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Phil Wang explains to Susie Daniels why it’s hard to be ‘socially rejectable’ nowadays…

He claims he’s entered the comedy forum because he aims to challenge the West’s perception of Chinese people.
But really comedian Phil Wang is just biding his time until he wears 8 out of 10 Cats’ Rachel Riley down by chipping away at her confidence with his intellectual wit. And if all else fails, Wang is a man with a cunning plan to takeover the popular Countdown role all for himself. Mwahahah! Susie Daniels hears all about it…

Most celebs nowadays bring out a range of products from perfume and jeans to t-shirts and cooking utensils. What would the Phil Wang range or product be?
Calculators! Really good scientific calculators. Ergonomically designed – something with a grip like a games console.

Have comedies like the Big Bang Theory helped the geek?
Geeky’s become the mainstream like Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory. It’s hard to be socially rejectable nowadays.

You flirted with 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown’s co-presenter and Oxford maths grad Rachel Riley. Who’s next on the flirt hit list this year?
Fiona Bruce of Antiques Roadshow. I could maybe wow her with an old sock or disused lamp. I think she’d be on Bumble, don’t you?

Was the flirting with Rachel Riley just a ruse to take over her job as a dolly bird presenter given your maths/engineering background?
Yeah, my long-term plan is to slowly chip away at her confidence til she resigns. I’d be the first male dolly c*ck!

Do you prefer your comedy trio radio chat show Daphne or performing as Phil Wang?
Daphne if it fails because I can share the blame and if I do well I’m Phil Wang because I don’t have to share the glory.

Cambridge Footlights is renowned for its graduates enjoying success in the entertainment world. Is this a given?
Once you’re out there in the real world you have to act by real standards but it helps giving you writing practice while you’re at university.

What’s the best thing about studying at university/Cambridge University?
One of the best experiences is because you have wonderful extra curricular activities. I toured America and visited New York and Harvard.
The Balls are quite cool. I went with other comedians and got in for free because I was performing there.
My girlfriend broke up with me just before my finals which wasn’t so good.

Phil Wang 1

Did you ever try to make your engineering faculty friends laugh in the uni theatre?
I got into trouble once when I made a joke during my presentation and the professor said it wasn’t funny.

Malaysian comedian Harith Iskander was voted the funniest person in the world last year. Does that put pressure on you as part Malaysian to make it a double whammy?
(laughs)That thing with Harith being voted funniest person in the world was very cool. Harith was the first comedian I saw live as a child when I was ten years old. He’s the granddaddy of all Malaysian comedians.

Is your quest to educate people through comedy on Malaysian culture?
Not especially. I’m more interested in the general representation of East Asian’s in the UK. I’m not the tourism board for Malaysia.


At what age did you realise you could be a comedian?
When I made silly faces and ran around and made people laugh. I’m not a very funny person. I’m a very smart person. I have my moments at being funny.

What do you see Phil Wang doing in the future – The Phil Wang Show?
I’m doing my first tour just now and will be in Glasgow and Edinburgh in November. I’d like a couple more appearances in shows then if I could have a show like Stephen Colbert that would be great. It’s a very tasteful, intelligent, topical chat show.

You played the Fringe recently, any memorable things happen in Edinburgh for you?
Not so much but outwith the Fringe I once visited my girlfriend who was studying at Edinburgh.
The fire alarm went off in the middle of the night and I ran out bare feet onto icy-cold cobbles.
Everyone else had thought to put their shoes on but I was scared and confused.
I lost the colour and feeling in the bottom half of my feet and felt stupid. That was memorable. She’s now my ex-girlfriend.

Phil Wang will be performing at The Stand in Edinburgh on November 19th and in Glasgow on November 20th.