In her memoir, written as letters to her two young daughters, Ali Wong tells them she would be worried if they wanted to become standup comics like her. Wong, who slogged it out on the open-mic circuit, presents a grim account of life on the road: dying onstage, bad food, bad men. She did it for more than a decade before becoming a star seemingly overnight with her first Netflix special, performed while seven-and-a-half months pregnant. Did she ever consider giving up? “There were times when I thought to myself: ‘I really don’t know if I can do this for the rest of my life,’” she says on the phone from her home in LA. “You know, staying at those motels, getting paid that little amount of money. I’m certain I would not have endured. I couldn’t. Especially after having kids.”
Luckily for Wong, she didn’t have to; instead, her career blew up. In 2016, Netflix launched her special, Baby Cobra, and she has since had a second, Hard Knock Wife. She has also co-written and starred in a romantic comedy film, Always Be My Maybe; had her two children; and published Dear Girls, the memoir written for them. Her tours sell out and her peers rave about her (Amy Schumer calls her “revolutionary”, Chris Rock championed her). “It’s been an unbelievable three years,” she says with some understatement.
Offstage - Standup - Persona - Book - Days
Offstage, she seems softer and more laid-back than her fierce and foul-mouthed standup persona. In the book, she recalls starting out: “I was very dirty back then. Even now, I’ll look back on those days and think: ‘God, you were disgusting.’” Which is very funny if you have seen any of Wong’s comedy, because you will know how filthy she is now. In Baby Cobra, there are gags about anal sex and vaginal...
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