Published Jun 07, 2016Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.
Ali Wong, a five-foot-nothing, Asian-American woman from San Francisco, recorded this special while seven-and-a-half months pregnant. Armed with jokes about vaginal discharge and the burden of using public bathrooms, Wong's standup is a well-timed, well-thought-out tour de force. And while her jokes do centre on the bathroom and/or bedroom jokes that we love, she does so from the perspective of a wife and soon-to-be mother.
Subverting the idea of a pregnant woman as a sacred vessel, she explains how miscarriage happens "all the time," and how she looks forward to the moment that she will, inevitably "shit herself on the table" during childbirth — even commenting that she's looking forward to "a good cleanse." And while much of her comedy focuses on self-deprecation and her experiences as a self-proclaimed pervert, she does with an air of absolute confidence. When explaining how she "trapped" her husband, she first tries to make him believe that her body is "a secret garden, when really it's a public park that has hosted many reggae fests, and has also accidentally let two homeless people inside."
One of the most taboo aspects of her special (pussy-sliming jokes aside) is the fact that she sexualizes her half-Japanese, half-Filipino husband. Even though she depicts him as "smelling of responsibility," and being hairless from the neck down, she nonetheless depicts him — and in turn, Asian men in general — as sexy. While she does describes her various experiences with white dudes — it makes her feel picturesque, "like being in a Wes Anderson movie," and even going as far to calling most hipster, North American neighbourhoods as "Yoko Ono factories" — she nonetheless traps an Asian guy, marries him, and is in the process of creating his baby. While she does point to his Harvard education multiple times as being the driving force of her entrapment, her set nonetheless attempts to re-examine that specific stereotype, while of course using a multitude of other, more hilarious Asian stereotypes to balance everything out.
Another point she touches on is male versus female comedians. Pinpointing male comics who use their "shitty kids" as a way to connect with the other "shitty dads" in the audience — which in turn helps them skyrocket to fame — she points out that in the meantime, "mom is at home, is chapping her nipples, feeding the fucking baby, wearing a frozen diaper because pushing a baby out shredded it up… so I don't know what's going to happen to me!"
Ending shortly after that resonant note, she leaves the discussion open to audience interpretation. Will she succeed as a comic after having a baby? Will she have the time or the will? Will she be a simple housewife as she (jokingly) plans? Whatever the case may be, this special serves as her own rocket to fame — even with a new baby in tow.