Tony Hinchcliffe's Stand-up Racism
Kill Tony host spews slurs at fellow comic Peng Dang
By Robert Faires,
5:05PM, Thu. May 13, 2021
As he finished his set at a Big Laugh Comedy show in Austin last week, Dallas stand-up Peng Dang did a series of jokes related to #StopAsianHate." Then he graciously introduced the next comic, Tony Hinchcliffe, who asked the crowd to keep it going for “the filthy little fucking ch**k who was just up here.” No lie – Hinchcliffe’s actual words.
You can hear them yourself on a video that was shared by Dang on social media this week.
To anyone familiar with Hinchcliffe’s shtick – from his long-running podcast Kill Tony, his appearances with pal Joe Rogan, or his work on several Comedy Central Roasts – such an attack comes as no surprise. He’s an insult comic who frequently assaults racial and ethnic groups, LGBTQIA folks, and women under the guise of humor – Hinchcliffe literally makes bank on being offensive. Still, there’s something unsettling about the way he leans into it on the video. He goes far beyond the initial hit on Dang to spend, by the estimation of Dang himself, a full two minutes haranguing against Asians and Asian Americans, including mocking Dang’s set with references to it that Hinchcliffe delivers in a caricaturish Asian accent. He even berates white members of the audience, branding them “race traitors” for laughing at Dang’s jokes and saying their “hooping and hollering” had him “puking in a fucking bucket,” and he does it all without ever showing any sign of irony or humor.
If Hinchcliffe’s “jokes” have you squirming or reaching for a bucket yourself, you’re far from alone. Dang’s posts of the video on Facebook and Twitter have prompted thousands of comments, primarily expressions of shock and outrage at the baldfaced racism on display. Not even the audience at the show was all in with Hinchcliffe during his rant. In an interview with TMZ, Dang indicated that he believes most people in attendance were uncomfortable and not laughing.
The minority that has risen to Hinchcliffe’s defense have turned to the old standby, “It’s comedy,” insisting it’s a form that isn’t bound by rules and propriety. Dang, a comedian himself, has some respect for that argument, and he told TMZ that he could have accepted most of Hinchcliffe’s demeaning commentary as part of his act, but that being called the c-word crossed a line. In his 10 years living in the U.S., throughout his time in Alabama, Georgia, and Texas, he’s never had that slur directed at him.
But that doesn't mean posting the video came easily for Dang. He waited several days before making it public, weighing the possible impact on his career and him personally. Longtime Austin comedian Mac Blake (Funniest Person in Austin, Master Pancake) understands the risks, given Hinchcliffe's loyal fan base. "The other aspect of this is the harassment," he says. "I'm sure Peng can confirm this, but speaking out against someone with a following like Hinchcliffe opens you up to harassment by his fans and his clique. It was no small feat for Peng to post that. It showed a lot of bravery, and my hat is off to him."
It may be worth noting here that Hinchcliffe isn’t an Austin comic. He hasn’t even been in the city for a year. He relocated to Austin from Los Angeles during the pandemic, primarily because Rogan had moved here. And prior to the Big Laugh Comedy show incident, that seemed to be working well for him. He was doing live Kill Tony podcasts at Antone’s. He continued to guest on the Joe Rogan Experience. And he was getting booked for live shows at the clubs hosting comedy, such as Vulcan Gas Company – in fact, he was slated to perform with his buddy Rogan this Wednesday and Thursday at the Creek & the Cave, a well-known New York City comedy club that relocated to Austin this year. But shortly after the video of Hinchcliffe went viral, the club’s calendar listing went from an image of Rogan and Hinchcliffe side by side to a photo of just Rogan. (Though Hinchcliffe's name can still be seen on an event "Luis J. Gomez Presents the Depraved.") The Antone’s calendar shows no more tapings of Kill Tony. Also, according to TMZ, Hinchcliffe has just been dropped by talent agency William Morris Endeavor (WME). So maybe he should rethink whether Austin is the place for him. He should definitely rethink being an entitled white comic hating on Asians, especially at a time when hate crimes and violence against them are on the rise.
At the time of this posting, Hinchcliffe had yet to make any public statement about the incident.