This year, Ali Wong decided to give Netflix subscribers a unique, untraditional Valentine’s Day gift with her comedy special, “Ali Wong: Don Wong” (2022). “Don Wong” marks Wong’s third Netflix comedy special in addition to her previous work with Netflix for her film, “Always Be My Maybe” (2019), and her voiceover work for the series “Big Mouth” (2017–). As in her previous specials, Wong is still sporting her red glasses and patterned dresses that became greatly associated with her comedic image.
In her first comedy special, “Baby Cobra” (2016), Wong stated, “I think feminism is the worst thing that ever happened to women.” Anyone who has seen this special, or her second one, “Hard Knock Wife” (2018), knows that Wong does not actually hate feminism — she just believes that feminism ruined her dream of being “a trophy wife,” as feminism often encourages women to go out into the workplace and take charge, while Wong would much prefer to sit at home and be, in her words, “a trophy.” The irony behind this joke is that not only is Wong now the breadwinner of her family after having an extremely successful career, but her comedy itself is inherently feminist.
Wong expresses feminism in her comedy by calling out various gender disparities and sexism. At the start of “Don Wong,” Wong jokes about how when men become successful comedians, their romantic lives thrive and they start dating actresses and supermodels — just look at Colin Jost. When women become successful comedians, however, they find their dating lives to be bleak. Wong claims this is due to the fact that men fear women who have more money and power than they do. It is moments like these in Wong’s comedy, where she says something insightful and intriguing, but in a wonderfully funny way that really emphasizes what a good comedian she is.
In addition to feminism, Wong’s comedy is incredibly sexual. Wong makes countless jokes about various sexual encounters she had or dreamed of, whether it be masturbating to Jason Momoa or wanting to cheat on her husband. From joking about a sexual fantasy involving the cast of “The Avengers” (2012) to acting out various sexual positions, Wong confidently, and hilariously, proves her comedic genius once again.
Wong also discusses the iconic character, Hello Kitty. A short 15 minutes into the special, after discussing how her direct messagess are filled with creepy messages from her male fans, Wong states “I never check my DMs, and when I do, its only to see if Sanrio, the owners of Hello Kitty, have finally contacted me to offer sponsorship.”
Hello Kitty aside, the shining star of “Don Wong” is the jokes Wong makes about cheating on her husband. Toward the start of the special, Wong says, “I think about cheating on my husband every five minutes. I haven’t done it yet. Not because I’m a good person, only because no worthy opportunity has presented itself.” She brings up cheating on her husband quite frequently, but she does not address the topic for an extended period of time until much later. Approaching the end of her special, Wong answers the question that many in the audience and those watching at home might have regarding how her husband feels about these jokes. Wong provides the perfect answer to the question: “Right now … my husband is at home, in the house that I bought, telling time on the Rolex I got him for Father’s Day, jacking off to porn he streams on the high-speed internet I pay for every month … He doesn’t give a shit about what I say on stage, because he’s too busy living the life I wanted for myself.” Not only is this joke perfect toward the end of her set, because it is a parallel to all of her “trophy wife” jokes from her previous special, but it also fully captures her essence as a fearless comedian who does not care how people view her — she lives her life how she wants.
As a whole, Ali Wong delivers another spectacular comedy special with “Don Wong.” The special is most definitely her dirtiest, most sexual one yet; however, she stays true to her roots of untraditional feminist comedy which her fans have come to love. With her third special, Wong has solidified her place as one of the elite standup comics of the modern age, with the ability to connect with her audience and her confidence to say whatever she wants, no matter how others might react. For many Asian Americans, it is refreshing and inspiring to see Wong continue to grow as a comedian and become an even more prominent figure in the entertainment industry.