I'm stand up comic Ali Wong, ask me anything!
1-hour Stand Up Comedy Special "BABY COBRA" now streaming on Netflix! TV Writer. New Mom. Follow me on twitter @aliwong3000
Thanks! I'm working on a new hour, that's kind of like a sequel to Baby Cobra. San Diego is actually one of the few places I'll probably go to this year since it's close to LA and I can bring the baby. Check back on my website for road dates: www.aliwong.com
As a fellow Asian-American woman, there are very unique barriers to success for us in addition to the "bamboo ceiling". What types of barriers have you had to overcome as an AA woman?
BTW, Jo Koy is in the Bay...any plans for stopping by up here? Love seeing us represented!
I don't really like to focus on barriers because I don't like giving them that kind of power. But I will say that going on the road, as a female stand-up, is rough. Mostly because I'm just scared of my safety sometimes when I'm all alone in a shitty hotel. Also most women can't just eat a twinkie at a gas station like some men can. Might be in San Francisco in December!
Was there a plan in place had you gone into labor while filming your special?
HAHAHAHAA! No, thank goodness I didn't. Although THAT would've made the special truly SPECIAL.
I watched your special and loved it!!! I then went to follow you on twitter where I saw this, so my question is what celebrity has responded to you/your special that was the biggest shock?
By far Steve Yeun. He plays Glenn from The Walking Dead. The day my special started streaming on Netflix, he tweeted out his followers, that they should watch it, that it was so funny, with a picture of the billboard on Melrose and I JUST ABOUT DIED. I think his character and how he's chosen to play it, has been such a milestone for Asian Americans without trying to be.
Your Netflix special was one of the best I've seen in a long time! When did you decide to film it during your pregnancy? Did anyone try to talk you out of it?
I decided I wanted to do it the first time I got pregnant. But then I had a miscarriage and when I got pregnant again, and the pregnancy took, I was like LET'S DO THIS! The day before I flew to Seattle to shoot it, my doctor told me I couldn't take anymore trips. But as you can see, I did get on a plane one last time.
Hey Ali, thanks for doing an AMA! I just discovered you yesterday when I saw your stand up on Netflix, I peed laughing.
I'm currently going to school for acting and all I can think about is what I'm going to do after. So I wanted to ask, what was the hardest career challenge you've had to deal with or are still dealing with? And how did you deal with it?
As a young Asian artist, it's inspiring watching you do what you do.
Thank you so much! The toughest thing for me is balancing friends/family and work. I've missed a lot of weddings, baby showers and funerals because I chose to take up a great work opportunity instead. It's hard but in the end, I just do what I feel like doing.
Do feminists without a sense of humor come up to you after a gig and complain about that bit? Best stand-up since Louis CK in his Chewed Up/Hilarious stage.
I've had one lady leave a show during that part, where I say "I think feminism is the worst thing that has happened to women." She had on some thick ass glasses, a brown cardigan and an NPR tote. Usually most feminists are smart enough to get what's really going on.
If you ever come to do a show in Toronto, Will you let this hairy Jew take you out for some Pho?
can you continue this IAMA tomorrow am sure i will have questions for you after i watch your netflix special ?
sorry have to be with my kid!
Which comedians would you say had the most influence on your own comedy or comedic style?
Eddie Murphy - for his energy and rawness Patrice O'Neal - for his honesty Dave Attell - for his incredible economy of language
When you were at UCLA did you know Lauri Kilmartin? I know it's a big campus, but did you do any improv or showcase with her?
I didn't know her at UCLA. I didn't even know she went to UCLA? If you're talking about the stand-up comic who writes at Conan, I do know her now and I LOVE HER
Piece of advice that helped you the most when starting stand up?
Louis CK once told me to never let go of a bit. I tend to throw away a lot of ideas if they're not working, but now I think I'm going to go back to stuff I once believed in, and see if I still find it funny and can maybe re-shape it into something good.
What is your go to choice for pizza?
In LA, I'm a big fan of the Gjelina to go squash blossom pizza.
New York, I LOVE the margherita pizza at artichokes.
I'm also a big anchovy girl.
How much fun is @midnight to do ?
It's the best when you can do it with your friends. I love Chris Hardwick. I ran into him at Disneyland when I went there for my bachelorette party!
Hi Ali! I caught your special on Netflix the other night and enjoyed it so much I had to watch it again with my boyfriend first thing the next morning. I am currently six months pregnant. I related with everything you said.
I was pleasantly surprised that you work on Fresh Off The Boat. We watch religiously. We love Eddie Haung! I'm dying to see you live. Please do some Orange County shows. I just saw an article that you will be at the comedy store tomorrow? Is this true? If so, what time?
