Comedian Ali Wong’s hilarious stand-up special, Hard Knock Wife, premiered on Netflix on Mother’s Day.
Wong rose to fame with her first comedy special, “Baby Cobra,” filmed when she was pregnant with her first daughter. In Baby Cobra, Wong candidly joked about dating, “trapping” her husband, miscarriage, and sex. Named as one of the best stand-up specials of 2016, Wong was declared “a tremendous, uncompromising, lewd comedian with a point of view and style that deserves to be celebrated.”
Similarly, Hard Knock Wife was filmed when Wong was pregnant with her second child. She’s as funny as ever as she jokes about breastfeeding, what’s she’s realized about being a mom, and of course, her sex life. And that’s why we love her: She isn’t afraid to skewer the harsh realities of motherhood.
Since coming on the scene, Wong has been vocal about the challenges she’s faced as a female stand-up comedian. She’s labeled a “mom comic,” even though, as she explained to the Hollywood Reporter, “every male comedian of note who is over the age of 45 has a kid, and they talk about it and don’t get grouped as ‘dad comics.'”
As Jason Zinoman wrote in a recent New York Times profile, “she bristled when describing a fellow comic who said pregnancy was becoming her trademark. ‘Pregnancy is not rainbow suspenders,’ [Wong] said, exasperated.”
Still, as a talented, raunchy performer who’s addressing “taboo” subjects relating to womanhood and motherhood, she’s smashing barriers for legions of female comics. As Alison Herman wrote in the Ringer, “We’ve never had a stand-up of Wong’s caliber talk about hoarding adult diapers from the hospital. What happens when Wong’s kids get old enough for her to join the PTA?” (We don’t have the answer to that question, either, but we can’t wait!)
Until then, we’ll be watching Hard Knock Wife on repeat. Here, we ranked the five realest Mom jokes in Wong’s new special. (Note: Watching Wong deliver these jokes is about 1,000,000x funnier than reading them, so we highly recommend watch it ASAP.)
5. On Breastfeeding
“Giving birth ain’t nothing compared to breastfeeding! Breastfeeding is brutal. It is chronic physical torture. I thought it was supposed to be this beautiful bonding ceremony… Breastfeeding is this savage ritual that just reminds you that your body is a cafeteria now! It don’t belong to you no more.”
4. On Getting Your Baby to Latch
“I didn’t take any classes on breastfeeding because I just assumed it was going to be this very easy intuitive thing where the baby sucks on your nipple like a straw…. But apparently, you have to get the baby to latch on at a very specific angle. You gotta tilt their head and do geometry to get them on properly… And every time I would do it, it was like parallel parking. I don’t know how I did it! It’s a mystery. I was never properly trained, but I just did it.”
3. On Double Standards
“My husband occasionally changes diapers, and when people hear that, [mimics head exploding], ‘Oh my god,’ confetti everywhere! ‘I cannot believe that your husband changes diapers! What a doting modern father. Lucky you!’
When my baby girl was first born, I would do skin-to-skin contact every day to bond with her.
She shit on my chest. Where’s my confetti at?”
Another reason we love Wong? She’s fully aware and sensitive about what her growing fame means for her husband. She explained, “I have to run jokes by him or I lose my marriage. That’s not worth a cool joke.”
2. On Maternity Leave
“In every other First World country — Canada, France, Germany — women get up to three years off paid maternity leave when they have a new baby. In the US, we get jack shit. In the US, there is zero federal policy for maternity leave.
Maternity leave is not just to bond with the baby. Fuck the baby! Maternity leave is for new moms to hide and heal their demolished-ass bodies!”
This got the biggest cheer in the special.
1. On Family-Work Balance
“A lot of people like to ask me, ‘Ali, how on Earth do you balance family and career?’ Men never get asked that question… because they don’t.
They just neglect the child for like 90% of the day, and that’s perfectly socially acceptable, but the standards for dads are so low because they get so much praise for doing so little.”