If laughter is truly the best medicine, then our last hero for AAPI Heritage Month is someone everyone should rally around. Rounding out our month of highlights is the one and only AAPI megastar Ali Wong.
How You Know Her
She's made two landmark Netflix comedy specials, "Baby Cobra" (2016) and "Hard Knock Wife" (2018). Both are hilariously funny. And both were filmed when Ali Wong was 7 months pregnant. Subsequently, the specials possess a unique and awesome perspective.
The entertainer is also the star, co-writer, and producer of the 2019 rom com "Always Be My Maybe." She stars opposite real-life friend (and film co-writer) Randall Park.
She also provides the voice of Bertie on the acclaimed animated show "Tuca & Bertie" alongside Tiffany Haddish and Steven Yeun.
And Time Magazine named Ali Wong one of 2020's 100 Most Influential People.
Her Life So Far
AAPI star Ali Wong was born in San Francisco in 1982. Her father was a Chinese American anesthesiologist. Her mother was a South Vietnamese immigrant and social worker. She graduated high school as student body class president. She then attended UCLA and majored in Asian American Studies. At college, she also performed with the the LCC Theatre Company (which includes alum Randall Park).
Upon graduation in the mid '00s, Wong moved to New York and began her career on the stand-up comedy circuit. By the early 2010s, Wong expanded into tv and features.
TV roles included "Are You There, Chelsea?" (based on Chelsea Handler's memoirs) and the medical drama "Black Box." Movies have included Oliver Stone's "Savages," "Birds of Prey" and voice roles in the animated features "The Angry Birds Movie" and "The Lego Ninjago Movie."
Upon series star Randall Park's recommendation, Wong became a writer for "Fresh Off the Boat" starting in 2014. By the mid-late 2010s, Wong became an international comedy star with her two Netflix specials. Both were heralded for their raw, hilarious tales about Asian culture, Wong's sexuality, and her impending motherhood.
Wong followed up those specials with the acclaimed "Always Be My Maybe," which earned critical raves (89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and became one of Netflix's most popular films.
The Movie to See
"Always Be My Maybe" is a showcase for Ali Wong and the AAPI community. It's a super fun rom com about two friends, played by Wong and Randall Park, who could be perfect for each other if they would only allow themselves to see each other that way. Beyond the performers working at their peak, the movie features a couple of amazing cameos from superstars Daniel Dae Kim and Keanu Reeves (as himself).
It's one of the best romantic comedies of the 2010s, and worth revisiting often.
What's Up Next
Wong has yet to announce her next big screen feature, but fans of her cartoon "Tuca & Bertie" have reason to celebrate. Initially set for cancellation after one season on Netflix, the show was picked up by the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. The second season is set to debut a couple weeks from now on June 13, 2021.
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.