April 19th, 2016
While I may have lost the Pulitzer Prize to Hamilton, I should probably get an award for “Longest Dragging Out of an Inside Joke Between me and Performance Artist Brian Feldman Whilst Misleading the Internet About The Quality of My Work”
Here are the transcripts of the three speeches I prepared to give. Because I was neither a winner or nominee, the only speech I could deliver was the “concession speech”.
Pulitzer Prize Concession Speech
“Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”
This is a quote on losing from Donald Trump. A man who I will not be voting for in the upcoming Presidential primaries, or ever. In fact, I completely dislike him. But I think it’s a good quote on losing.
I lost this battle today. Specifically, I lost an opportunity for my mother to have ultimate bragging rights that her daughter was a Pulitzer Prize winner, thus redeeming all the grief I have caused her all these years by choosing art as my profession. I lost an opportunity to be the first Asian American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in the prize’s 100 year history. Most significantly, I lost an opportunity to stand out as the only Pulitzer Prize winner on Tinder.
My sincerest congratulations to Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton. I have no idea if your Broadway Musical Hamilton is more worthy of a Pulitzer Prize than The Wong Street Journal. I don’t say this as a slight to your work, I say it as someone who cannot sell enough blood and organs to buy Hamilton tickets that are already sold out through the end of this year. But I am sure Hamilton is amazing even though, you didn’t sew your set or become a rap star in Northern Uganda. And Lin-Manuel. I congratulate you on this well deserved honor.
I appreciate so many people for supporting me on the road to be a Pulitzer Prize contender. To my friend, the conceptual performance artist Brian Feldman whose play Dishwasher was in direct competition with mine for this award. I thank you Brian for daring me to send my hard earned $50 to apply for the Pulitzer and for not once acting out in ways that were competitive. That we were able to stay friends on this long road to the Pulitzer is a testament to our friendship. To my director Emily Mendelsohn, you share this loss with me, but I believe we are victorious in other ways. To my commissioners, thank you for your support. I hope the fact, that I did not win this honor, does not stop you from giving me lots and lots of money down the road.
I lost the battle today. But I did not lose the war. I will continue to write my stories and the stories of marginalized people into existence. I will continue to perform. I will continue to talk about my genitals and bowel movements on social media and it will be profound. It will be meaningful to humanity more than humanity itself.
Pulitzer Prize Acceptance Speech
Wow. This is an incredible surprise. My life has been marked by a series of failures and near misses. Brushes with greatness. And intense falls from Grace. I’ve not won a lot in my life. And I credit my mother’s intense gift for guilting me, into what has kept me going. All we can do, prize or not, is keep going.
There were so many people who encouraged me to this moment. My friend, the great performance artist Brian Feldman who encouraged me to drop the $50 to apply for this award. Brian’s conceptual performance “Dishwasher” was in direct competition with “The Wong Street Journal” for this prize, and sadly the Pulitzer Committee could not announce a tie. I hope there are no hard feelings Brian. To Emily Mendelsohn, who directed this play. Who knew, we’d find ourselves, on the top of the world today? To my commissioners, I share this honor with you. And to my mother. Finally, the gods have answered your prayers to the gods and you no longer have to hang your head in shame when asked what your daughter does for a living. You are now the mother of a Pulitzer Prize winner. Now go forth Mommy, and start texting your friends. Because my success is all you have. And my success today, is everything.
It’s an honor to be the first Asian American woman to be the Pulitzer Prize winner in Drama in its 100 year history. We have always existed. Our labor has always existed. Our stories have always existed. We stand on the backs of mothers and grandmothers who sacrificed everything so that we could live in full expression of our lives. And from this point forward, the world will recognize that we aren’t going out quietly. Ever.
To Lin-Manuel Miranda whose play Hamilton is sold out on Broadway until the end of the year, I am stunned that the committee picked The Wong Street Journal over your masterpiece of Hamilton. This is an upset that you nor I could have anticipated. But, I guess it’s clear who the winner is. Suck it Lin-Manuel! My play is cheaper and better than yours. You never heard of me before! You heard of me now sucka! Who’s the Ham 4 Ham now, biatch?!
