Ali goes big, unrelatable, and smart. Aziz goes small, feigning understated too-cool-for-school, yet in-line with his older comedy. Ali Wong has been big, brash, and TMI in every way consistently through all of her specials She has a steady climb upwards in trajectory. She is on brand. AND she is clever. She spends 95% of
Ali goes big, unrelatable, and smart. Aziz goes small, feigning understated too-cool-for-school, yet in-line with his older comedy.
Ali Wong has been big, brash, and TMI in every way consistently through all of her specials She has a steady climb upwards in trajectory. She is on brand. AND she is clever. She spends 95% of her special making herself into a wild maniac with ‘naughty’ written over every single joke. Ali Wong is the Queen of self-exposure. And she structurally nails it by bringing it home with a 5% dessert, she ends up exposing a through-line from all of her specials in one truly understated moment of reality check. She is unapologetic yet she is ultimately just a funny person with a wonderful sense of humor.
I always thought Aziz was putting on too much in past specials, not being true to what makes him funny. His show, Master of None, seemed to hit his brand of comedy perfectly. This special is the first actual comedy special to get there. But, come on, it is just a little too bitter and overly dramatic in moments that feel like he still hasn’t processed his public shaming. He is just ounces away from seeming at peace – and MAYBE getting there was actually going out and doing this special. He has owned everything, but he has swung so far that he is not cohesive – in the way that Russel Brand is just a teeeeensy bit too spiritually advanced to be doing actual comedy and maintaining the consistency of what he says and what he does. For Aziz, doing a surprise Cellar comedy special in this way seems to say “I’m above the big special, now” … but taking a cue from Chapelle on how to jump-start a comeback. Maybe that’s it. Maybe this is the first in a bunch of “street cred” specials to win back the comedy scene before really winning back that fanbase. Either way, it was funny, but disjointed.
Both comedians spend their main themes on inequality – be it gender inequality or income inequality or access inequity. Both have understated messages that shine through perfectly. These are comedians at the height of their skill, which makes it easier to critique. They can take it.
Watch them BOTH, this isn’t a one-or-the-other piece, this is a joyful dissection of different types of specials. Enjoy both of them here-
Ali Wong: Don Wong
She is an actress and writer, known for Ali Wong: Baby Cobra (2016), Always Be My Maybe (2019) and Birds of Prey (2020). In her third Netflix stand-up special, Ali Wong reveals her wildest fantasies, the challenges of monogamy and how she really feels about single people.
What are people saying?
From “Ali Wong Embraces Unrelatability” By Kathryn VanArendonk, “She tends to end up somewhere unpleasant, even alienating, but there’s a bracing expression of honesty in her assessment…. Her annoyance is ungenerous, but it’s appealingly transparent. Much of Wong’s material is about being conscious of money — her two guideposts are money and sex, and she’s particularly happy when she can loop them together.“
From “In Trying To Speak For Everyone, Ali Wong Loses Herself” By Abigail Covington, “Wong’s honest reflections on her seemingly healthy marriage prove a much more effective and funny means for exploring power, sex, and gender dynamics than the universal claims that make up the majority of Don Wong. In fact, the biggest laughs of the night come when she discusses people asking her husband how he feels about what she says on stage (a dated question in and of itself). “You know, right now, while we’re all here” teases Wong. “My husband is at home, in the house that I bought, telling time on the Rolex I got him for Father’s Day, jacking off to porn that he streams on the high-speed internet that I pay for every month … .” As Wong continues, the paradigm shifts and the perfect punchline comes into view: “He doesn’t give a shit about what I say on stage, because he’s too busy living the life I wanted for myself!” Turns out some men do like powerful women, and that Wong’s jokes about her happy, supportive partnership can be just as incisive and funny as the more confrontational ones she built her well-earned reputation on.”
Click To Watch on NETFLIX HERE
Aziz Ansari: Nightclub Comedian
Starting out in television like the hit comedy Parks and Recreation (2009), he later had bit parts in the films I Love You, Man (2009), Funny People (2009), and Get Him to the Greek(2010), among others, before co-starring in the comedy 30 Minutes or Less (2011). After another year of lockdowns, Aziz takes the stage to skewer pandemic life, quarantines, vaccine cards, celebrity side-gigs, smartphones and more.
What are people saying about it?
From “Aziz Ansari: Nightclub Comedian review – standup looks back in cynical Netflix special” by Brian Logan, “Aziz Ansari’s career has been dramatically carved in two since the sexual misconduct allegations made against him four years ago, which he denied. Before: a slick and optimistic comic with the world at his feet. After: an ever more downbeat and cynical act appraising how “shitty” we all are – especially as regards our hunger for celebrity gossip. Ansari’s new special Nightclub Comedian is the third of his shows that I’ve seen since the accusations, and the third that encodes in one routine after another (and even in a joke we hear performed by the preceding act) his unresolved feelings about the episode. …This sit-down rather than standup special purports to show our host humbly reconnecting with no-frills club comedy, in contrast (he suggests) to the corporate empire-building of the likes of Kevin Hart. But this is humility as performed for Netflix, so claims to a newfound modesty ring hollow. Then there are the gags – notably, the one imagining Timothée Chalamet exposed to public disgrace for an incident with an Asian man and some bubble tea – that seem to address all over again Ansari’s own travails. It’s another glimpse, then, of a comic with technique and intelligence to spare – but not the slightest vestige of the gilded good cheer of old.”
From “Aziz Ansari’s Nostalgic New Comedy Special” By Carrie Battan, “His new special, “Nightclub Comedian,” shows how far he has come from that era of physicality and ardor. Brief, unstudied, and muted, the special begins with a shot of Ansari, now thirty-eight, standing backstage at the Comedy Cellar, waiting to be called onstage for a performance that has not yet been announced to the venue’s guests. Gone is the suit, replaced with a cardigan and a knit beanie. When Ansari sits on a stool in front of the crowd, he is almost at eye level; this gives the comedy special the feel of an intimate conversation among peers rather than a superstar on a pedestal performing to civilians. These are aesthetic decisions with ethical undertones, designed to signal that Ansari, one of the most successful comedians of the past twenty years, is actually a man of the people. …
But Ansari’s disdain for online culture has, I’m guessing, been informed by his own brush with scandal. That was in 2018, when a now defunct site, babe.net, published an anonymous account by a young woman who’d had an extremely discomfiting sexual experience with Ansari. The piece made Ansari out to be a bumbling and sexually entitled male celebrity, and it fell into the gray area of the #MeToo movement’s long tail: first came the scandal, then came the backlash to the scandal, and the questioning of whether a story like babe.net’s was worth publishing.
After the piece became Internet fodder, Ansari was humiliated but not banished from the industry by any means.“
Click To Watch on NETFLIX HERE