Ali Wong during her May 13 Netflix special, "Hard Knock Wife." Photo credit: Ken Worone, Netflix
Here’s a timeless Mother’s Day gift that doesn’t take up any space, requires no watering and is as fierce as a Mama Cobra: Ali Wong’s new Netflix comedy special, “Hard Knock Wife,” which fittingly dropped yesterday on Mother’s Day.
For the uninitiated, Ali Wong is a fearless, Asian-American comic, writer and actress who performed both of her stand-up specials in the third trimester of her two pregnancies. Her latest special levels up on the comedy including the insight (and terror) she gleaned from raising her now 2-year-old daughter.
“Just because you became a parent, doesn’t mean you grew up!" she proclaims midway through this wickedly funny romp on motherhood, marriage, work and being a fully-realized woman. It's just a taste of the hilarity ahead.
We last heard from this comic powerhouse in 2016 with her hit debut Netflix special "Baby Cobra." Since then, fame and fortune came knocking.
Where her husband — the Harvard-educated, tech executive — was once the "breadwinner" of the family, she and he have swapped. She now makes more than hhe does and Wong’s irreverent take on her newfound fame, breadwinner status and balancing it all — or not — is equally raw and insightful.
Personally, I couldn’t wait to watch this yesterday so after my family made Mother’s Day breakfast, I grabbed my headphones and laptop, snuggled into my unmade bed and enjoyed a little “me time” because this was going to be an event.
And Wong? She didn't disappoint.
I burst out laughing so many times that my children and husband kept popping their heads in to see what was going on. But I quickly shooed them away. It was Mother’s Day after all and Mommy gets to do something for herself.
Throughout "Hard Knock Wife," Wong delivers hilarious anecdotes about the trials of breastfeeding, the horror of post-baby body changes and shifting marital power dynamics. (It was as if she eavesdropped upon my house during the newborn weeks with our two kids.)
She even dares to reveal the deep, universal secrets that no one — not my Mom, girlfriends or mountain of parenting books — ever revealed to me: There are hospital diapers for moms.
As if to tie that all up in a bow, Wong cleverly weaves in a convincing argument for paid maternal leave.
She also delves into a grab bag of relationship insights, too. Wong doesn’t shy away from discussing sex or the fact that she’s a fully-realized sexual person. That aspect of a mom sometimes can get shoved aside. So it’s refreshing to see a clearly expectant mom talking about this subject with such enthusiasm. Could anything be more awesome?
It’s rare to see an Asian-American comic. It’s even rarer to see a pregnant woman headlining a stand-up special, but we absolutely need to see more of this. Not only was it empowering to me as a woman, a mother and an Asian-American, but Wong doesn’t temper her subject matter or her unflinching commentary one bit.
In fact, motherhood has only amplified the Ali Wong we love and I am here for all of it.