5 Pieces Of Career Advice From Comedian Ali Wongs New Book Dear Girls – Forbes

Posted: October 16, 2019 at 8:50 pm


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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 30: Ali Wong attends The Hollywood Reporter's Empowerment in Entertainment event 2019 at Milk Studios on April 30, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Ali Wong, the actress, writer and stand-up comedian known for her two Netflix comedy specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife, publishes her debut memoir Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice For Living Your Best Life, a chronicle of her life as an up-and-coming comic. Wong constantly gives advice in her stand-up routines and she instructs women to bring diapers (for themselves) to the hospital when theyre about to deliver a baby and to read self-help books if they feel like theyre a bad person, but now she has written down her advice in the form of a series of letters to her two daughters that make up her new book. Wong gives a large range of advice and covers numerous topics, and she gives a fair bit of career advice to aspiring stand-up comedians that can apply to any career. Below are five pieces of career advice she gives in her new book Dear Girls:

Fear Can Be A Good Motivator

Wong signed a prenuptial agreement before she married her husband, she says her in-laws insisted, and writes what they mean is, We still dont trust that b****. If she failed at stand-up and got divorced, she was basically left with nothing. She knew then she never wanted to rely on her husband to be the only source of income for their family. Wong writes, I was very motivated to make my own money because I signed a document specifically outlining how much I couldnt depend on my husband. My father always praised the gift of fear and that prenup scared the s*** out of me. In the end, being forced to sign that prenup was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me and my career.

You Have To Want It

Wong has a theory for why stand-up comedy doesnt appeal to women: safety. She points to the alone time, and when she is on the road, the number of times a day she has to share a car with strangers, for women it increases the odds of harassment, assault, etc. exponentially. She discusses how she walks through parking lots after shows late at night with keys between her fingers and sleeps in cheap, unsafe motel roomsits not a glamorous life. You gotta want it really bad to constantly put yourself in those situations, writes Wong. You have to really love stand-up and embrace every s***** thing that comes with it.

Its Important To Fail & Enjoy It

No one is born a great stand-up comedian, or born great at anything really. People become great by trying and failing consistently, improving on those failures and not losing enthusiasm for the work. Nobody is great at stand-up comedy right away and its important to have room to experiment, find your voice and, most important, to fail, writes Wong. In stand-up comedy failing on stage is called bombing, and Wong relishes it. She believes aspiring comedians must love bombing in order to be a great comic. I think all you need to be a good stand-up is to have a unique point of view, be funny, and enjoy bombing in front of strangers. You really do have to learn to like bombing a lot.

Dont Take A Class, Do The Work

Wong writes that if you want to be a stand-up the one thing you should not do is take a stand-up class, she calls them hacky, and says its a widely held view in the stand-up comedy community. If you want to learn how to do stand-up comedy, you have to do stand-up: go out to small, gritty comedy clubs, try new material, bomb, then get up and do it again.

Doing the open-mic circuit is real stand-up comedy class. Thats when you really find out if you have the strength and stamina to make a real audience laugh. The audiences for those stand-up comedy class shows are made up of friends and family of the students in the class. Its not a real audience. Those laughs arent genuine. Those classes are a sham because theyre too safe and nobody will respect you if they ever learn you took them.

Move Away From Home

At several points in the book, from when she moves to college, to studying abroad, traveling after college to when she moves to New York to do stand-up, Wong champions leaving the nest and seeing the world. Not only to learn about the world, but to understand who you are outside of your family. At some point you gotta go. Mama loves you but its important to get out of your hometown and get the f*** away from your familyWhen I got away from them, I finally felt like I could be the person I was meant to be, she writes.

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5 Pieces Of Career Advice From Comedian Ali Wongs New Book Dear Girls - Forbes

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October 16th, 2019 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Self-Help