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Joy

Ronny Chieng’s joke about Asian identity inspired a compelling debate about labels

"The Daily Show" correspondent's comments were about Rishi Sunak's appointment as U.K. prime minister.

ronny chieng, rishi sunak, asia

Ronny Chieng on "The Daily Show."

Rishi Sunak made history on Tuesday, October 25 by becoming the first Asian and Hindu prime minister in the history of the United Kingdom. His appointment is seen by many in the U.K. as an important step toward representation in a country that is 7.5% Asian.

Sunak’s grandparents migrated to the U.K. in the 1960s from India and his maternal grandmother was born in Africa.

However, this issue is a little more complicated from an American perspective where people of Indian descent are rarely referred to as Asian. We reserve the label for people of the Far East such as Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea.

To complicate things further, if you go by what the U.S. government has to say, Asian refers to people “having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.”


Things get a little vaguer when you consider the different ways people divide one another by race and ethnicity throughout the world. For example, even the term “American” is up for debate worldwide. We consider ourselves American in the United States, but in Latin America, an American is someone from Latin America.

Comedian Ronny Chieng had some fun with the nuanced topic of racial classifications on “The Daily Show” in a bit called “Don’t call Rishi Sunak the U.K.’s first Asian PM in front of Ronny Chieng.” Chieng was born in Malaysia.

In the bit, he made fun of how the term Asian means something different throughout the world. “Indians are not Asians. I love how Indians try to have it both ways, like being Indian and Asian. Pick a lane, OK,” Chieng joked.

The bit was funny because Chieng’s mock rage pokes fun at how we can be adamant about our identities even though, in many ways, they’re rather arbitrary. It’s all just lines on a map. Further, the concept of Asia wasn’t even created by Asians themselves, it was foisted on them by the Greeks.

Some folks thought Chieng’s jokes were spot-on.

But not everyone agreed on whether the joke was accurate or funny and the piece received a lot of serious responses. Such is the way of Twitter, if you make a joke, you get serious responses. If you say something serious, you get jokes.

Also, it was a joke, meaning, he wasn't being serious.

In the end, what’s important is that the U.K. government and its people have progressed to the point where it has appointed the first person of color to represent their entire country. That’s a big step toward the ultimate goal of living in a world where people are judged by their abilities rather than the color of their skin.

This point got a bit lost in the discussion surrounding Chieng’s joke, where he made fun of the fact that people are so keen to define one another by race, they lose sight of what matters.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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Pop Culture

The far-right is calling this viral Grammy performance 'Satanic.' Don't fall for it.

Sam Smith and Kim Petras' performance of "Unholy" left some calling it a satanic ritual.

K.G/Youtube

Sam Smith and Kim Petras performing "Unholy" at the Grammy Awards.

Depending on which corners of social media you call home, few happenings from the 2023 Grammy awards were as divisive as Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ performance of the song “Unholy.” Was it a historic moment of inclusion or a historic display of a Satanic ritual broadcast to the world?

On the one hand, the pair made music history. After winning the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Smith became the first non-binary artist to win the category, along with Petra who became the first trans woman to win the category.

However, not everyone was a fan of their live hell-themed performance, featuring Smith clad in red leather and sporting a top hat with devil horns and Petras dancing in a cage surrounded by dominatrixes.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz took to Twitter to call the act “evil,” and his fury was quickly echoed by other conservative influencers who declared it an example of mainstream devil worship.

“Don’t fight the culture wars, they say. Meanwhile demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan. I could throw up.” wrote conservative political commentator Liz Wheeler.

However, it doesn’t take a lot of research to find out what the artist’s original intentions were behind the song.

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Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

Pedro Pascal and HBO seem to be a match made in pop culture heaven. His role in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” shot him to notoriety. He’s currently starring in “Last of Us,” which also boasts a massive viewership.

And now, thanks to one epic “Saturday Night Live” skit, fans are clamoring to see Pascal take on a new role—a brooding, hardened, princess smuggling Mario.

The faux trailer imagines the video game Mario Kart as a quintessential HBO drama. Mario (Pascal) has to use his driving skills to get Princess Peach (played by Chloe Fineman) through an apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom.
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Celebrity

Philadelphia Eagles player is bringing his pregnant wife’s OBGYN to the Super Bowl, just in case

Kylie McDevitt's OBGYN is packing a bag to join the NFL star's wife, just in case baby Kelce decides to see the game too.

Philadelphia Eagles player is bringing his pregnant wife's OBGYN to the Super Bowl

Having a baby is an intimate, vulnerable experience, so people get pretty attached to their healthcare providers. I've met women who have planned an induction to have their baby with their preferred doctor and not whoever would be on call if they went into labor naturally. So it may not be a surprise to birthing people that Kylie McDevitt, Philadelphia Eagles player, Jason Kelce's wife, isn't taking any chances when she travels to Arizona for the Super Bowl.

Kelce made headlines with his brother Travis recently when it was revealed that the Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs would be facing off for the Super Bowl, making the pair the first brothers to compete against each other for a ring. It seems that McDevitt didn't want to miss the history-making moment, even though she'll be two weeks shy of the standard 40 weeks of pregnancy.

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Photo by alevision.co on Unsplash/ @camerconstewart_uk/Instagram

"Sometimes it pays to learn a language!"

It feels safe to assume that if money were no object, people would always choose to travel business class over economy. After all, who doesn’t want a fast check-in, fancy food and drink choices and more of that sweet, spacious legroom?

However, at anywhere between four to ten times the price of a regular economy ticket, this style of traveling remains a fantasy for many who simply can’t afford it.

Luckily, thanks to one man’s clever travel hack, that fantasy might be more achievable than we realize.

Cameron Stewart, a British photojournalist and camera operator, recently shared how he was able to score business class tickets at a fraction of the price, simply by switching the website language from English to Spanish.
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