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Phil Wang?

Started by Mobbd, November 25, 2021, 10:13:37 AM

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Mobbd

November 25, 2021, 10:13:37 AM Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 11:08:17 AM by Mobbd
Is he any good? I found him very disappointing on this week's RHLSTP. Hadn't seen/heard his stuff before but had been aware of his rising stock.

On the podcast, he made a weird point about Mind Your Language being rejected as racist now but being extremely popular in Malaysia. As if that's okay because forrins are allowed to be racist or something. Didn't follow his logic at all.

He said another couple of boringly racist things (there are two types of Asians, apparently, "the cricket sort and the eats-weird-stuff sort") that didn't seem to have as much self-awareness/irony as one might hope/imagine from a 21st century comedian. It certainly wasn't an illuminating insight from the dual heritage he seems to be trading on.

Later, he said that he's not a Socialist any more because he "grew up a lot in his twenties" and went on to talk about how people "generally" use political identity to look cool. Pretty bleak.

He struck me as a fairly typical small-c-conservative little Englander and I was surprised by that. I can't help think he's getting away with spouting ignorant wishy-washy reactionary claptrap that appeals to other cliche-minded dumbbells precisely because he doesn't look like a little Englander. Could be wrong.

He said he never thought of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when naming his new show "Philly Philly Wang Wang." He didn't seem to be joking. In my experience, comedians need to be able to free associate very quickly, seeing multiple angles/dimensions/implications of a thing immediately let alone within the timeframe of naming a show, and missing this obvious association that people might have is quite fucking useless of him.

He did a nice little analysis of an absurd and ultimately self-defeating Equality and Diversity job application questionnaire. It was more of a pedantic critique of bad questionnaire design than anything about race even though it was framed as such. This bit reminded me of Richard Herring, actually, in a good way. It was a glimmer of something going on behind the eyes. So - anyone here like his stuff?

Hans Resist

Saw him in a 99 Club lineup with 30 punters in a Piccadilly pub a few years ago. Mae Martin, Robert White & Matt Green also on. There was a LOT of "Chinese food - or as we call it - food"/"Chinese New Year - or as we call it..." Felt a bit broad and distant for that size crowd when everyone else was eyeball to eyeball. Perfect Apollo stuff, really.

Pink Gregory

Love it when dull people associate having apathetic politics with 'growing up'.  Standard successful comedian line though.

I remember hearing some of his material on an early Brendon Burns podcast and liking it, but he hasn't really stuck out on any subsequent thing (basically Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown and Do the Right Thing) that I've heard.

I'm sure he deserves his success for entertaining people who like that sort of thing.

Hex Triplet

I only really know him from Taskmaster, which he was pretty good on although overshadowed by the others, and a bit of stand-up I saw on TV which wasn't very good at all. As others have said, relied entirely on his ethnic background, which I suppose is fair enough, got to get your foot in the door some how, but just seems like your typical boring nondescript panelshow/Dave comedian that seems to be the norm these days.

paruses

I am always disappointed with his material. Feels like it should be more rather than the stock self-aware outsider-inside jokes mentioned above. On panel shows or in interviews he just strikes me as someone who can hold their own with a nice supply of retorts.

He was in a trio with George Fouracres who I saw (solo material) at the last Mach comedy festival. Fouracres was very very funny. Slightly bland observational source material elevated massively. Never see anything about him in more mainstream press. A shame, I think.

Autopsy Turvey

November 25, 2021, 11:43:43 AM #5 Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 12:09:53 PM by Autopsy Turvey
Quote from: Mobbd on November 25, 2021, 10:13:37 AMIs he any good?

He seems alright, no more no less.

QuoteOn the podcast, he made a weird point about Mind Your Language being rejected as racist now but being extremely popular in Malaysia. As if that's okay because forrins are allowed to be racist or something. Didn't follow his logic at all.

It is absolutely okay if Mind Your Language is popular in Malaysia. Liking Mind Your Language does not mean that Malaysians, or anyone else, are racist. I think his point might be that hyper-sensitively hyper-racialised white English lefties have, due to ideological tunnel vision, dumbly castigated a cartoonish sitcom as 'xenophobic' when much of the rest of the world loves it, perhaps because they understand that it's a good-natured mickey-take of absurd but universally recognised national stereotypes, rather than NF propaganda.

