Why Ali Wong Does Asian Comedy Right and Esther Ku is an Epic Fail


Comedy star Ali Wong and “emerging” comic Esther Ku started doing stand-up around the same time over a decade ago.

Through the years, both of their careers have made some interesting progress, albeit at a significantly different pace.

Aside from being both Asian American female comics, they also share similarities in their use of vulgar and crass language during their sets, which are also both heavily focused on race.

But what sets each of them apart is how they tackle their favorite subject. Wong, 35, does it with such flair that many have commended her for breaking Asian stereotypes, while Ku, 38, does it with a style many criticize to be self-hating and feeding on such stereotypes.

Here are some excerpts from their performances showing the contrast between how the two comics tackle being Asian in their comedy material:

via Instagram / aliwong

Wong on stereotypes

“I have a hoarding problem because my mom is from a third world country and she taught me that you can never throw away anything because you never know when a dictator is gonna overtake the country and snatch all your wealth.”

“My mom is 80, going through a full-blown mid-life crisis. ‘Cause she knows that she’s got a century more to go.”

Ku on stereotypes

“I went to Korea once it was really weird everybody was Korean. My relatives came to pick me up I got in the wrong car like ten times. You guys think you can’t tell us apart? We can’t tell either.”

“My girlfriends are always asking me they’re like how do you stay so skinny… I mean it’s an ancient Korean secret that dog is like 25% more lean than Turkey duh”

Wong on Asian women

“Asian-American women who, like, you know, wear these kinda glasses and have a lot of opinions, they like to date white dudes. You go to any hipster neighborhood in a major city in America and that shit is turning into a Yoko Ono factory.”

Ku on Asian women

“There’s this guy, he looks like he’s surprised to see an Asian and pigtails without punching in his credit card number”

Wong on Asian men

“Asian-American men are very underrated. I don’t know why people don’t go for them. They’re the sexiest. Asian men are the sexiest. They got no body hair from the neck down. It’s like making love to a dolphin. Oh, my God. It’s so smooth, just like a slip and slide. Just blackfish, Tilikum, all up in my bed every night, you know? Ooh-wee. You mess with a Jewish dude and your body is all fucked up afterward. It’s all red and inflamed and you’re like, ‘I did not ask to be exfoliated today.’ ‘This is the last time I go on J-date, more like loofah date. Thanks for the rug burn, Avi.’ And then Asian men, no body odor. None. They just smell like responsibility. That’s where the umami flavor comes from.”

“Stop dating skaters unless you wanna wake up on a mattress in a kitchen. They’re sexy on the outside, malt liquor on the inside. Horrible. But my husband, I first met him at this wedding and, uh, he’s– he’s much better looking than me, he’s way out of my league, and I saw him and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, who is that?’ And the first thing I learned about him was that, at the time, he was attending Harvard Business School. And I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m gonna trap his ass.’ ‘Going to trap his ass!’”

via Instagram / estherkuku

Ku on Asian Men

“When I have kids, they’re going to be really weird looking. Because they’re going to be half Asian and half regular. And people are always like ‘you don’t like Asian guys?’ and I’m like ‘no, I like regular people’. Because regular people have regular-sized sausages.”

“I feel bad that [Asian guys] are all single, but not bad enough to date them. Last week, this Asian guy asked me out and I was just like ‘jeez, when are they going to realize that Asian girls are just way out of their league?’”

Wong on identity

“Him and I are both total, like, private school Asians. We both are big hippies, too. We like to backpack through Southeast Asia. We like to do yoga. We do ayahuasca ceremonies. We do silent meditation retreats… sometimes, all of this hippy-dippy shit we do… makes me feel like we are white people doing an impression of Asian people.”

Ku on identity

“I’m completely American I was born here. I mean I’m so American I’m against immigration because I’m here already… Whenever I miss my grandparents, I could always turn on the TV and watch reruns of M.A.S.H.”

#HardKnockWife out on #MothersDay @netflix

A post shared by Ali Wong (@aliwong) on

Ku, who now hosts a YouTube podcast called “Hello Crypto Kitty Podcast,” recently performed at Clive’s cafe in Florida.

Meanwhile, Wong, who wrote for the first three seasons of the sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat,” has a new Netflix special called “Hard Knock Wife” coming up next month.

Featured Image via YouTube / Oldies Parodies and Comedy Dynamics