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5 June 2019updated 03 Aug 2021 12:51pm

Ali Wong’s star has risen

By Anna Leszkiewicz

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. 

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This article appears in the 05 Jun 2019 issue of the New Statesman, The Trump alliance