by Ryan Meehan
Sheng Wang is a Taiwanese Texan who developed and honed his comedy in the thriving standup community of the San Francisco Bay Area. He performs jokes based on personal experiences and observations and addresses common non-sense with honesty and ill logic. His refreshingly affable stage presence combined with a healthy penchant for absurdity and self-deprecation make his act hilarious and universally accessible. He has toured with the Comedians of Comedy and American Eagle’s ‘Campus Comedy Challenge.’ He has also appeared on Comedy Central’s ‘Live at Gotham’ and attended the ‘Just for Laughs’ comedy festival in Montreal. Wang’s half hour Comedy Central special aired in 2011. NBC also awarded him with a holding deal that same year. Wang’s appearance on the John Oliver NY Stand Up Show aired in August of 2012. Sheng Wang pays rent in New York City, and he’s our guest this week in 5 Questions.
FOH: You’ve been doing comedy for quite a while now…How did you get started? Did your first time on stage go well or was it horrifying?
SW: The first time I did stand up was at an amateur talent show in college. It wasn’t good comedy, but the thrill of making a large group of strangers laugh was unlike anything I had ever experienced.
FOH: I see in your bio that NBC gave you something called a “holding deal” in 2011. Could you explain what that means to some of the readers that might not be familiar with that term? What are you expecting out of that deal?
SW: A holding deal is basically a fee that a company pays you to prevent you from working for someone else. At least that’s what I think it is! The company might see something in you as an actor/host/writer that they could possibly use in a current or future production, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be involved in a project. My deal ended at the beginning of this year without any work on an NBC show, but they did put me on tour with some other comics that were also considered for the holding deal.
FOH: What’s the most unusual thing that happened to you while on tour? Do you have any crazy stories that are worth telling?
SW: Sadly, I’m pretty tame on the road. No real crazy stories. I usually try to maintain somewhat of a healthy lifestyle, which can be difficult because of the traveling schedules and constant exposure to Taco Bell. When I’m working like four nights at a comedy club, I’ll try to stock up on fruits and vegetables for snacks and some sandwich materials at my hotel.
FOH: I noticed that you performed with “The Comedians of Comedy” at one point. How did that experience change the way that you viewed the way those types of venues as places to do standup?
SW: That was a great time. I got to work with some of my favorite comics and the crowds were wonderful. I’ve always thought that music venues could be really cool places to do comedy shows because the audiences tend to enjoy slightly more offbeat humor. This tour was just more confirmation of that.
FOH: Out of all of your experiences doing standup, which one stands out in your mind as being the best?
SW: One of my favorite memories was early in my comedy career. Probably 3 or so years in. It was a show that a fellow comedian had produced at a restaurant in Los Altos, south of San Francisco. These types of shows are usually hit or miss, but that night, everything was hitting hard. I had a joke about munchies and overeating, where express what I was feeling by singing a part of an R Kelly song, and the whole crowd just chimed it. It was magical. “My mind is telling me noooo….but my body…my body is tell me YES”
FOH: What’s next for Sheng Wang in the next twelve months? Any big plans?
SW: My next project is a live comedy album. And hopefully telling jokes on some talk shows!
Official Website: http://shengwangtime.com/
Sheng on Twitter: @shengwangtime
Sheng on Facebook: facebook.com/shengwangtime
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