The “Ali Wong: Baby Cobra” Interview
with Kam Williams
All's Right with Wong!
Ali Wong is a stand-up comedian living between Los Angeles and New York. After SF Weekly selected her as “The Best Comedian of 2009″ and the SF Bay Guardian awarded her “Best of the Bay,” she decided that it was finally time to depart her hometown. In 2010, Comedy Central listed Ali Wong as one of 7 “Comic’s to Watch.”
In 2011, Variety Magazine named her as one of the “10 Comics to Watch” and Ali appeared in the 2011 and 2012 Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. Since then, she has performed on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, appeared in Oliver Stone’s “Savages” and was a series regular on NBC’s “Are You There, Chelsea?”
In 2012, Ali hosted the Golden Globes live coverage on E! and in 2013 she joined the reboot of VH1′s “Best Week Ever,” MTV’s new show “Hey Girl” and performed on the new season of “John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show.”
Here, she talks about her comedy special, “Ali Wong: Baby Cobra,” which is set to premiere on Netflix on Friday, May 6th.
Kam Williams: Hi Ali, thanks for the interview. Congratulations on the baby!
Ali Wong: Thanks, Kam.
KW: How do you think motherhood might affect your career?
AW: I can't go on the road to perform stand-up as much, and I also have to say "no" to a lot more projects. But, ultimately, it cuts the fat out, and I had a problem saying "yes" to everything before I had the baby. I look to women like Jessica Alba, who turned motherhood into a weapon by founding the Honest Company. I'm hoping to do the same thing in some regard with my stand-up.
KW: What inspired you to shoot it while you were 7- months pregnant?
AW: I've been doing stand-up for 10+ years now, and I had been wanting to film a 1-hour special. When I got pregnant, I knew that if I didn't shoot it before having the baby, it would never happen. So, it was hard, preparing for it while I was so tired and nauseous, but it was worth it. And I'm excited to show the special to my daughter one day, and tell her that both of us were on stage together in that special.
KW: What's the theme of the show?
AW: The life of a stand-up comedian is extremely unconventional. So, outside of that, all I wanted was a traditional life: love, marriage and the baby carriage. And I got it all, but the way it all happened did not go exactly as I had planned. The special is all about that twisted journey.
KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
AW: Chicken noodle soup! My husband and I eat a bastardized version of Chicken Pho, probably 10 times per week. It's so easy, fast and healthy.
KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?
AW: I had a nightmare in my crib when I was a baby. I was at the bottom of a hill in a stroller and my parents just kept on walking up the hill and forgot about me. Maybe that's why I do stand-up, because I always have the urge to shout: "Hey! Listen to me! I'm HERE!"
KW: Who loved you unconditionally during your formative years?
AW: I have three siblings who are all 10+ years older than me. I was an accident, or as I prefer to call myself, a "blessing." My two sisters and my brother were so loving and attentive to me. They spoiled me with attention, brought me on dates when they were in high school, introduced me to great art and music, and taught me how to have confidence.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
AW: A tired, lucky, 34-year old mom that's just trying to get through the day.
KW: Sherry Gillam would like to know what is the most important life lesson you've learned so far?
AW: If you're a woman who wants to have a career and a family, choosing the right life partner is the most important decision you'll ever make.
KW: What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
AW: I've eaten a still-beating cobra heart.
KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
AW: Asian Mary Poppins to live in my house, take care of my child, and cook yummy Asian food all the time.
KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
AW: Chris Brown's music.
KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?
AW: Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. His name also cracks me up so hard.
KW: Judyth Piazza asks: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
AW: I think all successful people are people of action. They don't get bogged down by jealousy and they don't focus on their limitations, they just do what needs to be done, at the end of the day.
KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
AW: Stop collecting advice and go create.
KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?
AW: So many coupons.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Ali, and best of luck with Baby Cobra.
AW: Thank you, Kam.
To see the trailer for Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vzk-bj5bRNs