Ronny Chieng is a comedian, correspondent, and actor who has achieved acclaim through his sitcom “Ronny Chieng: International Student” and role as senior correspondent on The Daily Show. Now, the self-proclaimed modern day philosopher is back with a Netflix comedy special “Asian Comedian Destroys America” and looking forward to covering non-political topics on The Daily Show for the year ahead.
On this episode of The Dropcast, Ronny brings his cool substitute teacher vibes, sets a distinction between envy and jealousy among fellow comedians and artists who participate in creative endeavors, and details his release of cool merch that he would want to buy for himself. Hosts Jian DeLeon and Noah Thomas find order in the madness that was the 2010s and ring in the new decade with the help of Ronny in the quick hits.
A defining trend in the fashion industry has been the merging of streetwear with all forms of fashion, most notably the world of luxury — or as Ronny describes it: more expensive versions of comfort (4:48).
The below interview is a transcribed version of ‘The Dropcast’ Episode 93. It has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Jian DeLeon: You know, Ronny you did Cop or Drop with us as well and you were sort of talking about the same thing where it’s like, I’m wearing a hoodie and corduroy pants, but at the same time it’s like… I’m sort of dressed like I would dress if I was sick in a sense that my hoodie happens to be a Supreme hoodie.
Noah Thomas: Exactly.
JD: And it’s just more expensive versions of comfort I guess?
Ronny Chieng: Yeah. I think… streetwear, it got really… I just remember things getting really tight towards the end of the 2010s and then things became real loose. Towards the end of the next decade.
NT: It all comes back.
Comfort is definitely on the mind of NBA players as they dress for fits, but Ronny argues that some athletes actually push the boundary of fashion and nail it (8:01). Meanwhile, Jian’s waiting for the day when a NBA athlete is known more for his fits than his skills on the court.
JD: We have an article about NBA players still dressed like trash.
NT: I mean I personally think that there is no such thing as a fly athlete.
JD: I mean I do, I think there are athletes who are like fly, but I’m like, dude, if I was in my early twenties with millions of dollars, I would just go dumb. You don’t start dressing well until you’re in your thirties anyway.
NT: But then you also have to think that these are athletes and what are they usually wearing? They’re wearing shorts, they’re wearing a tank top, a tee shirt. They don’t really care about it. This is stuff they’re sweating in and this is their life all the time. Especially if you’re a real NBA player.
JD: Man, I’m not going to let you jock shame people who are athletically inclined.
RC: But I assume all these guys just hired stylists.
NT: A lot of them do.
RC: To just go, wear this, wear this, wear this, and they just do it.
NT: But they’re also massive humans and everything looks nuts on them. So we also have to think about that. It’s like, okay, you have huge calf muscles, your thighs are nuts.
RC: You’re seven foot tall.
NT: Yeah you’re 7’12”, you’re just a giant human.
RC: I don’t know. I actually think NBA fashion… look, sometimes they miss. Okay, we’re scrolling through a website right now, there are examples of people missing. Yeah, they’re shooting bricks. Some of these are bricks, but hey, you know what… first of all, just like in any art form, you got to be edgy to make great stuff. So, you push the boundaries a little bit. Hey, sometimes you don’t always get it right but sometimes you nail it.
From basketball to basketball sneakers, the cast moves on to discussing New York City’s Long Island heroin kingpins who pulled $30,000 in weekly profits along with the occasional Air Jordans (12:08). All of this could lead to even more booming business in light of eBay’s new sneaker resell policy, which would potentially shake up the industry with an elimination of fees for North American sneaker sellers (15:43).
NT: This I think is really funny. It’s not funny actually, but it is funny to me. In Long Island there was this heroin kingpin situation going on and yeah dude, apparently this ring was pulling in like…
JD: It’s a drug ring that took Jordans as payments.
NT: Yeah. $30,000 a week in profits and every now and then they would take Jordan’s as money.
JD: Yo man, you want to ride on this horse? I got those Unions. Get me those Unions, you get all the horse you want.
NT: Yeah, it’s like, dang, you don’t have the money for me, but you’ve got these off whites?
JD: But if you think about it, that’s actually the perf way to launder money. I mean the Jordan One Dior’s are going for $20,000. So it’s like, yeah, if you can get a pair of those shoes, all right, work. Here’s that grade A heroin black tar. In any case, there’s plenty of sneakers that have become status symbols in a way. I think that’s a perfect segway into eBay. What they’ve been doing with their resell program because at its peak, I think it was about 30% of the resale market for sneakers and they just changed their sneaker policy for people who want to resale by eliminating fees for North American sellers.
