UPDATED WITH VIDEO! Boston-based comedian Joe Wong will make his network television debut tonight on Late Show with David Letterman, and many of you will be seeing him for the first time. Wong taped his set on Monday and was terrific. Which is great news, not only for Wong, but also for Eddie Brill, who books the comedians for the show (and also warms up the studio audiences) and gets credit now for giving Wong his big break. Wong, a Chinese immigrant who graduated from Rice University in Houston, would joke a lot about the clashing cultures when he emerged in the Boston comedy scene. I remember seeing Wong more than hold his own on the lineup of a charity show three years ago that wedged him between Lenny Clarke and Steven Wright. Audiences warm easily to him. Here's a quick joke from Wong:
My friend Nick Zaino talked to both Brill and Wong about how they worked together for years to get the comedian ready for his TV debut. One tip that stood out to me was how Wong has changed his facial expressions since I last saw him.
"I used to laugh or smile after my jokes," he says. "So they put a stop on that one. After that, I do the jokes with more of a straight face, and it actually works better. That's something I never noticed before he pointed it out."
Related: Eddie Brill offers his next six-hour "intensive feedback workshop" for comedians on Saturday, April 18, at Gotham Comedy Club. There was still an opening or two for this limited day-long workshop when Brill and I chatted this morning.
UPDATED WITH BETTER VIDEO! So much to love about this clip. How Wong looks without smiling after the jokes. How he pauses between tags to allow each one to hit. How the jacket makes him look so young. How innocently he reacts after his set, wanting a quick bow and heading offstage, as if it were just another set. Great job, Joe! Will include this clip until Wong and/or CBS puts an official one up. Enjoy: