Doing a Netflix special while seven months pregnant and building an entire set around the state of being pregnant was a brilliant move by comedienne Ali Wong. Since the release of her special Baby Cobra (a take on Wong’s favorite yoga pose) last May, the Fresh of the Boat writer has been selling out her stand up shows all across the nation.
It’s raunchy humor and per an Elle magazine feature on her, the jokes “range from trapping her Harvard Business School husband, to the ingredients for a perfect marriage (e.g., mutual racism), and why housewives are the geniuses of our time.”
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Wong, who has appeared in Chelsea Handler’s Are You There, Chelsea? and Inside Amy Schumer, is among those ultra hard working celebrities, especially for the way she embraced it at a time when most would probably take a break from the road.
“Pregnancy for a working woman is generally perceived as a weakness. You’re tired at work, and then you have to take time off afterward to recover from the birth, and care for the baby. I’m lucky because my boss, the showrunner at Fresh Off the Boat, was really cool about me taking time off, but I was still nervous about having that “maternity leave” conversation,” she told Elle. “Every woman is. [And] I had so much anxiety about my stand-up career taking a big hit, so I wanted to use my pregnancy as a source of power and turn it into a weapon instead of a weakness. When you’re pregnant, you’re hungry, tired, and fat, so you have this “I don’t give a fuck” attitude that lends itself really well to performance. You let go of all dignity and shame, and it’s beautiful.”
The half Vietnamese/Half Chinese-American credits Alicia Keys for empowering her.
“There’s a BET Awards tribute to Prince, where Alicia Keys sings ‘Adore‘” Wong explains. “She climbs up on the piano, kicks her feet up in the air, and sings with such passion—all pregnant and powerful—and it really inspired me.”
And since giving birth to daughter, Mari, in November 2015, Wong kept motherhood in her stand up routine.
And it’s working.
“I’ve been going up on stage in my sweatpants, with no makeup, looking like Vietnamese Nell, talking about my real-ass experience with breastfeeding, the nanny search, and mommy groups,” she humorously shared.
On seeing her billboards all over cities, Wong said they made her miss pregnancy.
“People are so nice to you when the baby is inside your body. They treat you like a reproductive goddess. They open doors for you [and] don’t let you carry heavy stuff,” she explained. “Then when the baby comes, nobody cares about you, and society treats you like garbage. You walk into a restaurant with a stroller and everyone rolls their eyes.”
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