As an awkward teen, comedian Phil Wang found making people laugh a superpower. He talks about his British Malaysian upbringing, his one-sided ‘beef’ with Tom Hiddleston, and why we need to tackle race in standup

Phil Wang is trying to think of a comedian who isn’t an introvert. When he’s really pondering a subject hard his eyes typically roll upwards, his pupils almost disappearing into his eyelids, like he had written the answer to the riddle on the ceiling above him earlier. Eventually he alights upon one candidate, but doesn’t want to name him in case the comedian would take offence at being called an extrovert.

“Gosh, maybe I can’t think of any,” says the 31-year-old Wang, finally. “Probably I don’t even know what an extrovert is any more. I don’t think extroverts really need comedy, in a way. They don’t need a formalised setup in order to interact with people. That was the main appeal about standup, now I think about it, for me as an awkward teenager: it was a formalised setup for interacting. People had to listen to me. And if they interrupted me, they were being rude. And they should leave.”

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