Spotlight: Joe Wong
How did you get into comedy?
After coming to the United States, I was very focused on the study for the first five years. But when I was at school, I read some articles that was written by Woody Allen that I thought was really funny. Around 2001, my co-workers took me to a comedy club and that was the first time I knew there was this art form in America called stand-up comedy. From that point on, I was really interested, when I moved from Texas to Boston. When you’re in a new city, you want to do something new, so I figured I might as well give this comedy thing a try. And that’s how I started.
What was your first stand-up performance like?
My first set is not as nice as this place. It was at a sports bar. People were watching sports on TV. There was a pool table and a bowling alley, very few people were paying attention. I remember doing my five-minute set and someone came up and said, “Hey, you’re probably funny, but I can’t understand what you’re saying.”
Do you still use any of the jokes from that performance?
Probably one joke that survived from my first set is, “I don’t want to go back to China because in China, I can’t do the thing I do best here: be ethnic.” That was the only joke that survived from the night.
Who were your influences?
Woody Allen, Mitch Hedberg is definitely one of my favorites. My all-time favorite, as far as stand-up comedy goes is George Carlin. He basically covers all the different techniques and areas in stand-up comedy. Watching him depresses me – oh my God, there’s nothing left for me to do.
How long have you been doing stand-up full time?
Since last July. It hasn’t been that long, but it’s been almost a year.
What’s next for you?
I’m still trying to develop more material. In the meantime, we’re trying to develop a sitcom reflecting the immigrant life. That’s the two things I’m working on right now.
Joe Wong is a Chinese American comedian from the Jilin Province of China. He moved to Boston where he began to perform comedy in 2001. He performed in Denver at Comedy Works from May 25 to 29, 2011. For more information, visit: www.joewongcomedy.com.