By: Lauren De Vries
Yes, it is not yet the end of JFL42, but I think I can safely say that I’ve seen my two favourite shows. And they happened on the same night. And both of the comics are named ‘Ali’. What can I say? I’m consistent.
Ali Wong and Ali Siddiq both performed hardcore sets to enthusiastic crowds. Both of them broached topics that are not usually heard in standup, namely prison and the brutal aftermath of pregnancy. Both had environmental elements that interrupted their sets, Wong by a baby partway through her act that gave her “PTSD flashbacks” and Siddiq by broken air conditioning that left him and his entire audience sweating throughout the show. Both also had a distinctive stage presence, Wong slowly circling the stage like a predator, her voice going from low and slow to an angry yell at the drop of a punchline. Siddiq by performing his standup sitting, standing, and leaning, making full use of the three props onstage. In short, they both killed.
And I have to mention the heat in Ali Siddiq’s show again, because I don’t think you understand just how phenomenal Siddiq’s performance was considering what he was up against. I seriously considered leaving the show. It was so hot, I felt like I was going to pass out or fall asleep. I did neither of those things because I was laughing so hard. Siddiq’s performance was so funny and so interesting that I forgot that I was dying of heat stroke. And I was not the one standing under a row of lights trying to perform standup about my harrowing experiences in the US prison system.
On the other hand, Wong’s show was perfectly air conditioned, but she joyously inflicted shocked and uncomfortable laughter on the audience like, say, a woman beating a person with a duct-taped hose (please see Ali Siddiq’s standup to understand this reference). I’ve read a lot of reviews that praise Ali Wong for saying what nobody will say about pregnancy and women’s bodies, but guys she really said what no one else is saying about pregnancy and women’s bodies. And she said it graphically. Very graphically. I have experienced secondhand ghost vagina pains for days now. And while saying that may seem inappropriate, I suggest that you watch some of Ali Wong’s new material and you will understand that I am seriously editing my physical reaction to this show.
In short, both standups are phenomenal and I don’t understand why they’re not touring together. The merchandise alone would make it worthwhile. Make it happen, guys!
Ali Siddiq is still performing one more show at JFL42 September 27th at 11PM at the Garrison. Click on the link to get your tickets, I’ve been back since, they’ve fixed the air conditioning! You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram.