Ali Wong’s New Netflix Special Sheds Light on Need for Paid Maternity Leave

May 18, 2018

If you don’t like raunchy, subversive humor, Ali Wong’s new comedy special on Netflix, “Hard Knock Wife,” is not for you.

And if you’re a mom who embraced the glow of pregnancy, passed up the epidural and found breastfeeding to be a higher calling, this is also not for you.

But if you’re a mom like me who complained a little too much during pregnancy, summoned the anesthesiologist for the epidural as soon as you got to the hospital and resented every pumping session because you felt like a cow, then Ali Wong is speaking your truth. The truth that you bury deep inside of you because if you don’t you would: a.) Never even consider having more than one child and b.) Feel a deep sense of guilt pretty much every waking minute.

Ali’s jokes are raw and hilarious, no doubt, but what I really appreciated about “Hard Knock Wife” is that she pulls no punches about what all of these challenges roll up to – the need for paid maternity leave.

After each long riff, Ali punctuates her humor with a profound statement of truth and a rousing call to action, “This is why women need maternity leave.” She points out how far behind the United States is on the issue: “In every other first world country, women get up to three years off, paid. In the U.S. we get jack sh*t. In the U.S., there is zero federal policy.” As “Fast Company” said in its headline review of the special, “Ali Wong Is Our Funniest, Most Vital Paid Maternity Leave Advocate.”

For organizations that advocate for paid maternity leave, Ali Wong’s comedy special provides the perfect way to mix pop culture with policy. Laugh a little, advocate a lot. Because as a mom, sometimes if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

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