Pulitzer Prize Nominee Acceptance Speech
The great 90s actor, and former ex husband of Angelina Jolie, Billy Bob Thornton once said…
“Getting the nomination is like gravy. Winning would be like whatever is better than gravy.”
Today’s nomination is not only gravy, it is what is better than gravy. Gravy that drips across the mashed potatoes of my 15 year professional career as a performance artist. It is a gravy that is moist, flavorful and incredibly validating. And today, finally, I lick that gravy. I swallow that gravy. I let that gravy drip down my chest like at the end of a video I downloaded on Pornhub.
My mother was never content with me being in second place. I know this because she had told me this my entire life and I was constantly reminded that 2nd place was like the B-average of life. And when I explained to her a few months ago what Hamilton was, she reluctantly relented that being named a nominee to Hamilton would be a sufficient honor. Today, I am so honored, to be sufficient. To be a Pulitzer Prize nominee. To be able to sit in the waiting room of an audition for Geico, and tell my fellow actors, “Hey, I’m a Pulitzer Prize Nominee. Now I’m going to try to book this commercial for insurance”.
I share this honor of this nomination with the conceptual performance artist Brian Feldman, who encouraged me over Italian food last year to spend $50 to apply for his award. I thank my mother for praying to the gods for this. I share this with my director Emily Mendelsohn and with my commissioners.
I share this nomination for all the Asian American women in this country who so often pass through life anonymous, our work unseen, or strife unheard. This is for you and for all the marginalized women in the world who deserve to be named, to be acknowledged by history, to be nominated in the game of life.
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December 17th, 2015
It’s that end-of-year blog where I pat myself on the back and I make you watch.
1. SOLD OUT SHOWS of WONG STREET JOURNAL!
My newest show is the best one yet. I sold out previews in Orange County and Burlington, VT. Then sold out all five shows (and the 6th add-on show) before the San Francisco World Premiere run started. In Los Angeles, I sold out three shows at the REDCAT. This show is a hilarious hit and 2016 will have me all over the country with it!
2. Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show”
Check my new media reel. So fancy.
So this was awesome. Twelve hours after being in flight and travel for 40 hours, I got on a red-eye headed back in the direction I just flew from to talk about yellowface casting in Aloha (a movie disaster that not even Bradley Cooper could save).
3. Wong DaFunkee Professor at Cal Arts!
My first time being on an institutional payroll in TEN YEARS. I was asked to teach a class at Cal Arts in the MFA Creative Writing Program. I named the course Cake or Death: Making Performance in Post Post Post Post Post Post Post Post Modern Times. My students made site specific performances and invented fake twitter profiles and were assigned a lot of reading (much of which got skimmed over… ahem). Yo, I tip my hat to teachers everywhere because managing a classroom is a lot of work!
4. Led a mind blowing comedy workshop on Skid Row!
Thanks to an Artist-in-Residence award I received last year, I learned a lot about working in this very special community. We made performances about the issues of police brutality, systemic racism, and the poverty they are up against daily. I feel so honored to have new talented colleagues, some who are also hard working community organizers.
5. What the Frack Jerry Brown videos!
Fracking is like eating a bunch of toxic waste and then taking a dump in your drinking water, then drinking that drinking water. I was so glad my friends at Movement Generation invited me up to Bakersfield to meet people whose live right by fracking sites and make these commercials with them that will hopefully lead to a ban on fracking in CA. These spots aired during the commercial breaks of The Daily show in Sacramento last month.
6. I went to the Philippines
I found a $400 flight leaving from NYC and flying the wrong way around the world to the Philippines and one a crazy whim, I bought it.
Here is a blog by famous travel blogger Anton Diaz about my first day in Manila.
Here I am eating balut.
Here I am playing referee at a “midget” boxing match.
