Sheng Wang was a standup on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and also wrote for the ABC show, Fresh Off the Boat. Photo by CJ Brown.

Just the Juicy Bits

Standup comedian Sheng Wang Performs in Eugene

Sheng Wang is not the best with a quick comeback, he says. That might seem like a weird flex for a standup comedian, but if you know Wang’s material, it makes sense. His first Netflix special, Sweet and Juicy, came out in 2022, and it’s filled with Wang’s signature, laidback sense of humor — the kinds of observations that are only possible once you slow down or that you might miss while constantly searching for a punchline. 

Wang hones his new hour, April 27, at the Hult Center.

In Sweet and Juicy, Wang recalls calming his girlfriend’s nerves at her first mammogram. She farted during the procedure, Wang says — a reasonable defensive response to putting her breasts into what Wang calls a “titty panini.” 

He also covers the spiritual and karmic overtones of Costco shopping and how long it should take to park. “Costco teaches you how to let go,” Wang says in the bit. “Before I get to the store, I do a quick little meditation-slash-pep rally. I say, ‘We’re about to go into a hostile environment. You already know there’s going to be some injustice.’”

Wang says Sweet and Juicy was a hit, and it increased his profile significantly. He tells Eugene Weekly his new material is along those same lines. “It’s just a lot of personal observations and stories and experiences,” Wang says, exploring the little and sometimes mundane parts of life the comic makes hilarious through his unique point of view.

But with Sweet and Juicy’s success, Wang says audiences are more familiar with his style of comedy, and as a result, his new stuff is more vulnerable and weird. “Having a bit more of a dedicated fan base like that gives you a little bit more freedom” to go deeper and harder into some topics, he says.

Wang, Taiwanese American, grew up in Houston and started doing comedy while in college at the University of California, Berkeley, in the early 2000s. He got into standup on a lark with no background in the performing arts. A group of Asian American students on campus encouraged other Asian American students to express themselves creatively through performance. Once Wang tried comedy, it was the perfect fit. 

Wang is now among a generation of Asian and Asian American comedians, including Ronny Chieng and Ali Wong, carving a place for their perspective on standup stages. Wong, Sheng’s longtime friend and comedy colleague, directed Sweet and Juicy, and the show opens as Wong brings Wang on stage. She calls him her favorite comedian. 

“Being Asian American and being who she is, it’s a blessing to have somebody in your life like that,” Wang says of Wong. On the current wave of Asian and Asian American comics like Wong, he adds, “To see them achieve and to know that they’re your friend, and they look like you, they’re like you, and are from immigrant families — I can’t say enough.”

Sheng Wang performs two shows, 7 and 9 pm, April 27, in the Soreng Theater at the Hult Center; the 7 pm show is sold out; tickets are still available for the 9 pm performance; $45, all-ages.