Review: Ali Wong, “Hard Knock Wife,” on Netflix

I can’t tell you how many acquaintances of mine have asked me about Ali Wong in the past couple of years. No, wait. Actually, I can tell you how many. ALL OF THEM.

Wong burst into the mainstream as the first comedian to become an “overnight sensation” thanks to Netflix with the release of her first special, Baby Cobra, on Mother’s Day 2016. And wouldn’t you know it, two years later, she dropped both another baby and another comedy baby, with Hard Knock Wife.

From, ‘Hey look, comedians can get pregnant and still work and be funnier than you,’ to ‘Oh, this, just another baby, no big deal.’ That’s the message below the surface.

The comedy message, meanwhile, is all about motherhood, from giving birth to raising a newborn. As I wrote in my review for Decider:

Her visualizations for breastfeeding are more numerous and graphic, describing her body at once like a human cafeteria, and also the process to the bear attack in The Revenant, parallel parking, the Bellagio fountain, and The Giving Tree. None of those even compare, though, to how Wong illustrates and acts out her friend’s physical plight, post-pregnancy. Spoiler alert: There will be queefs.

Read my full review of Ali Wong’s Netflix special, Hard Knock Wife, over at

Fun fact: When I knew Wong as a relatively new stand-up who had just moved from San Francisco to New York City a decade ago, she impressed me so much I created a new profile series just to spotlight promising comedians like her. Yes. She inspired the very first Meet Me In New York.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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