Can you imagine being seven months pregnant and doing a stand-up routine in front of a live audience?
The woman out front is only 5 feet tall, she’s Asian American and her over-sized eyeglasses like magnify the sharp way she tackles topics ranging from dating and marriage to childbirth. Meet Ali Wong, the hottest comic who debuted her Netflix special Baby Cobra in 2016.
Baby Cobra was released on Mother’s Day in 2016 when Ali was not well known, but it steadily gained attention. By Halloween, people were wearing Ali Wong costumes and millions of people were hooked!
In truth, watching Ali perform in her second Netflix special, Hard Knock Wife (2018), is not for the faint of heart. Maybe it’s the unexpected delivery, but this petite and pretty lady liberally drops obscenities throughout her act using very explicit physical gestures that literally slam your funny bone.
Despite the bruises, her topics hit home for many women not to mention men who also seem to enjoy her humor. Perhaps it even helps men to better understand the agonies of pregnancy, dating, and double-standards that women often have to endure. I’ll admit her style is rough and rude, but I caught myself laughing and relating to her antics and the underlying message in her jokes.
Hard Knock Wife tackles the impact of her newfound success and the adjustment of becoming the main breadwinner in her family. She pokes at childcare issues and adapting to fame using her husband Justin Hakuta and their two daughters. They seem to bear the brunt of her skewered take on family life, something many women worry about in juggling career and family life.
There’s a line in her routine where she redefines what DIY (do it yourself) means, saying
DIY stands for “you should’ve married someone with more money.”
I love this and the fact that Wong is the first person to perform stand-up comedy while pregnant during both Netflix specials. The physicality of her extended round tummy definitely makes for some hilarious show-womanship as she struts about the stage! No detail of pregnancy is overlooked, from bodily changes like frequent urination to blocked milk ducts and stinky diapers. When she turns the hilarity inward and talks about miscarriage, it is moving yet brutally honest and funny.
Ali’s routine has inspired other pregnant comics to follow her lead,including Amy Schumer and Natasha Leggero. I find it ironic that male comics have long used their wife’s pregnancy and its far-reaching effects on family life in their acts, while it seemed taboo for women to even admit they were pregnant! This new generation of female comics are refreshingly honest about the challenges of being pregnant, as you can see in her description below of what it’s like to join a mom’s group.
“I joined a mom’s group in Los Angeles. Yeah, I don’t find any of these bitches particularly interesting or fun, but when you’re a new mom on maternity leave, it’s like The Walking Dead – you just gotta hook up with a crew to survive.”
By speaking out about their new phase of life with confidence and humor, all I can say is it’s about time too! I’m not alone given the wild success of her Netflix specials and her new book, Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life. The book is designed to be a life handbook for Ali’s girls when they turn 21, and it’s also written in her signature blunt style.
Personally, I enjoyed it for the insight it provided into her upbringing and her proud heritage as the daughter of a Chinese father and a Vietnamese mother. Ali was raised in San Francisco and attributes her success to her upbringing and hard-work.
In the book, Ali also writes in-depth about her college years (she graduated from UCLA in Asian American studies), dating and being on the road trying to break into show business.
Her work ethic and road travels over the last decade paid off once again in 2019, with Netflix releasing the movie, Always Be My Maybe. Wong and her friend Randall Park wrote, produced and starred in the movie seen by 32 million viewers in the first four weeks!
What’s more, Ali was a writer for three seasons on the TV series Fresh Off The Boat, and she’s guest-starred several times on Inside Amy Schumer. Currently, she’s a regular star on the TV series, American Housewife. It would seem there’s no stopping this pint-sized dynamo with the statement glasses and potty mouth.
In 2020, Ali is touring her new show, Milk & Honey and was forced to add two more dates for her upcoming Santa Rosa, CA show. All indications suggest her shows will continue to sell out for the foreseeable future. The Hollywood Reporter announced Ali has signed a deal with Netflix for two more shows, with the first special debuting this year. Apparently, HBO and Netflix were in a bidding war for Wong’s next special, but she is staying loyal to Netflix for the time being. Who knows what’s next but the immediate question I have is she will be pregnant in the next special?
To read more about Ali, click here.