After doing standup for four years in the Bay Area, San Francisco native Ali Wong received some life-changing advice. “I had people telling me, ‘People who live in New York have a lot of ambition and talent; people who live in L.A. have a lot of ambition and no talent; and people who live in San Francisco go to Burning Man.”
Having no interest in dedicating a year of her life to building a giant spider and then burning it to the ground, Ali packed her bags and moved east. The advice worked to her advantage. “Within two weeks, all the Jews started emailing me.”
Wong’s crass attitude and dirty mouth may be offensive to some, but it’s her ability to say those things that most of us are thinking (and wish we could say) that make her stand out. She describes her style as “naughty Oprah,” delving into the darker side of personal relationships and experiences.
Her hilarious, brutally honest approach has landed Wong headlining gigs at Comedy Works in Denver and Caroline’s on Broadway in New York — and caught the attention of those in film and TV. She appeared on “The Tonight Show” on July 7 and recently booked her first film role as a pothead-computer geek in Oliver Stone’s “Savages.”
She also got her first taste of pilot season this year. “I was really freaked out at first because I’d walk into a room and spend the whole morning looking at 30 better looking versions of myself,” she says.
Luckily for Wong, none of those other 30 women can get away with a Jew joke..
P.O.V.:“If you want me to perform in Silver Lake — where it looks like Vice magazine threw up everywhere, where all the men are wearing V-necks to their belly buttons, salmon pants and carrying a screenplay — I’ll do it, because they might appreciate a Banksy joke I can’t do anywhere else.”
Influences: “There’s a scene in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ where this guy dances with a giant doll while singing ‘Make ‘Em Laugh.’ I remember loving the pure physicality of it.”
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