Phil Wang: Mellow Yellow
Weirdo, anti-lad potential undone by an overreliance on race material at Edinburgh Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Phil Wang might be your favourite new Chinese comedian. He might also be the only Chinese comedian you can think of. Which, as the self-titled Mellow Yellow man points out, is fairly surprising, considering there are 1.4 billion Chinese. And a country that invented chopsticks as a way of eating meals must surely have a sense of humour. The 24-year-old gets almost half his material from playing around with Chinese stereotypes – burns, walls, lanterns, restaurants – you can drop the word ‘China’ if you’re Chinese, he explains. When in London, he just goes to ‘town’.
His laidback geekery and quiet confidence carry the set, at times through some fairly ropey puns (‘Wangnam style’?), cringey gags and indulgent rambles, but his calmly dropped observations yield more laughs – the way food is marketed to women for example, young British people’s obsession with owning something that says ‘Keep Calm’, or the current trend for the ‘gritty reboot’ in cinemas.
His weirder moments and anti-laddish tendencies seem to be his strongest cards – they suit him, and are also the parts that set him aside, and promise a bit of a future when he’s eventually run out of Chinese jokes.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 24 Aug, 5.50pm, £8.50–10, (£7–9).