On Friday night I was figuring out what I wanted to watch on the DVR and noticed that a “Joe Wong” was going to be a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman. I wound up watching The Late Show live and learning that he’s a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Chinese American comedian making his network television debut – four years in the making.
Joe initially came across as a stereotypical, William Hung-esque geeky Chinese American with an accent, and I wondered if he would be mocked by the audience; the Asian American comedians I’ve seen up until now, such as Vietnamese American Dat Phan, don’t usually have strong accents or come across as FOB’s.
Overall, most of his material was based on his immigrant experience and stereotypical Asian American type jokes, but he did start to win over the audience as he progressed. At the end of his set, I was impressed, given my initial concern of Joe reinforcing a stereotype, when in reality, he’s really breaking a stereotype – I mean, how many Asian Americans do you know who are comedians? Especially those who have accented English?
I really wonder how comedians, especially those starting off or those who are married and have kids, can make a living? I hope Joe can and wish him the best of luck. In doing some quick research on Joe, I came across some a few interesting articles on him in the Boston Globe.