RC: This is them trying to compete with Stock X or is this just…
JD: It’s them realizing that Stock X came in and ate their lunch. The best part about Stock X is it takes out the worst part of selling shit which is…
NT: Having to deal with it.
JD: Which is people!
Sneakers aside, Ronny has a larger vision ahead for electing an Asian American president. With Donald Glover joining the Yang Gang as a creative consultant for collaborative merch, the hosts ask Ronny on Andrew Yang’s viability of earning the Democratic nomination and presidency, as well as the role of Asians as mediators between white and black Americans (18:09). Of course, you can catch more of Ronny’s political discourse on The Daily Show.
JD: All right. Speaking of Adidas though, one of their ambassadors, Donald Glover, is joining the Yang Gang, Democratic candidate. He’s a creative consultant for Andrew Yang. Ronny, you talked about how we needed an Asian president.
RC: Yes, sir.
JD: Is Yang the one?
RC: Yang, right now, he’s the one. Yeah, he’s the only Asian guy running.
JD: But what about like Jet Li, the one, like the chosen one?
RC: Is he the one who’s going to do it? He’s definitely got a puncher’s chance. You know when you’re in the ring and if you can throw a good hook, you can win the boxing match for sure.
NT: Great way to put it.
RC: He’s definitely in the mix. He seems to be the only guy who’s talking about 21st century problems and suggesting 21st century solutions. I think everything I say in my special, obviously a joke, but I think there’s some truth in that as well. He seems to be like the referee between the…
JD: Oh yeah, he’s mediating.
NT: That was, that was really well put when you talk about the mediation. I was like, dude, that’s the realest thing.
JD: I mean that’s true. You know when you said that I felt that, ‘cause that’s 90% of my job. Because we have white employees, we have black employees and I’m literally there in the middle of being like, well no, what you heard was this but what they meant was this. So listen.
The sneaker talk returns as Ronny shares his thoughts on the CLOT x Nike Air Jordan 1 and Jian recounts the frenzy and Wi-Fi hacks in Shanghai over the collab sneakers when they dropped (21:56). Take note, costume crew of Crazy Rich Asians 2.
JD: I’m sure we’re going to see more of this conversation on the daily show now that it’s cracked and I can’t wait to see this whole road to November. All right, so we’re going to hit you with some very specific sneaker collaborations now of course. Have you heard of the brand CLOT?
RC: Yes I have.
JD: Of course. Your character in Crazy Rich Asians, Edison Cheng. CLOT is owned by Edison Chen, a famous actor and a streetwear personality and designer in China.
RC: To be honest, I heard of CLOT, but I didn’t know that it had this much clout that you guys would be talking about it.
JD: CLOT has clout. So we’re showing you two collaborations that came out actually technically last year, but I feel like my big gripe with Crazy Rich Asians, you got to tell Jon Chu this if you’re all so crazy rich, zero Gucci belts, zero like who is the cousin that makes money reselling stuff to mainland Chinese kids? You know, ‘cause I was in Shanghai, I saw the demand for like these CLOT sneakers. It got so crazy that there was like a whole resale thing that was popping off on WeChat where like I guess someone had like a jammer that jammed the WiFi signal. So one could like copy the QR code.
NT: That is the gnarliest thing I’ve ever heard.
RC: That’s very, as you said, this is very 2020.
NT: Like what, you’re blocking people’s WiFi dude. What kind of evil villain are you?
JD: I’m just saying that needs to be some sort of subplot in the Crazy Rich Asians sequel, which is like filming this year. Right?
RC: I’m not trying to be evasive, I actually have no news on when the production of it is. But I do agree that we could definitely take it to the next level in terms of streetwear and crazy richness with the brands and the shoes.
JD: 100%, if you’re looking for like a fuckboy consultant, I’m just going to put my name out there.
In “What’d You Cop?” Ronny talks his own merch and being gifted adidas Ultraboost 19s and 20s (39:03).
JD: You got socks with your face on them, what’s up with that?
RC: So what happened was I wanted to sell some cool merch, but I don’t want to sell anything that I wouldn’t buy myself. So I said okay, what’s the easiest thing to carry around? And socks I think is a great way for people to express themselves. Even in stiff corporate environments, I think socks are like cleavage for men and…
JD: Heavage, if you will. Where can you buy them?
RC: My website, ronnychieng.com.
JD: All right, ronnychieng.com, cop some socks, use the code “dropcast10” for 0% off and free shipping. We want to support independent creators of color. Okay?
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