For the past year, I've called Ali Wong one of stand-up comedy's most exciting new voices, an opinion based solely on her Netflix special, "Baby Cobra," taped when she was seven months pregnant, and a performance I caught last fall in Washington DC.
Her appearance Saturday at the State Theatre did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm.
The 35-year-old comic could be an even bigger star on the stand-up circuit if she toured more, but the demands of both a newborn and Hollywood -- she currently stars in ABC's "American Housewife" and just signed a movie deal with Netflix -- have kept her road appearances limited, making her one-night stand in Minneapolis an extra special treat.
Her busy schedule may explain why Wong's performance clocked in at only an hour with little fresh material since I saw her last year. That's not unusual for comics, who often spend two years polishing their act, but it did seem weird when she talked about how "sexless" her marriage had become since giving birth even though she appeared to be pregnant again, something she never addressed on stage (her character on the network sitcom is with child this season).
Instead, Wong stuck to the trials and tribulations a woman faces in the months after giving birth, brilliantly dissecting the horrors of breast feeding, diaper changing and limited maternity leave, territory relatively untouched in the past in the male-dominated world of stand-up.
Wong's delivery -- soothing and restrained, punctuated by bursts of ferocity -- is as potent as her frank material, most of which is too blue to share in print.
At one point, Wong reflected on her meteoric rise over the past year, admitting that her management had to issue Groupon tickets to fill the theatres for the taping of her "Baby Cobra" special. Now Wong's star is so bright, she could have her good-sport husband selling $60 posters in the lobby after the show.
If the comedian can somehow make more time for live performances, expect those souvenirs to get priced even higher.