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Check out Ali Wong's HARD KNOCK WIFE new comedy special

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You probably know by now that Netflix has dedicated a huge chunck of its energy and resources to stand-up comedy specials. Some are brilliant, others mediocre, but all in all, there's a huge variety to chose from if you're into this sort of thing. One of favorites is Ali Wong's Hard Knock Wife, his newest special, better, I think than her previous Baby Cobra. They're both very good and entertaining though and she is indeed pregnant in both.

"When Ali Wong’s debut special, “Baby Cobra,” had its premiere on Mother’s Day in 2016, very few people outside of the comedy world knew who Ms. Wong was and there was little reason to think this hour or so of jokes would change that. She had trouble selling out shows and no one submitted the special for Emmy consideration because what would be the point? And while Netflix had an impressive track record of showcasing stand-up stars, it had never made one — until Ali Wong.

“Baby Cobra” presented something new, a pregnant woman in her third trimester delivering a deliriously filthy and funny hour of comedy woven into a sneakily feminist assault on the double standards of parenting. Pioneers like Joan Rivers, who had also performed pregnant, and Roseanne Barr paved the way with biting jokes about motherhood and domesticity, but Ms. Wong made maternal comedy seem more glamorous, sexual and overtly political." (New York Times)

"The Mother’s Day release slot is property of Ali Wong, thanks to Baby Cobra, which came out before Mother’s Day two years ago and made her famous enough to be recognized on the street (she talks about her newfound celebrity in this performance). A big part of the reason Baby Cobra struck a nerve was the frank way she talked about all the parts of motherhood that women are not supposed to acknowledge, for fear that it would depress or horrify others. Hard Knock Wife offers plenty more in that vein. When we last saw her on Netflix, she hadn’t given birth yet. Here, she’s on the verge of going through the experience again — her cheetah-print dress, sparkly gold flats, and lipstick-red eyeglasses frames make her the funkiest obstetrics patient in the room — and she’s here to tell us that she’d really rather not.

Motherhood, she tells us, is “a wack-ass job … You’re in solitary confinement all day long with this human Tamagotchi, so the stakes are extremely high.” You can see proof of her commitment whenever she smells her daughter’s diaper, an act that Wong draws out and pantomimes until she appears to be savoring the bouquet of a Pinot Noir or huffing paint thinner, maybe both. “I told my husband ‘till death do us part,’ and not once have I ever sniffed his ass to see if he shit his pants.”" (Vulture)

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"And Hard Knock Wife is incredibly funny, building on Wong’s uncompromising statement with a wealth of observational specificity and reliable bite. “I could have accomplished so much more if I had had a catheter attached,” she bemoans, in reference to life after her C-section. Hopping back and forth from sex (when a woman sleeps with a man right away, “it’s not because we don’t respect ourselves, it’s because we don’t respect you”) and her hapless husband (painted as a freeloader who responds to Wong’s sudden windfall by waltzing into work and screaming “this job is just an eccentric hobby for me now”), Wong also touches the other event that separates her from her pre-Baby Cobra. Many comics can become quickly alienating when they first become famous, but Wong’s reaction to her own fame (she watched her own special on her sister’s Netflix login) grounds her and opens her up to further reflection.

If the special has a shortcoming, it’s the meme-y tags Wong tends to to add to the ends of jokes and stories (“bye, Felicia” makes an appearance). When the audience laughs at these codas, you get the feeling that they’re laughing more in recognition of that thing they know than at the actual joke, which is a shame, because the joke is already great. But the occasional obscuration of her own punchlines, this is a special that solidly fulfills the promise of Baby Cobra and proves that Wong isn’t going anywhere." (Paste Magazine)

Tags:   netflix, news, comedy, stand up, special, Ali Wong, Hard Knock Wife

Related:   Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife


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