Since the launch of its pilot episode in 2016, the university-student comedy Ronny Chieng: International Student has finally reached our screens as a complete series!
A year on, we take another look at Ronny Chieng: International Student.
Last minute assignments? Crazy dorm parties? Stolen egg tarts?
All just another day as an international student at an Australian University.
Ronnie Chieng: International Student – a new television series partly based upon Malaysian-born Chinese comedian Ronny Chieng’s experience studying law at Melbourne University – is a hilarious new comedy following an international student as he begins his studies in Australia.
The pilot, one of the ABC ‘Comedy Showroom’ shorts chosen to be adapted into a full series, has just launched on ABC TV and ABC iView. The series will make its US TV debut on Comedy Central later this year.
Why watch Ronny Chieng: International Student?
From his first day at uni, Ronny gets caught up in the wacky university student antics of a bunch of friends stumbling their way through exams, assignments, extracurricular activities and friendships. But if great story and characters aren’t reason enough:
It’s bursting with both international – and Australian – styles of humour.
Comedy ensues as Ronny deals with tricky Australian slang (“Like to wrap the ol’ laughing gear ’round a coupla’ frothies?”), sporting culture ( “A-F-what?!” ) and survives group assignments (“Are you kidnapping us right now?!” ).
It’s a great representation of the typical Australian campus atmosphere.
The series itself – shot on-location inside the corridors, food courts and study rooms of the University of Melbourne, where Chieng first studied in Australia – gives viewers a strong sense of the general atmosphere of Australian student life. Much of its backdrop includes actual students rushing by to get to class!
It’s one of the best Australian ‘University Genre’ dramas out there to date – with an added international perspective.
Chieng has stated that he wanted to ‘write what he knew’ – which included the international student experience.
“Isn’t it interesting that in America, the ‘college’ story is like, a genre? The ‘College Genre’. But in Australia, I feel like we’ve never had a university story,” said Chieng, “So that’s what motivated me, to try to tell the ‘university story’ in Australia… obviously, through the eyes of international students – but we can all relate.”
Chieng’s relationship with the city of Melbourne, which he has described as a ‘love affair’, also seems to have made a strong impact.
“The city itself was awesome,” he said, discussing life in Melbourne on ABC TVs Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, “I’ve never stopped loving it. I ended up living there for ten years, and my wife’s from there… Melbourne’s been great to me. And I stayed there – but not for the job.”
Constantly on the move, Chieng also reflected on what ‘home’ means to him.
“I feel just as home [in Singapore]… as I do in Melbourne, as I do in Johor Bahru Malaysia, as I do in New York,” he said, “I can navigate this, no problem.”
Ronny Chieng – International Success
When quizzed about his dreams back in 2010 at the Melbourne RAW Comedy Festival, Chieng joked, “I’d like to one day have my own Wikipedia page. I think, after that, I can stop. All my dreams will be fulfilled.”
Since then, in a true testament to the levels of success international students can achieve after studying abroad, Ronny has toured nationally and internationally at major comedy festivals, is a correspondent on the US Daily Show, has been cast in a major upcoming Warner Bros film, Crazy Rich Asians, and now – of course – has his own Wikipedia page.
Even so, Ronny Chieng – international student – is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.
You can catch episodes of Ronny Chieng: International Student airing weekly Wednesdays 9pm, on ABC TV.
Up for even more laughs? Chieng will be bringing his live comedy show back to Australia in November, performing in NSW, Brisbane, Melbourne and Subiaco, Western Australia. Details here.