Comedian Ali Wong holds sold-out show at Warner Theater
The comedian performed new material about her life since becoming a mother
Despite being about five feet tall, Asian-American comedian Ali Wong has a fierce, commanding presence on the stage. Best known for her stand-up comedy special “Baby Cobra” on Netflix, Wong performed four sold out shows at D.C.’s Warner Theater on March 10 and 11.
During the show, she reminisced about her pre-“Baby Cobra” days, when she struggled to sell out smaller venues.
“They put my tickets on Groupon, next to tickets for whale-watching tours and teeth whitening,” Wong said in her performance. “It was demeaning!”
Wong filmed her Netflix special “Baby Cobra” last year when she was seven months pregnant. “Baby Cobra” was a huge hit, receiving praise from comedians such as Marc Maron, Amy Schumer and Bill Burr. For Halloween, numerous people donned striped dresses, red glasses and baby bumps to pay homage to Wong. Today’s popular female comedians like Amy Schumer often talk about sex, but Wong popularity stems from bringing a fresh take to vulgar humor by adding in social commentary about race.
“Nothing makes me feel more powerful than when a white dude eats my p*ssy,” Wong said in “Baby Cobra.” “I just feel like I’m absorbing all of that privilege and all of that entitlement . . . Colonize the colonizer!”
For people who loved Wong’s raunchy humor in “Baby Cobra,” her new live show is just as filthy, with topics ranging from post-pregnancy bodies to oral sex to the time her baby took a dump on her chest. Wong’s humor is off color, as she frequently jokes about bodily functions, sex, STDs, and promiscuity. However, she also addresses some more serious and uncomfortable issues, and in her Netflix special Wong jokes about her miscarriage. She has said that this part of her set is often received with silence or discomfort.
In her new show, Wong continues to tackle important social issues related to children and parenthood. She talked about the expectations people have of mothers to be with their child 24/7, admitting that she and her husband have a nanny.
“There are all these expectations, like you should be reading 5000 words a day to your baby or they’ll be stupid,” said Wong. “Sometimes all that matters is that the baby is still alive at the end of the day.”
She addressed this issue throughout her D.C. show, questioning the different standards that exist for men and women in comedy and noting that male comedians who have children aren’t asked why they aren’t at home with the baby or what their children would think of their comedy.
Kevin Camia, an Asian-American comedian from the San Francisco Bay Area, opened the show for Wong. As soon as he began his set it became clear why he was chosen to open for Wong.
Camia has the same smart yet crude humor as Wong, making thought-provoking jokes about being Asian in America along with some raunchy jokes. After his 30-minute set Camia welcomed Wong, baby bump-less and dressed in a glittery gold and black jumpsuit, to the stage.
The major difference between her new show and “Baby Cobra” is that “Baby Cobra” was far more relatable for younger people, focusing on issues like dating and sleeping around. The new show caters more to an older audience, specifically people who understand and can relate to the daily struggles of being a parent.
For the most part, Wong played it safe this time around - she caught a lot of flak in “Baby Cobra” for saying she wasn’t a feminist and that her dream is to be a stay at home mom and to laze around the house doing nothing. Wong’s latest evolution is more mature, monogamous and maternal. But if you’re an avid fan of Wong, you won’t be disappointed by her new material.