Ali Wong began this interview with an apology. Seconds after answering the phone, she had to accept a delivery and forgot to mute the phone. “Sorry,” she said, “someone was at my door.” No apology was necessary, of course, as these kinds of minor interruptions happen all the time during these phone calls. However, to anyone familiar with Wong’s previous appearances on @midnight, Chelsea Lately and other stand-up comedy programs, such a thing would seem totally out of character. That’s because whenever the Fresh Off the Boat writer takes the stage, she transforms into a vulgar, witty and outspoken persona whose occasional one-liners and extended stories can leave you breathless. And if you’re really paying attention, they might even bring you to tears from laughing so hard.
Her new Netflix special, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, is rife with such instances of comedy gold. Whether she’s discussing pooping at work, doing stand-up while seven months pregnant, or dreaming about never having to work for a living ever again, Wong will make you laugh. Prior to its May 6 release on the streaming service, the comedian spoke with us about all of these things and more — including her penchant for coining memorable phrases.
“MacGyver baby wipe” is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.
Thanks! We haven’t shown it to anybody. I shot it in September and haven’t gotten any feedback. Of course my manager was like, “It’s great! It’s great!” And I’m like, “Is it?”
I feel like those guys were famous before they put out their specials. I mean, you don’t know who I am…
I do. I know you from Fresh Off the Boat.
Okay, but I feel like most people don’t know who I am. I’m really hoping that a lot of people watch it. I wanted a lot of people to watch it, and Netflix has the most eyes. It’s so frustrating when new comedy hours premiere on channels. They come and go, and it’s almost impossible to watch it if you can’t schedule in the time. It’s not as easy. So I wanted Baby Cobra to be as available as possible.
This is your first hour special. Why’d you delay putting one together for so many years?
It always felt like hard for me to give up my material, especially whenever I was on another person’s program for just a few minutes. There’s certain comics who come up with new jokes all the time, but not me. This is me and my stuff over… Some of these jokes date back as far as seven years ago.
True, but you haven’t been pregnant for seven years.
That’s true. Well it’s interesting, because now that I’m not pregnant, I have all these new jokes about what motherhood is like and I’m so excited about that material now. The worry is, I think, when you do specials you totally empty out your tank. Then you have to fill it up again, and it’s scary. I’m excited that people will want to come and see me live after watching Baby Cobra, because I’ll have a whole new act for them. It’ll kind of be like a sequel to the special.