Beginning by proclaiming bitterly that he is the oldest he has ever been, Phil Wang crafts an hour of comedy with a delicate balance of self-deprecation and self-importance. For example, even after lamenting his ageing and failing body, he proudly explains that his British/Chinese-Malaysian heritage leaves him with the identity of the two majority races, a stance we should be envious of.
Wang pretty flawlessly handles a lot of content, ranging from the pitfalls of ageing, troubled relationships, accents, empires, and even The Muppets. He has a gift for seamlessly changing topics which results in a great pace for the show, without feeling clunky or convoluted. He manages to do this in such a way that after a while it’s impossible to remember where he started, which seems unimportant when laughing as much as you do.
A few trends emerge, such as the constant referral to himself in the third person and repetition of certain gags and phrases, each more out of context than the last. These bring a delightful familiarity that makes the audience feel as though they are getting to know the great “Philly Philly Wang Wang” over the course of the show. There is something so ridiculous about hearing a phrase like “I’d love a cork in my balls” ten minutes after the idea was introduced and having to remember why on earth this is being mentioned, but the audience loves the outlandish and unique flair of Old Wang, as he dubs himself.
There is no predictability to Wang’s content, and it is never easy to guess what will be covered next. The comic masterfully makes his way through a mildly unfocused discourse peppered with tangents and sidenotes, never getting lost or losing the attention or appreciation of his audience. His jokes are sometimes loud and punchy, and sometimes take just a second or two for the penny to drop. Whether amusing with his exaggerated tone of voice or pleasing with a clever play on words, Phil Wang’s highly enjoyable performance is well-received. It’s clear to see why audiences love him and his frank opinions on life, morality, and the Catholic church.
Philly Philly Wang Wang is on at Pleasance Courtyard – Cabaret Bar
At 8pm until 25th August
Book tickets here
Image: Matt Stronge