Ali Wong is not a comedy nerd. "Most female comics aren't," she says. Her only two comedy influences were Dave Attell and Eddie Murphy. "I think that's better almost," she says. Take, for example, Rachel Maddow. "I don't think she watches other news programs, because she wants hers to be its own thing." While she understands the need to watch other standups, she feels her limited exposure to other comedians helped her find her voice faster. "Being an Asian-American woman, there's really no way my point of view could be the same as my influences." It was at a young age that Wong figured out that comedy might be her true calling. "I tried all of things you're supposed to do — like tennis and piano. My father is a doctor, so I thought maybe I wanted to go into medicine. I was never really good at any of those things, and never felt at home doing them." On the other hand, making people laugh came quite naturally — especially in high school. "I was president of the student body, and held meetings once a month. I felt, 'I'm good at this.' Not at being president," she notes, "but hosting and being in front of people." While studying in Vietnam, and feeling frustrated at her inability to communicate effectively with the locals, she decided to move back home to San Francisco and become a comedian. She has since made a few appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, though the first time she was offered that spot she had to pass. "It was the same day my boyfriend was graduating from Harvard," she recalls. "I thought, 'I can do The Tonight Show and get a TV credit, or I can go to my boyfriend's graduation from Harvard and poke a hole in the condom.'" 18+; 21+ later shows.
Oct. 11-14, 8 p.m.; Oct. 12-13, 10:30 p.m., 2012