I watched both of Ali Wong’s stand-up specials on Netflix, plus Always Be My Maybe, and thoroughly enjoyed all of them, so when I saw she was coming out with a book, I was all over that shit (I normally try to refrain from swearing in my blog posts, but in this case it seems appropriate).
This book is super short, so it took me no time at all to get through it, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audiobook, which Wong narrates herself.
The book is crafted as a series of letters to her two daughters, although she talks in the book about wanting 4 kids, so if the next 1 or 2 turn out to be boys, will she have to write a whole new book for them? If she just has more girls, will she scribble in additions to account for them after they’re born?
As you would expect given the title and Ali Wong’s history, a good chunk of the book is devoted to tips on how to survive being a woman in comedy, specifically, an Asian-American woman in comedy, although she vehemently warns her daughters away from careers in comedy. We’ll see how that goes.
If you’ve seen any of Wong’s comedy, you know what to expect from her book. She is as irreverent and foul mouthed here as she is in her stand-up routines. She goes into details about her sex life that I would not want to know if I were her child. Then again, maybe her children will be raised talking about this stuff with their parents and maybe they’ll be better off for it. Only time can tell.
Despite her comedy (and there is plenty of it), Wong isn’t afraid to get serious when tackling the big issues like marriage, motherhood, exploring your roots, and how straight-up dangerous it can be to try to make a living in comedy as a woman (seriously, it’s scary and not to be undertaken lightly, which is no doubt a big reason she warns her daughters away from careers in comedy).
I also appreciated getting an afterward from her husband. Having delighted in Wong’s second stand-up special, in which she revels in making more money than her husband, I liked getting his perspective as a stay-at-home dad who had been raised to believe it was the man’s job to financially support the family. It’s not like he was unequal to the task – it’s just that his wife’s career took off and monopolized so much of their time and energy, that it just made more sense for him to be the one to stay home. That said, I appreciated his note to his girls about how their mom’s stand-up routine affected him at first, how/why he overcame his initial objections, and the fact that the girls will always have the ability to nix things from their mother’s stand-up routine that’s about them and they don’t want to go public.
What did you read/listen to this week? Anything else written by your favorite comedienne?