Sighs for Sheng Wang: comedian stirs emotions

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm

page4comedianOn January 30, Arcadia students turned out to laugh – and sigh – at Sheng Wang, the Student Programming Board’s first comedian of the semester.  A Taiwanese Texan who currently calls the San Francisco Bay area home, Sheng Wang is known for performing on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and touring with the renowned Comedians of Comedy.

Onstage in The Chat, Wang established rapport with his audience by chatting casually with them about Arcadia’s heritage and social scene.  He served up an entertaining round of his particular brand of humor, reflecting on the amusing side of ordinary life experiences.  Although there were some of the usual mind-numbing potty jokes (after all, is anything funnier than the porcelain “skating rink”?), anecdotes of Wang’s battles with dental floss and the “friendly fire” of pigeons kept students snickering.

Laughter was not the only response Wang evoked.  English major Abby Grosslein captured his poignant undertones when she stated, “He was really funny, down-to-earth, and relatable; but he was kind of sad, too.”  Perhaps it was the “expired hope” of his love life or the notion that his receding hairline would one day leave him with “a whole head of face,” but Wang evoked as many “awww” moments as laughs from the crowd.  While self-deprecation is the norm in Wang’s performances, the melancholy strain seemed to be more than a joking matter.

Offstage, Wang shared his perspective.  “Traveling is rough.  I’ve been doing this for six years and I’ve done the most traveling this year.  I’m home for one week out of the month and I don’t get to see my friends for weeks at a time.”  When asked how he enjoys performing at colleges, he stated, “It was kind of another reality check.  I thought they would be the best thing ever – smart and sober and kind of progressive.  I thought they would relate well, but as I’ve grown older, my humor has developed differently.”

Arcadia’s enthusiastic response seemed to bolster his spirits. “It was a really fun show.”
Reflecting on the positive aspects of his career, Wang stated that his inspiration comes from performers such as Mitch Hedberg.  “He was the first comedian who let me see I could be myself and do my own kind of comedy.  His comedy was silly and personable and relatable,” said Wang.

He also did not always know he would be a comedian.  After graduating college with a business degree, he felt that the corporate world was not for him.  He considered pursuing photography or poetry, but decided he liked the instant feedback he received from comedy.  He appreciates the opportunity his career has given him to work with both veteran comedians on tour and with his friends in local comedy clubs.

According to Heather Sterner, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Campus Programming, Wang’s performance was a good start to the spring line-up of comedians, with a  record number of 125 students attending.  Jeff Whyte-Capone, Comedy Chair for the Student Programming Board, urged students to watch for upcoming events, including an appearance by Jason Stuart of Will and Grace fame on February 5 and student performances during the Knight of Comedy on March 7th.


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