7. Buttload of awesome press
The Guardian “Kristina Wong: Pushing the Envelope on Race, Rights and America”
I was on this panel with Frangela and women from SNL!
8. I didn’t get a single grant or fellowship I applied for but so what?
2015 was an exceptional year in bureaucratic rejection. I applied for a a ton of stuff only to get a ton of rejection letters back, thereby ending a long multi-year streak of grant success. It didn’t stop me from being an artist and I still managed to turn out one of the highest gro$$ing years of my career. The hustle my friends. Always, the hustle.
9. Shot a new web series that rolls out in 2016!
Without revealing too much detail, my new web series is going to be HILARIOUS and we shot several episodes worth of content in two long days. I got a bunch of all-stars too like Asa Akira, Amy Hill and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons to be in it!
10. Helped raise about $2600+ in (documented) donations to support microloans in Uganda!
Bukenya at his KPFK interview.
I decided a long time ago that as a working artist I would not forever sit on the “taking/begging/asking” end of the economic equation. I wanted to be able to give to artists and organizations I care about. I wanted to be able to mobilize my resources to support other organizations. When Bukenya Muusa, who I worked under in Uganda came to Los Angeles, I introduced him to my community, got him on the airwaves, and coordinated $2600 in cash donations and sales of merchandise made by women in Uganda! Thank you friends! All of it will go to support the self determination of Ugandan women.
11. Broke Ground on a New Play
I started writing a new play about Vermont and China at New York Theater Workshop’s theater residency in New Hampshire. (That’s a lot of places to engage in this play about place!) Right now it’s looking like a musical.
12. Three Queer Weddings in One Month!
September was the month of #LoveWins. After having one completely traumatizing hetero wedding experience early this year, my chosen queer family reminded me that weddings could be awesome and need only be guided by love love love and not pomp and circumstance to be awesome.
13. Funeral for the White Man’s Penis at MOCA!
My comedy and visual art got some play at the Museum of Contemporary Art this year.
14. Hella Tours all over the country!
This year my art had me racking up airline miles. Artist life brought me to Chicago, Burlington, VT, New Hampshire, Baltimore, NYC, Sacramento, Dallas, San Francisco, Indiana, Poughkeepsie and Portland (where I write you now!).
15. Wrote some amazing essays
This essay for San Francisco Magazine broke their publication record for most read/shared non-gentrification essay. It actually found its way to my mother before I sent it to her– that’s my way of testing to see if something has really gone viral.
My Comedy Central appearance went by faster than I thought imaginable. I wrote “How I Failed to Save all People of Color from Oppression in My Six Minutes on The Nightly Show” to decompress about how high pressure it is to be on those panel shows, esp as the only woman of color.
”Sew Privileged” my essay about crafting my set for The Wong Street Journal appears as part of the RACECRAFT online exhibit.
Sad stuff that happened: Jeremy Lin still has not proposed to me. I had to put my cat Octavia to sleep last week ($$$ and tears). I never cleaned my house the way I swore I would. Other stuff.
Stuff I’m looking forward to next year: Now that The Wong Street Journal is up and running and not in that pregnancy phase, I look forward to touring the whole country/ world with it and getting rolling on other madness.
Thanks for hanging in with me. It trips me out when I realize how long I’ve been at this and I finally have realized that I’m not quitting ever.
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Category: Blog | Tags: year in review
June 29th, 2015
At the risk of sounding like a cornball client testimonial for an overpriced life coach, I can finally say that after swimming upstream for fifteen years, I’m finally living with full faith that everything is going to work out ok. The world is still a mess but I finally feel like I’m in a position where I can do something about it. I can speak up and create from a space where I’m not so panicked about my own livelihood that I can actually just make really good art that people will respond to. I can create creative community and spaces where people can find liberation in small doses. And I feel like there is an audience that really gets what I’m saying.
Will I save the world? Nah. But I will put a few good dents in the system.
