U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)-Chris Cheng is not your average gun guy. For one, he is from the very gun unfriendly city of San Francisco, where he worked for Google. He decided to leave his job at the tech giant to pursue his passion for marksmanship.
Without any formal training, he applied to be on the fourth season of “Top Shot.” The History Channel accepted his application and invited him on the show. Cheng had the odds stacked against him, but that didn’t stop him from taking on the challenge head-on. With only a belief in himself and raw natural skill, Chris took on world-class shooters. Cheng bested them all to win the title of “Top Shot” and took home the $100,000 prize.
Since then, Cheng has been busy in the firearms world. He has written a book on shooting called “Shoot to Win.” He has spoken at rallies around the country about 2A rights and is now returning to TV in hopes of winning it big.
Cheng is a contestant of TBS’ new “Go-Big Show.” He hopes to win over judges such as Rosario Dawson, Cody Rhodes, Jennifer Nettles, and Snoop Dogg. The ever-hilarious Bert Kreischer hosts the show. It highlights acts from shooting to monster trucks. This past Thursday, Cheng advanced to the semi-finals by defeating a pair of motorcycle stunt riding twins.
I had a chance to catch up with Chris and find out more about the show and his involvement.
John: I think the last time I interviewed you was about your appearance on History Channel’s “Top Shot.” Now you are on another TV show that is on TBS called the “Go-Big Show.” Can you tell us about the show?
Chris: Go-Big Show isn’t your average competition series – it showcases an incredibly diverse range of unique, supersized talents on a scale never before seen on television. No one can predict what’s going to come next. The program celebrates daring acts alongside personal, behind-the-scenes stories from the challengers as we battle head-to-head to impress the judges and advance toward the finale’s ultimate $100,000 prize. The show features host comedian Bert Kreischer and an all-star panel of judges, including entertainment icon Snoop Dogg, beloved actress Rosario Dawson, GRAMMY® winner Jennifer Nettles, and legendary wrestler Cody Rhodes. The competition focuses on heartland acts that speak to the core of America – acts with scale, swagger, and attitude.
John: How did you get involved with the “Go-Big Show?”
Chris: The casting team reached out to me in early 2020, and I was initially skeptical about how big the show could go. So, I threw together a list of weapons such as machine guns, grenade launchers, and pyrotechnics, fully expecting them to come back and say “no,” but in fact, they agreed that many of my weapons and ideas were viable. On top of it all, we had to create a custom shooting stage for an indoor stadium in Macon, Georgia. I don’t think a stage like this has ever been built. I’m shooting live ammunition in an indoor facility that is not designed for gunfire. However, safety was a top priority for me and the Go Big Show, and I am incredibly excited that we opened up a new paradigm for future TV shows and firearms.
John: Can you describe your act on the show?
Chris: My act is inspired by the days of Annie Oakley and other professional shooters who traveled the country with their shooting acts. My act is driven by storytelling with the firearms and their history at the center of the narrative. I intersperse my own personal story and opinions into my act to make for a memorable and positive firearms experience.
John: How did you come up with your act?
Chris: I created a customized act for the Go Big Show, which I have never done before. It was exciting to have a blank white space to produce and develop an act concept that would be educational, fun, and engaging. One of my firearm peers, Iraqveteran8888, was a key friend who I brainstormed with. He had an amazing idea of dressing up in period clothing, so my act is focused on the gangster Prohibition era and the guns.
John: Do you think that your appearance on the show might make people realize that the 2A community is large and diverse?
Chris: Highlighting the diversity and big tent nature of the 2A community is a big goal of mine. My act on the Go Big Show touches upon my Asian and LGBT background. It is my hope that my act will dispel the false narrative that the 2A community is a singular stereotype.
John: What do you hope to get out of your appearance on the show?
Chris: I hope my Go Big Show appearance spurs more TV shows featuring firearms. The fact that we shot firearms in an indoor arena is incredibly notable, and we did so in an affordable, scalable way — other TV shows can utilize that safety template.
John: What other act on the show impressed you the most?
Chris: One person whose talent caught my eye is Orissa Kelly. She is an international foot archer and performer. She is also into firearms, and I’d love to collaborate with her down the line.
John: How were the judges?
Chris: Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be on a first-name basis with Snoop and Rosario Dawson. These two judges are people who I respect greatly for their contributions to the arts. It was also really exciting to interact with the other two judges, Jennifer Nettles and Cody Rhodes, who I was unfamiliar with prior to the Go Big Show. All the judges were personable and critically honest of everyone’s performances, and I like how the Go Big Show judges didn’t tear anyone down. There isn’t a “bad guy” judge like you see on some other talent show competitions.
John: Are you still glad you left your day job at Google to become a professional shooter?
Chris: Absolutely! Pivoting out of tech into the firearms industry was one of the best career decisions I’ve made. But it wasn’t without challenges. Many Asian American parents, mine included, tend to direct their kids towards careers in medicine, law, accounting, etc., and no one in my family has ever been in the firearms industry. However, my parents have always supported my entrepreneurial interests, and after their initial concerns about what I was going to do as a pro shooter, they are also really happy with my choice.
John: What is up next for you?
Chris: I am turning my eye toward more TV and possibly movie work and explore the hosting and producing side of the business. There is so much potential and opportunity for more entertainment and educational content featuring firearms, Asians, and LGBT communities. I have some irons in the fire, so we’ll see what happens in 2021 and beyond.
The “Go-Big Show” airs Thursday nights at 9 PM EST/8 PM CST on TBS. Readers can catch up on past episodes on the TBS website.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.