Family death forces Just For Laughs switch

  • Late replacement: Finnish comedian Ismo Leikola (Photograph provided)

Top comedian Ronny Chieng cancelled his headline performance scheduled for last night at Just For Laughs festival after his father died.

A spokesman for the festival said: “We found out about five days ago that he had a death in the family. It was really last-minute.”

Mr Chieng, who shot to international fame after he appeared in global smash-hit comedy Crazy Rich Asians last year, was replaced by Finnish comedian Ismo Leikola.

The spokesman said: “We were very fortunate that Just for Laughs came up with something very quickly, and Ismo was willing to come down.”

Mr Chieng, a Malaysian-born Australian, played Eddie Cheng in Crazy Rich Asians, the eccentric cousin of super-rich Nick Young, the male lead of the movie, played by Henry Golding.

Crazy Rich Asians is the highest-grossing romantic comedy in America for a decade.

Mr Chieng announced on Twitter on December 29 that he would have to cancel several shows, including some in San Francisco, after the death of his father.

He wrote: “My apologies to everyone who purchased tickets. Thank you for your support and I hope you will come when I do shows in San Francisco later this year.”

Mr Leikola started his career in comedy in 2002 and became one of Finland’s top comics.

He has since appeared at Just for Laughs events in Montreal, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne and is now headlining comedy shows across the United States.

Mr Leikola has also featured on NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly and performed on Conan last year in a segment watched more than 65 million times online.

The festival spokesman said they had not received any complaints about the change in line-up.

He added: “I think that over the past 13 years the show has developed a positive reputation.

“They often don’t come because of a particular comic, but because they know it’s going to be four or five great comedians every year. People expect a great show and I think we deliver.”

Just for Laughs Bermuda veteran, Alonzo Bodden, Mr Leikola, Rachel Feinstein, Nathan Macintosh and island comic Jonathan Young performed at the Earl Cameron Theatre at Hamilton’s City Hall last night.

More shows will take place at the Fairmont Southampton at 9pm tomorrow and 7pm and 10pm on Saturday, with the later show uncensored.

Tickets are $79.95, $89.95 and $99.95 for reserved seating for the Friday and Saturday shows, and are available at