QuoteHe said another couple of boringly racist things (there are two types of Asians, apparently, "the cricket sort and the eats-weird-stuff sort") that didn't seem to have as much self-awareness/irony as one might hope/imagine from a 21st century comedian. It certainly wasn't an illuminating insight from the dual heritage he seems to be trading on.

Suspect he might have been employing the comic device of flippancy.

QuoteLater, he said that he's not a Socialist any more because he "grew up a lot in his twenties" and went on to talk about how people "generally" use political identity to look cool. Pretty bleak.

Accurately bleak.

QuoteHe struck me as a fairly typical small-c-conservative little Englander and I was surprised by that.

Feasibly due to your own racial prejudices?

QuoteI can't help think he's getting away with spouting ignorant wishy-washy reactionary claptrap that appeals to other cliche-minded dumbbells precisely because he doesn't look like a little Englander. Could be wrong.

You'd need more examples of him "spouting ignorant wishy-washy reactionary claptrap", rather than just unguardedly saying some innocuous things that you disagree with.

QuoteSo - anyone here like his stuff?

It's alright. Could have done without all the contours of his genitals in Taskmaster.

Mobbd

Quote from: Autopsy Turvey on November 25, 2021, 11:43:43 AMFeasibly due to your own racial prejudices?

I know what you're saying and I do check myself, but I clearly didn't say "all English people are racist". I am English myself. I specificaly said small-c-conservative little Englander. Which is a thing. Thanks for keeping me on my toes though.

(If you mean my prejudices involving Chinese people or people of mixed heritage - I suppose I just imagine and know from personal experience that being in some way 'other/outsider' tends to help with interrogating certain standard assumptions/lines/localisms).

Stoneage Dinosaurs

November 25, 2021, 12:43:42 PM #7 Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 12:59:23 PM by Stoneage Dinosaurs
I liked him on Taskmaster but I have a major automatic (possibly unfair) prejudice against anyone who does a stand up special where the title is a pun on their own name. Joe Lycett's done several of these. I saw a Facebook ad for Glenn Moore's new one called "Glenn I'm Sixty Moore", and there are other examples I can't think of now. It just seems to be the laziest, most perfunctory way to pick a title, and robs me of any interest in exploring further.

Quote from: Mobbd on November 25, 2021, 10:13:37 AMHe said he never thought of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when naming his new show "Philly Philly Wang Wang." He didn't seem to be joking.

Fucking hell. Unbelievable, in the "I don't believe you" sense

g0m

certainly his more recent netflix special gave the impression that he's more centrist than before. it also seemed like his jokes were coming from less of an interesting perspective than before slash seemed aimed at a much broader audience, which could be related

Autopsy Turvey

Quote from: Mobbd on November 25, 2021, 12:23:14 PMI know what you're saying and I do check myself, but I clearly didn't say "all English people are racist". I am English myself. I specificaly said small-c-conservative little Englander. Which is a thing. Thanks for keeping me on my toes though.

It certainly is, but I was referring to the potential prejudice informing your surprise that a half-Chinese-Malaysian man living in England might have conservative/reactionary tendencies. There is a stereotype that ethnic minorities in the UK will be left-leaning progressives, when British Asians are among our most socially conservative compatriots (eg https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45133717).

phantom_power

If he didn't have the film in mind then why on earth did he call the show Philly Philly Wang Wang?

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

Quote from: phantom_power on November 25, 2021, 12:58:18 PMIf he didn't have the film in mind then why on earth did he call the show Philly Philly Wang Wang?

Referencing the theme for " The Goodies" ?

Mobbd

Quote from: phantom_power on November 25, 2021, 12:58:18 PMIf he didn't have the film in mind then why on earth did he call the show Philly Philly Wang Wang?

I suppose it might just be to invite a sense of cheerful familiarity. You can imagine a friend being happy to see him and saying "Philly Philly Wang Wang!"

And that's perfectly delightful. I just don't see how a comedian (in the planning stages no less, not even in the heat of the lights) wouldn't think of that other thing people would think of.

BeardFaceMan

Quote from: Stoneage Dinosaurs on November 25, 2021, 12:43:42 PMI liked him on Taskmaster but I have a major automatic (possibly unfair) prejudice against anyone who does a stand up special where the title is a pun on their own name. Joe Lycett's done several of these. I saw a Facebook ad for Glenn Moore's new one called "Glenn I'm Sixty Moore", and there are other examples I can't think of now. It just seems to be the laziest, most perfunctory way to pick a title, and robs me of any interest in exploring further.

The only time this has really worked for me is "Guy Montgomery By Name, Guy Montgomery By Nature".

Mobbd

Quote from: Stoneage Dinosaurs on November 25, 2021, 12:43:42 PMFucking hell. Unbelievable, in the "I don't believe you" sense

Check it out! Herring mentioned the film and Wang said something like "someone else said that to me recently too but it honestly never crossed me mind." I really don't think he was joking.

Stoneage Dinosaurs

^ will do. Soz, by "I don't believe you" I meant i didn't believe Phil, not you Mobbd. That was worded poorly

Ornlu

Quote from: Mobbd on November 25, 2021, 01:08:33 PMYou can imagine a friend being happy to see him and saying "Philly Philly Wang Wang!"

No you can't!

Unless they were referencing CCBB, and that's what you meant.

Small Man Big Horse

Add me to the "Liked him on Taskmaster" list, but I've only seen him do stand up once and that was on a mixed bill back in 2018 where he might have been testing out new material rather than doing polished stuff. I hope that was the case anyhow as he wasn't very good, and a section on dating was really hacky open mic kind of material.

I first saw him a looooong time ago, 2011 I think, so it must have been a pretty early on for him. It was a WIP double bill with Richard Herring and someone I can't remember and Phil Wang was an unannounced addition doing 15 minutes, I didn't think he was particularly good but he was a young guy doing gigs where he could etc etc and then a couple of weeks later I saw him on fucking Rob Brydon's chat show. Never been able to shake that 'agent's pet project' stigma from him since then.

I did like his sketch group Daphne a lot though, but he was by a distance the weakest performer of the three

gilbertharding

Quote from: Hex Triplet on November 25, 2021, 11:24:58 AMI only really know him from Taskmaster, which he was pretty good on although overshadowed by his own bollocks and penis, and a bit of stand-up I saw on TV which wasn't very good at all. As others have said, relied entirely on his ethnic background, which I suppose is fair enough, got to get your foot in the door some how, but just seems like your typical boring nondescript panelshow/Dave comedian that seems to be the norm these days.

FTFY

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

November 25, 2021, 03:21:17 PM #20 Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 04:05:11 PM by Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth
Wang held his own on Taskmaster, against some particularly stiff competition. His recent Netflix special was a limp disappointment though. It wasn't his material, but his rambling delivery. The setup for every joke seemed to involve repeating himself in triplicate, eg. "So I was walking down the street. I was walking down the street. I was walking down the street and..."

tinglingoxbow

Quote from: Autopsy Turvey on November 25, 2021, 12:52:20 PMIt certainly is, but I was referring to the potential prejudice informing your surprise that a half-Chinese-Malaysian man living in England might have conservative/reactionary tendencies. There is a stereotype that ethnic minorities in the UK will be left-leaning progressives, when British Asians are among our most socially conservative compatriots (eg https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45133717).

But Phil said that until recently he was more of a left-winger? I don't think its racial prejudice for Mobbd to get an impression that Wang leaned to the left when, at the gig/time of recording of the show they were watching, Phil's views did lean to the left.

I don't think Wang is any sort of racist. But with those kind of "two types of Asians" jokes, he does run the risk of ending up in a situation like Uncle Roger, where while the performer may understand the irony and the context behind the jokes they are doing, they can unwittingly build an audience that are, um, only seeing the joke on one level.

Mobbd

Quote from: tinglingoxbow on November 25, 2021, 03:23:23 PMBut Phil said that until recently he was more of a left-winger? I don't think its racial prejudice for Mobbd to get an impression that Wang leaned to the left when, at the gig/time of recording of the show they were watching, Phil's views did lean to the left.

I don't think Wang is any sort of racist. But with those kind of "two types of Asians" jokes, he does run the risk of ending up in a situation like Uncle Roger, where while the performer may understand the irony and the context behind the jokes they are doing, they can unwittingly build an audience that are, um, only seeing the joke on one level.

Thanks Matey.

I don't really think Wang is a racist. But jokes like that one are racist. Jim Davidson would tell them, no sweat. It's a low-level racism perhaps but racist nonetheless. Small-c conservative I said.

