Ali Wong’s star has risen

From stand-up specials to Tuca & Bertie and Always Be My Maybe, the comedian is hot property.

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Not many Hollywood celebrities make their breakthrough while seven and a half months pregnant, but Ali Wong isn’t your typical Hollywood celebrity. The 37-year-old Vietnamese-Chinese-American comedian, writer and actress found mainstream recognition just weeks away from her due date, with her disarmingly filthy stand-up special Baby Cobra. “Now that I’m seven and a half months pregnant, my pussy’s all wet again, because my body’s secreting mucus to protect the baby from bacteria attacking it,” she said, a provocative glint in her eye, daring you not to laugh.

Its sequel, Hard Knock Wife, filmed while she was pregnant with her second child, followed suit; the New York Times said she was “on the cusp of stand-up comedy’s A-list”. She began writing for Fresh Off the Boat, a sitcom about a Taiwanese-American family in Florida in the 1990s. Now, she stars in two major Netflix properties: the brilliant animated comedy series Tuca & Bertie, where she voices a stressed-out anthropomorphic bird, and the romcom film Always Be My Maybe, where she plays a celebrity chef who returns to her home city of San Francisco to open a new restaurant. Wong and co-star Randall Park, who met on Fresh Off the Boat, play the romantic leads and wrote the script together. Neither are as wild and explicit as her stand-up, but both showcase the full extent of her charm.

In a piece for the pop culture site the Ringer, Alison Herman called Ali Wong “a Netflix studio system success story” noting that she has gone “from a Netflix-boosted comic to a full-blown, vertically integrated, in-house Netflix star”. Last month, Vanity Fair called her “Comedy’s Reigning Queen Mom”. Whether or not Netflix is to thank, Wong’s star has clearly risen. 

Anna Leszkiewicz is culture editor of the New Statesman.

This article appears in the 07 June 2019 issue of the New Statesman, The Trump alliance