Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Review: Phil Wang – Philly Philly Wang Wang at Pleasance Courtyard

Review: Phil Wang – Philly Philly Wang Wang at Pleasance Courtyard
3★★★

No wonder Phil Wang strolls on stage looking like the cat who got the comedy cream. The star of Taskmaster and panel show and Radio 4 regular sold out his entire Fringe run before it even began. He tells us that he identifies as ‘white Chinese’ which, by his own reckoning, makes him a fully-paid up member of the most powerful race on earth. His tongue is very firmly in his cheek and it’s definitely staying there.

Phil’s surname is indisputably a gift from the comedy gods and boy, does he plan to milk it, baby! Constantly referring to himself in the third person, the set contains more Wang jokes than you could shake a double-entendre at. The hour’s a delightful combo of super-smart and super-silly. Recently single and ready to mingle, his description of the Muppets to a date who’d never heard of them is both accurate and ridiculously funny.

There are impressions too – who knew? His baby giraffe on a pub crawl is more than passable but his sperm has to be seen to be believed. (This double-entendre thing is catching). With a strange mid-Atlantic drawl and the tendency to call women ‘gals’, Wang sounds like he should have a sweater lightly draped over his shoulders and be starring alongside Katherine Hepburn in a romantic comedy.

Overall, the set is a bit patchy, however. He’s undoubtedly at his best when he keeps things short and sweet and deadpans his way through some rapid one-liners and wry, sideways observations. His take on Pilates and the disadvantages of having black eyes are particularly funny. His longer, more serious sections on contraception and gender work less well. He may well be taking over the world – just not quite yet.

Phil Wang : Philly Philly Wang Wang – Pleasance Courtyard,  31 Jul – 25 Aug, 8pm