The lesson? Don’t ever give up. Just keep finding new ways to crack the code. And the way to do that is you owning what you do the best. And stop waiting to be rescued. And take every opportunity that comes as a big deal because everything is an opportunity. And work your ass off. And pick yourself up after multiple nervous breakdowns. And give up alcohol. And read lots of self help books. And stop dating losers.
But mostly, don’t ever give up.
12 hours after I got back to LAX from the Philippines, I got an invite to be on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show”. This involved getting on a red eye flight after already having had traveled 40 hours by plane. But their make up artist cleaned me up real good and I got a few meme-able moments during the panel.
I wrote about the crazy that is the the multi-comedian panel experience for Scenarios USA…
Then I got back to the West Coast where I celebrated another trip around the sun (my birthday). But first, earlier in the day, I did this interview with Halo Halo TV in Los Angeles!
Then headed to San Francisco for the WORLD PREMIERE of The Wong Street Journal. It was a homecoming of epic proportions. All FIVE SHOWS SOLD OUT the Monday of show week. We added a SIXTH show– that SOLD OUT in 24 hours. I got a commendation from San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. And the audiences seemed to get what the heck it was that I was laying down.
And the press was incredible…
Radio Appearance on KQED Forum
San Francisco Chronicle INTERVIEW
San Francisco Chronicle REVIEW
Reappropriate – Feature, June 16
Blogher.com – Feature, June 17
BeyondAsiaPhilia: Review by Valerie Soe
Now it’s a more relaxed July but the work has stacked up considerably on my desk.
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May 15th, 2015
This may have been the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve done a lot of stupid.
I scheduled a vacation BEFORE my World Premiere of the Wong Street Journal, rather than after. A world premiere is a lot of work and while I haven’t had a real vacation in a couple of years, I am hoping I am not pacing around the beach trying to find wifi to promote my show.
At the time when I spotted the $400 RT tix to Manila (except it flies from NYC, adding more $$ to the trip), it seemed like a good idea. But now I’m like running and running and running out the door to get everything done.
THE GUILT IS KILLING ME!! I CAN’T STOP WORKING!!!!
Ever since my infamous blog post for xoJane about white dudes with Asian fetishes I’ve pretty much been running around non-stop. Even in Gulu, Uganda, the locals remarked how I never slowed down. I actually hate slowing down. I kind of love the adrenaline. So I’m not sure how well I’ll do in a situation where my job is to RELAX.
I’m typing fast that’s how unable to slow down I’ve been.
I squeezed this TV appearance last week in with Florence Henderson on the Huffington Post Show last week! She talked about how she got crabs from the ex-mayor of NYC. Childhood dreams come true! I can’t stop running around.
I’ve joked with my travel partners that I will be so bored on the Island of Palawan that I’ll likely build a school with my bare hands or something.
Anyway, enjoy the trailer of my show below and tell everyone in San Francisco to buy tickets!
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December 26th, 2014
It’s been a tumultuous year in the world. On the bright side, my mother has stopped nagging me that I need to be “more like Bill Cosby”.
Allow me to do a circle jerk of one as I offer 15 more highlights from my 2014…
1. Got to live out my secret dream of being a reality tv star!
I didn’t flip any tables. But I turned some tables on yellow fever dudes with HILARIOUS RESULTS. This episode is the most watched on MyxTV! And yes, you can only watch it from a desktop or laptop.
2. Marched for 4.5 hours, across 10.5 miles because #BlackLivesMatter
So much of the last two years have had me re-evaluating my work and relationships with the Black community (both in America and Uganda), considering what privilege I have even as someone who is of a marginalized identity here, and what privilege I can cede to recenter the most silenced of voices within the Black community. I’ve been thinking how my own work and humor (which is drawn so much out of my own life and politics) contributes (or hinders) the liberation and re-centering of black lives consistently left behind by the progress of social justice movements.
