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Joe Wong sparks laughter with Chinese-American culture shock

Billy Brown / For The Lantern

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Bashing cultural stereotypes and making fun of all things geeky, especially himself, Joe Wong brought the laughs to Ohio State.

The comedian, who has made appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” presented his stand-up routine to more than 300 students in the Ohio Union’s Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom the Ohio Union Activities Board presented Sunday.

Wong wasn’t afraid to make fun of himself, his family, his culture, or his childhood.

Whether it was his friends’ names, his young son or learning the differences in American and Chinese culture, Wong laid it out for his audience.

Wong told a story of how he didn’t want to go on a trip to see bears with someone whose name sounds like “We Die,” even after his friend tried to convince him the bears would be more scared of them. Wong’s sharp wit took over.

“I’m pretty sure they would be wrong,” Wong said about his friends.

One of Wong’s culturally blending experiences occurred when he moved to Texas, he said. While there, he decided to wear a large belt buckle and a cowboy hat and grow a mustache to try to blend in.

“I ended up looking like a Mexican,” Wong said.

Before moving to the U.S., Wong said he was unaware of the cultural stereotypes about Asians, among them that all Asians are good at math.

Meeting his host family for the first time, his host mother told him not to laugh at her math skills, prompting a question from Wong.

“How does she know I’m good at math?” Wong said.

Wong said he was also confused when people would ask him to calculate the tip at dinner, but after living in the U.S. for a while, he understands why.

Wong pointed out the similarities and differences between China and the U.S.

“The only thing America has that China doesn’t is Chinatown,” he said.

Wong also made fun of his geeky persona.

He opened the show by telling his audience how he accidentally went to a Greek festival because he didn’t see the “r” in the word “Greek.”

“I was wondering why I was the only one there with a light saber,” Wong said.

Wong’s honesty made him a hit among some audience members.

Alvaro Pasquel, a second-year in international business, said even though he had never heard of Wong before, the routine pleasantly surprised him.

Pasquel said he enjoyed how Wong made fun of various cultural stereotypes and the experiences Wong had as he moved from China to the U.S.

“I could relate to those experiences,” Pasquel said.

William Xu, a first-year in marketing, said Wong’s show was better than he expected. Xu said he has watched Wong’s stand-up on YouTube before and he was happy that the routine Wong presented students was different than what he has seen before.

“He’s not afraid to make fun of himself, or cultural stereotypes — that makes him a great comedian,” Xu said.

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