WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MAY 22: Ali Wong attends the world premiere of Netflix's 'Always Be My Maybe' at Regency Village Theatre on May 22, 2019 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix)
Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix
Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

REVIEW: Ali Wong - not pregnant - brings the raunch with joyous bile at Atlanta’s Tabernacle

Originally posted Sunday, June 30, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

During a rather ribald description of her horny male fans on social media, Ali Wong imitated them by lifting her dress, undulating her stomach and moving her hips in a ridiculous fashion. 

After several seconds of this, she cracked, “That’s why there are no phones in here!” 

Like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, she required all smartphones to be placed in magnetic pouches for the duration of the show to prevent anything from getting recorded. 

Not that it’s any secret that her material is hardly Hello Kitty friendly.  

Her two wildly popular and very R-rated Netflix specials elevated her from clubs to theaters such as the Tabernacle, ensuring that anyone who bought a ticket Saturday to the first of three nights there knew what to expect. 

Over a tight one-hour set, she was indignant, brash and commanding on stage - typically at the same time.

And Wong said she was not - I repeat, not - pregnant. This is an issue because being so boldly pregnant for her breakout 2016 special “Baby Cobra” made her a cause célebre among fellow comics and new fans alike. She was also pregnant with her second child for her next special “Hard Knock Wife” that came out last year. 

Now 37,  Wong said the door is closed for a third kid. And being pregnant for every future Netflix special, she sardonically noted, “is not a viable long-term career plan.”

She spent a good portion of her show talking about how much she wants to cheat on her husband and noting how monogamy is not structured for human beings that live twice as long as they did just a few centuries ago. 

She also noted how society still frowns more upon wives who strays from their marriage than husbands who do the same. (Smart Wong observation: there is a term for women who cheat on married men - mistress - but no comparable English language descriptive for the other way around.)

Wong said she has never actually gone down this path but she said she came close while shooting her recently released and well-regarded romantic comedy on Netflix “Always Be My Maybe.” And no, it wasn’t with any of her male co-stars - including Daniel Dae Kim and Keanu Reeves

Rather, she said she had the hots for an unnamed 25-year-old consultant who taught her how to replicate her character’s profession: celebrity chef.  And while she said no cheating happened, she, um, figured out he was attracted to her while he taught her how to cut a raw chicken standing tightly behind her. Raw chicken is not the same as clay pottery but she did compare the moment to the film “Ghost.” 

Much to her Wong-like consternation, she said successful, powerful and respected male stand-up comics (who also happen to be ugly) have no problem nabbing models, actresses and pop singers.  Comparable female comics? Not so much. 

Wong gave an example of a fellow, hugely popular female comic who recently married... “a gardener.” Sure, he calls himself a “horticulturalist,” Wong said, but that is just a fancy “white person” way of saying he’s a fancy gardener. (She didn’t specifically say who but it’s likely she was referencing Amy Schumer. Last year, she married Chris Fischer,  a chef who now runs a farm.)

RELATED: << My 2018 interview with Amy Schumer

She herself has been married to a businessman and entrepreneur Justin Hakuta since 2014, two years before “Baby Cobra.”

She said he is super secure and the secret to their success as a couple is he isn’t intimidated by her. Rather, “he gives me permission to be myself.”

And how supportive of a husband is he? Hakuta joined her in Atlanta and manned the merchandise table after the show. ($60 for an autographed poster, $100 for a signed LP, yet oddly, no T-shirts!)

It was a conceit she joked about on stage - he has a Harvard MBA! -  but by doing so, she also smartly gave fans an added incentive to buy merch. 

<<RELATED: A New York Times piece about her from 2018 that also includes more about her husband. 

Wong has additional shows at the Tabernacle on Sunday, June 30 and Monday, July 1, both at 7 p.m. Sunday’s show is sold out with just a handful of single seats available. Monday night, as of Sunday morning, has about 70 tickets left, mostly single seats. Her opener Sheng Wang is an old friend and provides supremely funny observational humor. Wong hits the stage at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $49.50 to $89.50. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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