Comedian Peng Dang is speaking out after fellow comic Tony Hinchcliffe referred to him with a racial slur and made offensive jokes about the Asian community during an Austin show last week in which they both performed.
Dang, a Chinese-American comedian, introduced Hinchcliffe, who has written for Comedy Central’s “Roast” series, after his own set during a May 6 comedy show at the Vulcan Gas Company. When Hinchcliffe took the mic, he told the crowd to give it up one more time for Dang using a racial slur and then followed up with offensive stereotypes while feigning an Asian accent.
Hinchcliffe’s remarks came to light Tuesday when Dang shared a clip of the interaction on Twitter. “Last week in Austin, I got to bring up Tony Hinchcliffe. This is what he said. Happy Asian (AAPI) Heritage Month!” he wrote. (May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month).
The video has been viewed more than 1 million times.
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Dang tells USA TODAY he is still “shocked” by Hinchcliffe’s words and sharing the video was “the right thing to do.”
“Tony never came up to me, talked to me or apologized. I don’t think he thinks that was offensive,” Dang says.
USA TODAY has made attempts to reach Hinchcliffe for comment.
According to Dang, much of Hinchcliffe’s set consisted of “Chinese jokes,” causing Dang to walk out of the venue. He later returned to watch the rest of the show.
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Dang used his time on stage to speak out against the rise in anti-Asian hate, he says.
On May 4, authorities arrested a man suspected of stabbing two Asian women without warning in downtown San Francisco. In another incident two days before, two Asian women were attacked in New York City by a stranger who demanded they remove their masks. In March, eight people – most of them women of Asian descent – were killed in three shootings at Atlanta-area spas.
There’s been a rise in anti-Asian attacks: Here’s how to be an ally to the community.
Dang was pleased with his set, he says, but “didn’t even have the time to celebrate or feel good about my performance and (when) I heard that … I just couldn’t believe what I heard.”
He waited a week to post the video after having an internal debate with himself, he explains, because he didn’t want people to think he was seeking attention or looking to “destroy” a fellow comedian’s career. But he eventually felt confident in his decision.
“We always try to overlook racism and try to keep our heads down and be successful thinking eventually this is going to be over,” he says. “But look at what that has gotten us, Asian people are still getting attacked in this country.”
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Dang says he still hasn’t heard anything from Hinchcliffe regarding the clip.
According to Hinchcliffe’s website, the comedian tours internationally with Joe Rogan and made an appearance on the “Joe Rogan Experience” in November. He also hosts his own podcast “Kill Tony” alongside co-host Brian Redban.
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Other comedians and celebrities have responded to the video on social media.
Teen Wolf actress Arden Cho, who has recently shared her own personal experience of anti-Asian hate wrote: “Wtf is this @TonyHinchcliffe?! Ew. How is this happening right now in 2021? I’m sorry @pengdangcomedy that you had to experience that in real life. Wow, just wow….”
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“Like the main problem is obviously the racism but talking about another comic like that is so (expletive) rude + hypocritical,” comedian Kath Barbadoro wrote.
“That was just racism with a microphone and stage and nothing else.” comedian Brooke Van Poppelen wrote. “I’m really sorry.”
“In the coming days people will decry the backlash against Tony Hinchcliffe being cruel to his MC Peng as ‘cancel culture.’ They’ll say nobody can take a joke,” wrote comedian Samantha Ruddy. “There was no joke. No misdirection. No wink. Just anger he has to share the stage with someone who isn’t a white guy.”