Ali Wong’s exponential rise over the last six years, ever since the release of her first Netflix special Baby Cobra, needs no justification; her talent speaks for itself. Nonetheless, Wong continues to bring her A game during her latest set, Don Wong, which shifts from her previous focus on motherhood (the primary subject of her last two Netflix specials) to sex and love, but maintains rewarding throughlines on sexism and glorious gross-out humor.
The Always Be My Maybe star kicks off the hour hilariously outlining the double standards for female comedians, who do not nearly reap the same benefits as their male counterparts. Systemic misogyny is no new subject for Wong; she spent much of Hard Knock Wife (2018) pointing out how parenthood is far more taxing for women than men, who receive outsized praise for putting in much less effort. Wong keeps her bits on sexism fresh, though, by employing a new target and approaching the matter at hand with unmatched fervor. She takes us through the peaks and valleys of her voice, delivering punchlines with gusto.
Wong also spends a healthy portion of the special joking about wanting to cheat on her husband and sloughing off any judgment towards her for speaking her mind. She knows it’s not the most acceptable subject, but she simply doesn’t care. Wong doubles down, and the further she goes, the funnier the bit gets. By being utterly honest and not courting likability, Wong ends up more likable than ever.
In her extended cheating fantasy jokes, the comedian also manages to side-step the problem of wealth and celebrity making a performer unfunny and unrelatable. In many ways, Wong is living the proverbial dream; she’s famous and makes loads of money. But thanks to “monogamy jail,” as she puts it (a nice callback to her dubbing stay-at-home-motherhood “solitary confinement” in Hard Knock Wife), she can’t fuck the cast of The Avengers, despite the fact that she now runs in the same circles. Her reaction to sudden stardom feels pretty akin to what your average American might feel if they were suddenly thrust in the limelight.
The special is strung together by Wong’s penchant for the lewd, whether she’s discussing the benefits of letting a man cum on your face or the state of her underwear. The dirtiness of her jokes is only matched by her creative use of language and enthusiastic physical comedy. Crude humor doesn’t get old with Wong because she always finds a new way to shock and entertain her audience, whether observing how a women’s bathroom is akin to a post-apocalyptic scene or comparing fingering to the Braveheart charge.
At the end of her cathartic set, Wong sings the praises of her husband while still making us laugh, bringing the hour full circle. Her frankness and horniness live in tandem with her love for her spouse, and it’s a heartwarming moment for all involved. Wong cements her place as a joyously consistent yet still surprising comedic voice on Don Wong.
Clare Martin is a cemetery enthusiast and Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Go harass her on Twitter @theclaremartin.