of evisceration culture — it’s making fun of that.”
At its core, “Asian Comedian Destroys America!” takes advantage of Chieng’s unique international perspective, which emanates from the fact that other than Singapore, he was also raised in Manchester, New Hampshire and Australia.
The special brands Chieng as doing everything from “evaluating the effects of consumerism to theorizing how efficient the U.S. would be with an Asian American president.”
“Asian Comedian Destroys America!” is Chieng’s first comedy special on Netflix, but he is no stranger to small-screen standups, having done them on other networks, The Wrap noted.
Netflix, for its part, now acknowledges Chieng as “standup’s most ruthless comedian.” So much for nobody knowing him!
Chieng is currently selling special edition Red Ronny Socks in time for his standup. A pair costs $12 plus shipping.
“Asian Comedian Destroys America!” premieres Dec. 17 on Netflix.