Phil Wang to publish first book, Sidesplitter

Exclusive   Wednesday 24th February 2021, 7:00am by Jay Richardson

Phil Wang. Copyright: Hodder & Stoughton.

Phil Wang has written his first book, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

In Sidesplitter: How To Be From Two Worlds At Once, the stand-up, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent and raised in Malaysia by an English mother and Chinese-Malaysian father, will explore what it means to be mixed race and belong to two cultures at once.

Blending comic memoir and social observation, the book will be published in hardback, ebook and audiobook formats by Hodder Studio on 16th September - Malaysia Day, which celebrates the country's formation in 1963.

After moving to Bath at 16, Wang became president of the Footlights at Cambridge University. He reflects upon his experiences as a Eurasian man in the book, examining the contrasts between Eastern and Western cultures and delving into Britain and Malaysia's shared history, alighting on topics ranging from food, family, cultural cachet and assimilation, to empire, colonialism and soft power.

He also touches on these themes in They Come Over Here: Asking Famous People Where They're Really From, a companion audiobook he is releasing with Hodder Studio on 24th June, featuring comic monologues and interviews with guests.

Wang said: "I feel delighted to have written a book and honoured and lucky to have it published. I hope people enjoy reading it, and laugh at it, and go 'mmm yes, interesting' at the bits I want them to.

"It's about how to consolidate two home countries into one unified identity, what it's like always having family on the other side of the world no matter where I am, and whether or not it is possible for everyone to feel a strong sense of home. I also wanted to answer the question 'Where are you really from?' by saying 'You'll have to buy my book'."

Hachette imprint Hodder Studio recently published Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith's Inside No 9: The Scripts, Tom Allen's memoir No Shame and last week put out Pippa Evans's self-help book based around improvisation, Improv Your Life. Titles from Ellie Taylor and Sukh Ojla are due out later this year.

Former BBC controller of comedy production and ITV comedy commissioning editor Myfanwy Moore, who acquired the publishing rights to Sidesplitter for Hodder Studio from Wang's management Avalon, added: "Phil is a fantastically bright and inventive comic, and we are thrilled to be working with him on his first book and audio original.

"His is a funny, incisive and honest take on being brought up in two very different cultures, looking at what that means personally for him, whilst also asking wider questions about empire and the idea of home."

Wang has just rescheduled the dates of his UK stand-up tour, Philly Philly Wang Wang, to begin on 2nd September at the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe. He is recording the show for Netflix at the London Palladium on 12th June.


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Phil Wang - Sidesplitter: How To Be From Two Worlds At Once

Phil Wang - Sidesplitter: How To Be From Two Worlds At Once

"But where are you really from?"

Phil Wang has been asked this question so many times he's lost count. So, finally, he decided to write a book about it. About how to be from two places at once.

Phil was born in the UK, in Stoke-on-Trent to an English mother and a Chinese-Malaysian father. Three weeks after his birth, the Wang family returned to his father's hometown in Malaysia, and at age 16, Phil was uprooted once again, to return with his family to the UK.

In Sidesplitter, Phil reflects on race, belonging and cultural cachet, bringing his trademark cynicism and wit to topics that range from food and comedy to empire and colonialism.

First published: Thursday 16th September 2021

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Phil Wang - They Come Over Here

Phil Wang - They Come Over Here

Comedian Phil Wang takes us through a funny and incisive look at race and belonging.

Inspired by his forthcoming book Sidesplitter, Phil and a panel of guests explore the subjects of food, empire, music, nature, assimilation and power, and what they mean in today's multicultural society.

First published: Thursday 22nd July 2021

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