Who The Hell Is Joe Wong?

My buddy Farrell shot me an email Thursday. Here’s the gist:

I attended the Radio & Television Correspondents Dinner last night at the DC Convention Center. Joe Biden was the main speaker. A couple of funny lines in the beginning of his speech. Also, look for Joe Wong, a comedian, who wrapped up the evening. He has a final line about global warming. I thought of you.

First, I’m impressed Farrell was at the dinner. He is the International Man of Mystery™, but he’s never been a correspondent. At least he hasn’t been in the nearly thirty years I know him¹!

Second, who the hell is Joe Wong? Am I that far behind on comedians? I went to the C-SPAN site to look at the video. That’s when I found out this broadcast wasn’t even on ‘real’ C-SPAN, but C-SPAN 2–The Deuce.

Joe was introduced as having been on Letterman and Ellen Degeneres. That’s OK on a resume, but not great. He walked to the podium. If you were looking for a comedian he is not what you would have been looking for! Yet as soon as he began to speak the audience roared–and this is a very tough crowd!

Joe Wong is Chinese born, Rice educated. His accent is strong. His observations of our, now his, culture are dead on.

This was a great surprise–a wonderful surprise. I am now a Joe Wong fan.

Here’s the video from C-SPAN 2.

¹ – I met Farrell on the phone about 15 minutes before I knocked over and then met Helaine. That was a VERY good day!

10 Responses to “Who The Hell Is Joe Wong?”

  1. Josh says:

    I think the more prestigious White House Correspondents dinner is in May. Jay Leno will be the head comedian.

  2. DorisC says:

    Geoff,
    I have never heard of Joe Wong either, but I think we will be hearing more of him after that performance! Thanks for the laughs, always good to make sure you laugh, and laugh often!
    I also enjoy your little “snippets” you share about your life with Helaine. It is so refreshing, your continued “love story”. Its a reminder of what is important, and to value your spouse.
    Hope you are feeling better Mr. Fox!!

  3. I can’t believe anyone thinks joe wong is funny. I remember watching him in Cambridge, MA at a comedy club and it was painful. I will give some credit. His jokes are well written. But his delivery is down-right awful. I mean just plain bad. He has got no presence on stage. He stands there like a dead fish. And the novelty of being a foreign dude with an accent wears off very quickly. He will be popular for a while with same vanilla crowd that listens to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” or as I like to call it “Comedy for Librarians.” But that will eventually wear off too. Enjoy your 10 minutes Joe. They are almost up. Actually, he should write for a living. He would make a good comedy writer. But dang, horrible stage presence.

  4. yu says:

    I think Joe’s jokes are spot on and his delivery is what distinguishes him from other comedians. I’m sick and tired of comedians who are overly animated on stage and use fast talking, vulgarity and obscenity in order to draw laughs. As an immigrant telling immigrant jokes, he cannot be too polished and Americanized because then his jokes will lose their punch. His jokes are intelligent and sophisticated befitting someone of his background, and will appeal to a higher caliber of audience. To me, he is a breath of fresh air in comedy today and I wish him every success in the future.

  5. John says:

    I think people who enjoy Joe’s jokes are mostly educated or at least smart enough to get them. There is definitely a correlation between audience IQ and the degree of appreciation to his jokes. no pun intended.

  6. yu says:

    I did not enjoy the jokes of either Obama or Leno in the White House Correspondents Dinner because they were mostly insider jokes and lacked general appeal. It is a classic case of the jokes being too narrow thus giving the impression that they were simply exchanges between the White House and the reporters with occasional hits on the Republicans.

  7. yu says:

    I’m really amazed by the jokes that Joe Wong told at the RTCA Dinner. He was able to weave them into a series of well connected jokes which touched upon many facets of his immigrant life and the American culture. He started out by calling himself a “who” which was how most Americans reacted to an Asian name. And, yet, he was smart enough to weave that into the credit card security question. He then described his childhood by telling the audience how the cultural revolution had impacted it and ruined his childhood memory. How lucky American children are to have schooling today that is free from disruption and hardship. He then proceeded to his entry into Rice University in Texas. He highlighted discrimination by referring to bumper stickers on his used car that told non-English speakers to go home. He quickly followed by talking about bilingualism. It was a touch of genius to connect that with his American-born son becoming president someday and having to sign legislative bills in English and talk to Chinese debt collectors in Chinese. How timely it was for him to comment upon how much debt America owed to China at this juncture. Just observe how the audience reacted to that joke, many laughed and yet grinned at the same time knowingly. He then talked about deciding to stay in the US after graduation because he would be better off in this country for being ethnic. With this country’s lopsided emphasis on race and ethnicity, it was a very telling comment indeed. The most intriguing jokes were his reference to Benjamin Franklin, a clear and explicit comment on our social policies. People robbed convenience stores in search of Ben Franklin whose face was on $100 bills. With our justice system today, that could very well be a viable defense. He then used the same analogy for the second Amendment which allowed citizens to bear arms. The Roe vs Wade joke on abortion gave a twist to the way Cubans came into Florida by rowing and Mexicans into Texas by wading across the Rio Grande. The “white guilt” joke touched upon the often used phrase “all men were born equal”. After they were born, equality kind of depended on income, education and ability to pay health insurance. As a political comment, he poked fun at the election of Scott Brown as Republican’s answer to health care. Continuing on the political thread, he poked fun at Joe Biden, O’bama, especially about his not rejecting the Nobel peace prize. One could clearly see the embarrassment on Joe Biden’s face. He then switched and joked about those in the audience, the journalists calling them his peers in a tongue-in-cheek way. Journalists were the only people that could justify anything they said or published, such as being born in the year of the horse,therefore claiming to be a nay sayer. He then poked fun at C-SPAN and PBS and QVC. He reserved his best to the last and that was when he talked about his becoming a US citizen in 2008. America #1 referred to the presumptuousness of the US in assuming that the team that won the baseball series in the US would automatically be the world champion. He was very smart in using the “yes we can” election slogan of O’bama and Biden to arrive at his own “Who Cares” slogan. Here, he really delved into the political controversies over same sex marriage, unemployment and global warming in a lighthearted way but intelligent. The joke about using text messaging for diplomacy was brilliant. It was a technology most people could identify with and something that was such a hype in the last election. This is why I think Joe Wong is a genius among comedians today.

  8. Avo says:

    Yu, glad you enjoyed the jokes as much as I did. You definitely get him and your comments will help others get him!

  9. DLim says:

    First time heard about Joe Wong whilst watching another youtube comedian someone suggested youtube-ing Joe Wong. Yes, his jokes are clever and subtle. I cannot stand slap stick jokes and jokes which bother on absurd crudeness and sex!! He is what we can get and he should be himself. A nerdy comedian? It’s what he tells which count.

  10. MONSTER says:

    I like his jokes,his jokes are wise!

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