The "two types of Asian" joke is remarkably similar to one on Family Guy about two types of "Indian"; I don't like Family Guy very much and I didn't like that joke but Family Guy at least made it clear that the joke was about racism and the sort of idea the Lois Griffins of the world might be carrying around in their heads. And it was years ago. Wang didn't have that kind of complexity around his joke. It was very Route 1.

The disappointment I felt when I heard Wang say those things were probably because of his reputation as a left-leaning comic, the way his stock in trade seems designed to appeal to a crowd broadly supportive of a multiculture, and just the fact that he's a young comedian in the 21st century. I don't like to think that the kids coming up could be so mediocre and also do racist jokes in this mundane, casual way. Maybe this was a prejudice on my part? Or optimism?

Autopsy might have been half right. I wasn't exactly going around thinking "Chinese Brits are surely a progressive lot" but I suppose I did think Wang's dual heritage and the kind of bullshit he presumably tolerates because of it might give him pause for thought about racial sensitivities.

"Two types of Asians." Fucking hell! Haha. I posted to CaB to air this grievance a little bit but also to check if I was wrong and he was having a bad night or whatever.

Autopsy Turvey

Quote from: Mobbd on November 25, 2021, 04:19:46 PMI don't really think Wang is a racist. But jokes like that one are racist.

He's being flippant about the race taboo perhaps, but it isn't informed by prejudice, discrimination or malice; after all it's easy to ascertain what he means by "the cricket sort": the nations represented on the Asian Cricket Council (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, UAE). It's surely just a breezy way of drawing a single flippant distinction between East/Southeast Asia and South/Southwest Asia. The joke doesn't really work if you're a racist, as from a racist perspective, they're all the "eats-weird-stuff sort".

Canadian-Indian comic Russell Peters (who Phil has admitted ripping off in the past in this interview) has a routine called 'Two Types of Asians', where he attempts to make a similarly flippant broad-brush distinction - "We'll take eyes, you guys can have noses and hair":

Again, it will no doubt make white lefties feel uncomfortable, but aren't both routines more flippancy about race rather than racist as such? Or is there no difference these days, even when the jokes are told by someone from the ethnic group that they're gently making fun of?

QuoteThe disappointment I felt when I heard Wang say those things were probably because of his reputation as a left-leaning comic, the way his stock in trade seems designed to appeal to a crowd broadly supportive of a multiculture, and just the fact that he's a young comedian in the 21st century.

I get this, but it does sound a bit like you're disappointed that he surprised you, that you wish he'd stayed in his lane, within the confines that you'd imagined for him. Or just you're disappointed that he isn't a better comedian, which is fair enough.

QuoteAutopsy might have been half right.

This is easily the best way to put me on the backfoot!

QuoteI wasn't exactly going around thinking "Chinese Brits are surely a progressive lot" but I suppose I did think Wang's dual heritage and the kind of bullshit he presumably tolerates because of it might give him pause for thought about racial sensitivities.

It may be that his own experience is of moving in metropolitan arts circles full of well-meaning but rather patronising and sanctimonious antiracist multiculturalists, and he's trying to push back a bit against that sort of PC straitjacket. Obviously, Jim Davidson also tries to push back against a PC straitjacket, but Phil's attempts are clearly coming from a different place.

j_u_d_a_s

A pile of bland beige nothingness. A polite breeze that passes by, affecting nothing and no one in particular. The funny one at the boat club. Jimmy Carr with the edges sanded off. A stand up whose grandfather managed a tea estate in Assam. A walking two and a half star review. Oxbridge privilege made manifest.

Not a fan.

The Mollusk

Quote from: Mobbd on November 25, 2021, 10:13:37 AMHe said he never thought of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when naming his new show "Philly Philly Wang Wang." He didn't seem to be joking.

Cannot get my head around this


nw83

Quote from: Stone Cold Steve Austin on November 25, 2021, 03:05:56 PMIthen a couple of weeks later I saw him on fucking Rob Brydon's chat show. Never been able to shake that 'agent's pet project' stigma from him since then.

Spot on.

I had to turn off his Netflix special after 15 minutes. Thought it was terrible. I was surprised he was once thought to have had (or really had, briefly) left-wing politics. He was brought up in a socially conservative country, and attended international schools, boarding school, and Cambridge. He's posher than Jack Whitehall.
 
Always thought My Beautiful Laundrette portrayed well the idea that many Asian immigrants (or children of) have values more in common with typical Conservatives.

