In a recent episode of Variety’s Actors on Actors, American stand-up comedian and actress Ali Wong engaged in a lively discussion with Jason Segel, revealing the intriguing details of her experience filming “Beef”, her move from comedy to acting, and the challenges she faced.
The Path to Acting
Segel, who also shares a comedy background, started the conversation by asking Wong about her aspirations to transition into acting. The answer was rather unexpected: “Not really. I just wanted to tell jokes for a living”, Wong confessed.
However, before establishing her name in the world of comedy, Wong had been working as a temp for quite a while. She started acting in sitcoms, balancing her unpaid stand-up sets at night, in a bid to justify her passion for comedy.
Behind The Scenes of “Beef”
The discussion then moved to the series “Beef”, which has been making waves in the entertainment industry, particularly for its unique scriptwriting process. Wong shared that the script for “Beef” was still in the making during filming, which meant that she didn’t have a clear idea of the finale while they were shooting.
Her co-star, Jason Segel, shed light on the climactic episode, stating, “The finale episode so clearly crystallizes the theme that these two people are essentially the same. There are even moments where [Ali’s character Amy and Steven Yeun’s character Danny] switch voices and [are] like, ‘I am you.'”
This voice switch, a pivotal moment in the series, was something Wong admitted to not understanding while filming. The series creator and finale director, Lee “Sunny” Sung-jin, had Wong memorize Steven’s lines in addition to her own, urging her to trust the process without revealing the reason behind it.
Recalling her response, Wong said, “So then I was like, ‘Okay, I trust Sunny. Here we go.'”
The Filming Experience
Filming the finale of “Beef” presented unique challenges for Wong. Shot at 2 a.m. in a forest, the setting posed both physical and emotional difficulties.
Drawing comparisons to Steven, who had previous experience filming in the eerie hours due to his stint on “The Walking Dead”, Wong expressed her discomfort and fear filming in such an environment. Steven, however, seemed to enjoy the experience, despite a rehearsal incident where he fell out of a truck onto his shoulder and crawled through dirt three times.
Pride in Representation
When asked what she was most proud of about “Beef”, Wong pointed out the all-Asian American cast. “I do think that when you have an all-Asian American cast, which is rare, then the people get to be people,” she stated. The casting allows people to use other descriptors to define characters rather than focusing on their race.
Success and Spotlight
The success of “Beef” has brought Wong into the spotlight in a way she has never experienced before. Having amassed over 186 million hours viewed since its debut, the show has propelled Wong’s career to new heights, revealing parts of her private life to the world, which she admits, has been a strange experience.
Following the immense success of “Beef”, Wong is ready to refocus on stand-up, fearing that her comedic skills might atrophy if not regularly exercised. She relishes the control she has in stand-up, writing