Congrats!!! And you're in the second trimester too!!! No, unfortunately I had to cancel the show tomorrow. So I will not be at the Comedy Store
What is Maron's garage like? Loved the special!
Thank you! There are a lot of BOOKS and illustrations. It's as if public radio gave birth in that room.
why did you pick Seattle to film your special?
I haven't performed there that much, and then I felt like everyone in SF, LA and NY had already seen all my jokes since I had lived in all those cities. So I wanted my jokes to be fresh to the audience, and I also wanted to do it in a major city that was similar to San Francisco, since that's where I was born, raised and started Stand up.
My gay best friend referred me to your Netflix special and I am forever grateful. Looking forward to hearing and seeing more of you cause you is funny. One question: were you were jelly sandals in that Netflix special?
Thanks so much! I wore Jason Wu x Melissa shoes. They are very jelly-like. This is also my favorite question and made me laugh out loud.
Do you ever hold back jokes from TV for your own use in stand up? Or are they just different animals?
They're very different animals, especially since I write for a family sitcom. But it's been a great workout for my joke brain. So no, I never hold back in the writer's room.
Your special is among the best out there. What sort of pressure does it place on you to out do it or keep people from comparing your subsequent performances to it?
Thanks so much! I'm honestly much more excited about the stand-up I've been doing since the baby was born. Giving birth was the scariest thing I've ever done and now, as a parent I feel like I can relate to a whole new population and it's been really amazing talking about it all on stage. So the next special will be like a BABY COBRA sequel and I think people will be on board!
How old is the baby now? How's that adventure going?
Almost 6 months! You can see me live sometime, to hear all about how it's going =) My next special will be like the sequel to BABY COBRA
Do you ever worry that the audience is walking away with the wrong message from your comedy?
Never. Most of the smaller live shows I do these days are not about gaining fans, or killing on stage. The stand-up special was about gaining fans and killing. When I do the live shows, it's always about working out new material. And in general, I don't worry about messages because I'm not a politician. I worry about laughs.
Loved your Netflix special! Who are your favorite comedians?
THANKS! Copying from above. My influences: Eddie Murphy - for his energy and rawness, Patrice O'Neal - for his honesty, Dave Attell - for his incredible economy of language. Now my favorite comics to watch are Louis CK, Ron Funches, Aparna Nancherla, my dear friend Sheng Wang, Bill Burr...
Who is your favorite comedian?
Oh dear I forgot to mention Chris Rock above. I love Chris Rock. Him and Eddie Murphy in his prime are my favorites.
Hi Ali, Can I please ask, have you always been comfortable talking in front of an audience or did you have to learn to overcome the vulnerability of it?
I've always been very comfortable. I grew up going to this youth center where I performed sketches all the time, and was also encouraged to talk in front of my peers, younger and older, about the meaning of Thanksgiving and corny stuff like that.
After watching your comedy special the day it came out on Netflix, I became a huge fan for a laundry list of reasons. Just wanted to stop by to say that it made a huge impression on me that you explicitly broke down and critiqued the proliferation of what you called "Yoko Ono Factories" in the United States. Evidently your self-awareness as an Asian female was DEFINITELY noted not just by me but by the showunners in the latest episode of "Tales of Mangri-La", a podcast run by some Asian Americans who bring on guests to talk about the state of Asian America and attempt to get everyone as riled up as possible. I have a couple of questions.
You made a hilarious joke during your special about how gratifying it was to "colonize the colonizer" that my sister and I both thoroughly guffawed it. I know that you mentioned on your interview with Marc Maron as well as some other interviews that you majored in Asian American Studies while at UCLA. How do you think that influences your comedy?
Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? We've had guests including bigWOWO's Byron Wong, actors Michael Tow and Christine Chang, and lawyer David Chan (who was actually part of the inaugural class on Asian American Studies at UCLA back in the 60's). It's via Skype and very flexible. I'd be able to put you in touch with the showrunners super easily.
Thanks for doing this AMA and just being for a woke Asian American comedian! We always need more of those.
Being an ethnic studies major always makes you a little more aware of the complexities and messages being race relations. Thank you for inviting me but I'm exhausted these days and have to put a hold on saying yes to stuff.
I'm so new at Reddit, I have no idea if I'm going to do this right. I watched your stand-up special today and thought it was great! Question, did the pregnancy material get written super recently or had you been working on that for a while? You had me cracking up with the hipster vs homeless guy bit.
Before the special, all the pregnancy stuff had pretty much been written in the 3-4 months leading up to it.
honestly--are male comedians funny?
YES OF COURSE.
My wife and I watched your Netflix special over the weekend and we immediately became fans of you. After you spoke about women's office toilet etiquette, you quickly became my wife's spirit animal.
Do you have any plans for another stand up or even a tour (San Diego specifically ;) )?
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