Review By Flora Norton
Having been raised on British comedy, and having an instinctive affinity with cynical, self-deprecating, and dark humour, seeing Brits like Phil Wang on the Melbourne comedy circuit is always exciting. A regular on panel shows in the UK such as Taskmaster and Would I Lie To You, Wang is known for his quick wit and shameless eccentricity and his humour is known to be clever, but also inclusive and warm. His show this year, ‘The Real Hero In All This,’ was exactly what I was hoping for and while the atmosphere at Max Watt’s was relaxed and casual, the laughs came easily and they kept on coming.
Wang’s on-stage character is slightly nervous and acutely self-aware, making him endearing and easy to laugh with, even as he mocks the very things that make us Australian; our colloquialisms, our passion for sport, and our love of deporting people… Wang’s set is personable and relatable as he discusses relationships, food and insecurities with cleverly crafted anecdotes and his unique nerdy charm. He is also more than willing to laugh at himself and while he unapologetically plugs both his Netflix special and his new book, he does so with such a self-deprecating and honest charm that he more than gets away with it.
Wang’s humour is also highly observational, and he plays into his Chinese-Malaysian background, examining the cultural differences between Asia and the West with comical astuteness. He mocks the ridiculous myths and superstitions that exist in Western culture surrounding food and language, questioning why we are afraid of reheating rice, and examining whether the phrase ‘Touch Wood’ is historically responsible for the patriarchy and the plight of feminism. Meanwhile he observes how men in general, tend to be emotionally repressed, regardless of their cultural background in a hilarious dissection of his own family and experience.
Wang’s comedy is comforting and easy to watch, and while he retains a high standard of wit throughout, he also manages to pepper the set with enough crude jokes about his genitalia to keep even the simplest of minds happy. Clever, funny and, bizarrely educational, Phil Wang’s ‘The Real Hero In All This’ is a skilfully crafted, flawlessly executed hour of comedy that is accessible to all, truly enjoyable and well worth the watch.