Funny girl


POSTED: Friday, November 06, 2009

Ali Wong was named best stand-up comic this year by both alternative newspapers in San Francisco.

So how does she return the love? She goes and changes her home address from the Bay Area to New York City for a career move, where she's been since mid-March.

Wong returns to Honolulu again this year for GiRL FeST, where the popular comic will debut her relatively more “;sophisticated”; stage act that she's honed since living in the Big Apple.

“;Because I was working in San Francisco for almost four years, I became sort of the new comedian to gain a following,”; she said by telephone from her newly adopted home. “;What also helped was I also put on shows with lineups of popular comics.

“;A lot of women credited me for speaking out, telling stories from my perspective. I'm known for being kind of hard-core on stage, going off about dating men, talking about my first one-night stand and also once being rejected by a virgin.”;





        With special guest Ali Wong

» Where: University of Hawaii at Manoa, Art Building Auditorium


» When: 8 p.m. today


» Cost: $10 general admission, $5 for students (all ages)


» Info: 599-3931 or girlfesthawaii.org


» Note: Wong will also appear at tomorrow's GiRL FeST opening night party at NextDoor alongside the Taiko Center of the Pacific, Cherry Blossom Cabaret and DJs Toki and Monkey ($7-$25 sliding scale admission applies)




As far as changes in her act, Wong said “;I tell a lot longer, personal stories now. Before, I'd tell just a lot of jokes.

“;The change started in San Francisco right as I was leaving. ... At my age and experience in life now, some of my stories revolve around being the bridesmaid at friends' weddings—being annoyed of having to pick a gift from a registry—and eating Whole Foods samples for lunch.”;

Wong toned down her wacky persona by also changing her onstage hairstyle.

“;I don't wear my hair up anymore,”; she said. “;That was a decision I made a month ago. I'm now 27, so why should I look like a kid? I think the new look gives me better credibility as a stand-up.

“;I used to be uncomfortable talking about my sexuality onstage, so I thought men and women wouldn't take me as seriously if I dressed up like a cartoon character. I dressed like that for a long time. But I've dropped that whole look. What I look like onstage is pretty much the same as I am offstage.”;

WONG ADMITS moving to New York City by herself was scary. It took her a month to hustle up her first paying gig.

“;I felt I needed to do it because I like to be inspired, and this city certainly does that. It took some time, but I've since made a lot of friends here. Unfortunately, my friends are all males. I can't stand it! I don't want to do any more beer and alcohol!


        Ali Wong

“;My dream is to make what I call 'jungle Asian' female friends. Back in San Francisco, I knew Cambodians, Laotians and Vietnamese. There's not many of that kind of women of my age in Manhattan. I really like female friends. They tend to make me laugh more. So in my ongoing search, I seem to be going out more on these weird female dates, with the usual anxiety that goes with dating, like I'm nervous if she's going to call, picking out the right outfit and checking out her Facebook profile.

“;I'm single now, and even though it seems I'm never free at night, I've learned never to date another comic. They have no health insurance! And I don't get why 'civilian' women who are not comics always try to one-up me in trying to be funny.

“;I want what every woman wants, to be taken care of. You want to be hilarious? Pay for dinner!”;

Although Wong jokingly said that, yes, New York City “;smells like vomit, and rats are constantly falling into our laps all the time,”; she loves living in such a crazy place.

“;It's intense and there's real diversity here. In San Francisco it's gays and Asians, and here there are black people (Cubans) that speak fluent Spanish. That blew me away! And where I live in SoHo, I see all these models walking around looking like female mutants. Some of them are as tall as 6-5, and they're so skinny, they look like prepubescent boys that are stretched out with these celestial faces.”;