Details: Released in 2016 on Netflix. About an hour long.
Even though the best stand-up comedy special I’ve seen this year is from Dave Chappelle, Ali Wong comes in a close second. This is one of the best comedy shows I’ve seen in recent memory and, in my opinion, about as funny (though not as controversial) as Dave Chappelle.
As if often said, comedians should perform about what they know. Dave Chappelle talks about his experiences from the perspective of a black man. Similarly, Ali Wong discusses issues from the perspective of an Asian woman. What I think makes Baby Cobra special is that the comedy she performs touches upon a number of gender and race issues without becoming cringe-y.
I’ve watched a number of minority and female comedians and I generally find them hard to watch. It’s because they become so self deprecating so as to become pathetic. I don’t enjoy watching them tear themselves apart. The trick to performing comedy from the perspective of a specific demographic is to make fun of yourself without humiliating yourself. There’s a line to avoid crossing and most comedians fail by crossing that line and becoming something I’m laughing at instead of someone I’m laughing with. I don’t want to watch someone pathetic. I don’t want to watch the object of ridicule.
Ali Wong in Baby Cobra does not make that mistake. She touches upon a lot of issues related to race and gender and I didn’t cringe once. Despite not being a pregnant female woman, I sympathized with her views. I felt like I was on her side, which is a big part of comedy, to get the audience on your side. Ali Wong did that magnificently in this show.
Overall, this is a great show with a lot of great bits. After watching the show, I did a search for other bits of Ali Wong stand-up comedy and I found nothing that was close to as good as Baby Cobra. I did find jokes that were obviously the seeds which developed into the fully formed jokes you find in Baby Cobra. It’s interesting to see the progression of a comedian’s performance. Ali Wong: Baby Cobra is likely the best thing that Wong has every put out and, in my opinion, about as funny as anything Dave Chappelle has released in 2017.