Ronny Chieng on stage at Laugh It Up at Lehigh University Zoellner's Baker Hall on Thursday, Mar. 28, 2024. Chieng is an acclaimed comedian and actor. (Junqi Cui/B&W Staff)

Comedian Ronny Chieng fills Baker Hall with laughter


By 6:20 p.m. on March 28, a stream of students had wrapped around Zoellner Arts Center eagerly waiting to be let inside. 

The doors opened at 7 p.m., and not long after, Baker Hall was flooded with laughter. 

The sold-out show was part of comedian Ronny Chieng’s “The Love to Hate It” tour. The event was organized by University Productions and only open to Lehigh students. 

This event was University Productions’ second annual “Laugh it UP” comedy show, with last year’s event featuring comedian Preacher Lawson.

The planning of this year’s Laugh It UP started in August 2023, University Productions member Emily Randolph, ’24, said. Chieng has always been on the comedy committee’s radar, and the event was officially announced on March 1 this year.

The event was promoted on posters hung all over campus and through emails informing students of the event. 

“I heard about the event through a friend who saw it on an email and because of the various posters put around campus,” Varsha Borkar, ‘27, said. 

The show opened with Tyler Rothrock, a local comedian from Nazareth. Rothrock energized the audience with a 15-minute set and got the students ready for Chieng. 

Tyler Rothrock performs a stand-up routine at Laugh It UP on March 28 at Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall. Rothrock was the opening act of night and is originally from Nazareth, Pennsylvania. (Junqi Cui/B&W Staff)

Around 7:20 p.m., Chieng was welcomed on stage with a large wave of clapping and cheering. 

Many students were familiar with Chieng prior to the show, with many knowing him from his work on “The Daily Show,” his Netflix specials — “Asian Comedy Destroys America” and “Speakeasy” — and movies such as “Shang Chi” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” 

“I recognized him from the famous Marvel movie, ‘Shang Shi,’ and knew he was part of ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’” Kasey Vengas, ‘27, said. 

The standup included a range of jokes from fertility and MAGA to self-help in men. Much of Chieng’s set focused on bridging the gap between the young audience and himself.

During the last 15 minutes of the show, Chieng made room for a Q&A to answer students’ questions. Chieng picked random students from the audience, at times jokingly picking students according to race. 

The questions from students ranged from “What is your funniest memory with Trevor Noah?” to “What has your experience been like as an Asian in the comedy industry?” 

When a student asked Chieng what his favorite venue he has ever performed at was, he jokingly replied “Lehigh.” 

For many in the audience, this was their first time attending a University Productions event, and they were introduced to the organization as a source of entertainment that can enhance their Lehigh experience.

“I think it’s fun to have events like this around campus, as it helps students want to be an active part of the community and go to events that support our school,” Carolina Berríos, ‘27, said.  “I’ve definitely enjoyed these events and will definitely be coming back for more.” 

University Productions is Lehigh’s largest student-run programming board. The board has five different committees, ranging from marketing to music to comedy. The board frequently collaborates with other organizations on campus, including Lehigh After Dark and the Asian Cultural Society. 

University Productions’ next upcoming event is their spring concert, which will feature musical artist Waka Flocka Flame on April 12 at ArtsQuest in Bethlehem. 

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