Lorenzo Pacitti

Five questions for Phil Wang

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Self-proclaimed ‘biggest Wang in comedy’ Phil Wang returns to Edinburgh with his new show, Mellow Yellow. Ahead of his month-long run at the Pleasance Courtyard, he talks to Giggle Beats about the new show, online comedy, the Asian presence in comedy and more.

Hi Phil. Tell us about your new show…

Mellow Yellow is broadly about me setting out my stall and deciding what kind of comedian I should be. Stylistically I’ve gone through various incarnations as a performer, and this year is about me nailing down my onstage identity. But it’s essentially an hour of jokes about Chinese stuff, girls, and pop culture.

Your last show, Anti-Hero, is up on YouTube for people to watch for free; how important do you think YouTube and social media is in discovering new stand-up?

It’s become very important as far as I can see. The Internet is about as close to a meritocracy as you can get, and good stuff tends to rise. It was very freeing to be able to put up a show I’m proud of for anyone to see for zero Pounds Sterling. So far one person has come to one of my live shows because of my YouTube show. I think that proves my point.

As a young comic, how was your first taste of the chaotic Fringe last year?

I had done the Fringe before, but never with a full solo show. It was intimidating, exhilarating, and exhausting. Can’t wait to do it all over again.

There is a definite lack of an Asian presence in the UK comedy scene; do you see this as a challenge or an opportunity?

It’s both of course. Audiences are often a little thrown seeing an East Asian face up there, and it can sometimes be a real task finding common ground. But at the same time I stand out instantly, and am able to talk about topics other comics don’t or can’t. However, there are a few comedians with oriental credentials coming up now though like Evelyn Mok, Rick Keisewetter, and Ken Cheng, so hopefully the dearth won’t last.

What’s next for Phil Wang after the festival?

Some sort of bed/sleeping arrangement I imagine. I’m off to a cottage in the country with some friends to just calm down for once, you know? Maybe I’ll watch The Lego Movie again.

Phil Wang: Mellow Yellow, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 30 July – 24 August, 5.50pm, £10/£9 concessions, pleasance.co.uk