Ali Wong had the audience in constant laughter on her Milk and Money tour, which stopped in Dallas this past weekend. The show, which sold out not once, but twice on two dates at the Winspear Opera House and prompted the addition of a third date at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, delivered on her usual themes of relationship power and sexual humor.
Without missing a beat following her introduction, Wong jumped right into talking about sex, wondering why women fans so easily fall for male stand-up comics while their female counterparts end up with uncomfortable messages from weird men. This prompted Wong to lift her dress up past her belly button to reveal her underwear and roll her stomach like a belly dancer, mimicking the graphic direct messages she must receive from men and quickly establishing why the audience was required to put all phones in locked pouches before entering the venue.
For anyone who has seen her two Netflix specials - Baby Cobra in 2016 and Hard Knock Wife last year - it came as no surprise to hear Wong make graphic sexual jokes with, well, uncomfortable imagery. Though overall, this act somehow seemed less raunchy than her specials. But what the show lacked in descriptions of sex positions, it made up for in vivid details of colonscopies and body fluids.
Her longest running bit was about her fantasy of cheating on her husband but realizing the logistical barriers that it would create - like a pricey divorce, convincing a lover to keep quiet, or not being able to connect with a young, single man anyway. It tied into an overall theme of Wong questioning why society struggles with the idea of women who have money, power and respect. (“Why is there not a word for a male mistress?”).
Her specials have never gotten political, and politics were mostly absent from this show as well. Though, in one bit, she joked about how, as a mom, she has no time for superfluous activities that single people enjoy, like watching the eclipse. And she reminded everyone how President Trump stared directly at the solar eclipse back in 2017. That particularly got a lot of laughs and claps.
Another topic that was less present in this show than in her specials was race, which was a little disappointing since it’s one of her few not-raunchy-but-still-hilarious themes (though she did manage to slip in her impression of an old Vietnamese woman).
The audience, in which Asians were noticeably represented, clearly came to laugh, and it made for a contagious environment. At times, the laughter was so loud that it was hard to make out the end of a joke.
Part of what makes Wong’s comedy - in which the majority of topics are not overly original - work so well is her delivery. She is loud, sarcastic, sassy and minces no words. The way she walks across stage in small, rigid steps is so particular, and she talks from her gut, moving her whole body with hand gestures and leaning closer when emphasizing a point. In her specials, her facial expressions, with wide eyes and skeptical faces, really hit it home, and that particular strength didn’t translate as well from farther away in person.
While most comedians will interact with the audience during the show, Wong never directly spoke with or at any audience members. For that reason, the show felt similar to watching one of her comedy specials as an unattached viewer. Wong actually hardly mentioned Dallas or Texas, except when she talked about traveling for her tour and how she flew here on Southwest Airlines. (Celebrities, they’re just like us!)
A pleasant surprise was Wong’s opener, Sheng Wang. Wang, a native Texan, has an impressive reputation himself, having been featured on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and worked with Wong on ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat. He needed very little time to warm up the audience, using deadpan humor to talk about a wide range of topics from mammograms to being tall and able to pick better fruit on his neighbor’s tree for his Asian parents.
Sprinkled throughout the performance, Wong promoted her upcoming film Always Be My Maybe, in which Wong stars as a chef who rekindles a relationship with a childhood friend, played by Randall Park.