Mobbd

November 26, 2021, 03:54:29 PM #28 Last Edit: November 26, 2021, 04:14:10 PM by Mobbd
Quote from: Autopsy Turvey on November 25, 2021, 05:27:49 PMHe's being flippant about the race taboo perhaps, but it isn't informed by prejudice, discrimination or malice; ... it will no doubt make white lefties feel uncomfortable, but aren't both routines more flippancy about race rather than racist as such? Or is there no difference these days, even when the jokes are told by someone from the ethnic group that they're gently making fun of?

This is a thoughtful response and I'm thankful that you're not savaging my snowflakey ways. ;) I'd like to meet you halfway because I remember enjoying the "being flippant about the race taboo" comedy in the '90s (Sarah Silverman, Lee & Herring, Larry David, many others, most of whom I still love) but this isn't quite convincing. Being flippant about the race taboo happened back in the day because there was an idea among white Liberals that the race argument was won, that being racist was absurd because "why would anyone think such pointless, incongruous, old-fashioned thoughts?" and therefore "we all know that racists are dick-heads and I am being a dick-head right now for your entertainment." But that turned out to be very, very wrong and the general idea in Liberal comedy now is to not fuck around with that.

As to the joke not being from a perspective of malice or prejudice, that's kinda true except it is still grounded in malice and prejudice. Wang might not be the originator of those views in this example but he is a carrier of them.

Quote from: Autopsy Turvey on November 25, 2021, 05:27:49 PMafter all it's easy to ascertain what he means by "the cricket sort": the nations represented on the Asian Cricket Council (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, UAE). It's surely just a breezy way of drawing a single flippant distinction between East/Southeast Asia and South/Southwest Asia. The joke doesn't really work if you're a racist, as from a racist perspective, they're all the "eats-weird-stuff sort".

It is easy for me to see that because I grew up in a working-class conservative house in the Midlands of the 1980s. It was common to say things like that, initially because we were essentially a house of Bernard Mannings and later because we had grown and "merely" become "hipster racists" like those well-meaning but mistaken '90s comedians. It was horrible and shit and many of us are trying to do better now.

Quote from: Autopsy Turvey on November 25, 2021, 05:27:49 PMI get this, but it does sound a bit like you're disappointed that he surprised you, that you wish he'd stayed in his lane, within the confines that you'd imagined for him. Or just you're disappointed that he isn't a better comedian, which is fair enough.

You are right that I'm dissappointed that he surprised me. I thought that because he was young and of dual heritage (the latter is relevant because it's how he sells his act) he would be a bit more Liberal-minded and a bit less like this. It's not about staying in lane, a metaphor more normally reserved to speed/ability. The race stuff we're talking about is not about ability, merely outlook and acceptable social behaviour.

I am also a bit disappointed (again, by surprise) that he isn't a better comedian; I thought he had perhaps one foot in the interesting alternative comedy world despite being on mainstream shows (someone like Isy Suttie or Paul Sinha perhaps), but that's on me for getting the wrong end of the stick.

Quote from: Autopsy Turvey on November 25, 2021, 05:27:49 PMIt may be that his own experience is of moving in metropolitan arts circles full of well-meaning but rather patronising and sanctimonious antiracist multiculturalists, and he's trying to push back a bit against that sort of PC straitjacket. Obviously, Jim Davidson also tries to push back against a PC straitjacket, but Phil's attempts are clearly coming from a different place.

That could be true! But just as Wang's read that Socialists are immature/unrealistic, I'd say that antiracist multiculturalists aren't trying to be patronising or sanctimonious. I suppose some of them might be but it's probably better to give them/us the benefit of the doubt. Some of us really do believe (often through experience) that life is better in a multiculture, just as some of us believe (with good, evidence-based reason) in "Socialist" measures like funding the NHS properly and cracking down on big tax evaders for the common good. It's really not about trying to look cool for a lot of people. I used to be an ANARCHIST! I assure you there was no element of trying to look cool on that front; I was embarrassed to be so divergent and to have to defend my seemingly ridiculous perspective in real time so often. But many an Anarchist eventually invents the State, transforming into a Socialist, a process that involves a lot of spoddish reading and thinking about things like urban planning and civil engineering and Keynesian economics and, as such, not looking cool at all.

Johnny Foreigner

Is absolutely nobody going to write 'Phil Wank'?