3. Got a lot of writing done at Montalvo Arts Center!
I spent most of this summer in the middle of the woods (in Silicon Valley) in a gorgeous studio, writing down everything I remembered from my trip to Uganda and creating the spine for my new solo show. I ended up with 250 pages that looked like one hell of a memoir. From those pages, I pulled the best stuff to turn into this play I’m making now… The Wong Street Journal.
4. Made a second reality tv show that’s ACTUALLY family friendly.
Check out this really ridiculous episode of MYX TV’s Eat Your Words where I make sushi with character actor Rodney Kageyama.
5. Gave the Commencement Speech at UCLA (again!).
If you ever wanted to see me dressed like Harry Potter crying like a big baby, here is your chance. Colorlines picked up on the speech which gave it a nice boost, but their scintillating pull quote had Asian men screaming at me online. (Yay, what’s new?)
6. Wrote some real badass essays. Some of which my academic friends say they’ll teach in their classes!
From xo Jane:
I Can’t Believe I Now Have To Convince White People That I Like White People
I Thought Being Miserable Was Just Part Of Being Chinese American
The World Is a Dangerous Place, and It Makes Me Even More Scared to Have Kids
I’m Giving A Commencement Speech At UCLA Again — Here are 7 Scenarios I’m Worried About Besides James Franco Being Mean to Me
UNPOPULAR OPINION: 6 Reasons Why Your Utopic Vision for a Mixed-Race Future is My Nightmare
I jumped into reality TV to raise the profile of Asian Americans
7. Got profiled by the NY Times!
8. Got profiled by the LA Times!
My cat Octavia is the second cat I’ve had to get a mention in the LA Times!
9. Gave a lot of Keynote speeches.
Stanford, Duke, UC Berkeley and DeAnza College. What a freaking honor. Here I am at UC Berkeley’s QACON…
10. I might be the only comedian to ever have sewn the New York Stock Exchange out of felt and then performed with said set at the Comedy Central Stage.
Post conflict Uganda? Microloans? Rap? An end to poverty? Chinese people who turn white once in Africa? This new show is the most complicated thing I’ve undertaken since that funny show I made about depression.
11. Continued to build partnerships with my friends in Uganda.
Raised over $500 from friends so that my friends at VAC-NET could put on their annual Drama and Dance Festival. Also, sales from my RAP ALBUM helped pay for the initial costs of Nerio’s Studio in Uganda!
12. Booked a part on General Hospital!
I even wrote about the greatest four lines in the history of soap operas for xoJane!
13. Didn’t marry Jeremy Lin, but came $303 short.
Some people called it “the creepiest Kickstarter ever.” I called it the truest manifestation of love. When I heard Jeremy Lin would be moving to LA to play for the Lakers, I immediately registered our wedding on The Knot and I tried to raise $5400 to buy two courtside tickets to woo his love. After a hellish 30 days of insufferable cyber-begging, I fell just $304 short of my goal. Sure I was devastated, but that did not stop me from raising our children….
14. A lot of Comedy Honors…..
This short that I made with Tani Ikeda made the Honor Roll of Comedy-- Salon’s “10 of the Best Moments in Political Comedy This Year”!
I also was at SXSW this year with xoJane’s “Fearlessly Funny: The Women Changing Digital Humor”.
I also outranked Courtney Love on this list of “25 Most Shameless Women on the Internet”
AND JUST SO YOU KNOW… Internet lists are LEGIT SOURCES OF NON-SUBJECTIVE NEWS.
15. I hosted Mr. Hyphen 2014!!!
It was like the sketch comedy absurdo spirit from high school was with me! Here are some highlights from the greatest community beauty pageant of all time…
Introducing Jeremy Lins.
Introducing George Takeis.
2015 will have a lot of good stuff to look forward to… The Wong Street Journal is previewing all over the country and has its WORLD PREMIERE in June! I just booked a ticket to the Philippines in May (found a RT ticket for under $400!). I ‘m really really close to some super big things that I will announce soon!
This is where my life was always supposed to be. I just had to kill the critics in my head. Happy New Year!
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