Kristina Wong is a performance artist, comedian, and writer who has created five solo shows and one ensemble play that have toured across North America and the U.K. Before joining the Zócalo/UCLA panel “Has Political Correctness Really Killed Humor?”, the UCLA alumna sat down in the Zócalo green room and let us in on who she roots for on Shark Tank and the condiment that fixes everything.
What’s your biggest irrational fear?
I don’t know what’s irrational anymore! Everything that I thought was crazy—I mean, I’m going to learn to shoot guns soon. I thought those people in the field protecting their right to bear arms were insane, but I’m now that crazy person in the field who thinks the government is going to come for her, except I live in K-Town.
What was the hardest class you took at UCLA?
I was just looking at this tweet about how all these kids are stressed out at finals, and I thought, shit, if I knew I was going to become a performance artist I wouldn’t have gotten so stressed out. … Chinese—I am Chinese, and I got a C in it, and I’m attempting to learn again, for the fifth time, many years later.
Whom or what do you root for?
I root for the San Francisco Giants. I root for situations where I see the little person winning. I root for the entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, especially women and people of color entrepreneurs who have sacrificed everything. I root for them to get a deal and become capitalists.
What’s your favorite condiment?
Lately hot sauce has done it for me. Tapatío has just saved everything I’ve made. I put it on my breakfast tacos, I make sushi, it fixes everything. It’s only, like, 99 cents a bottle. I wish you could fix everything in the world for 99 cents a bottle.
What does it take to offend you?
Almost everything. [Laughs.] A lot of my shows use my last name, Wong, in the title: Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Going Green the Wong Way, The Wong Street Journal. But when people come back at me and try to make the same name play, that drives me crazy, and I think I’ve given them license to do that.
Mission to outer space or deep-sea exploration?
Where do you come up with your best bits?
I usually think about something that’s really frustrating and angry, and there’s always three responses. One is you don’t do anything about it, and you swallow your anger. The other is you’re mad and you’re screaming and you’re exhausted. And the other is, what’s the third response, and if I can figure it out—it’s usually the creative response or the responses that find a whole new logic in which to view this crazy thing. This is what I present as an artist.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
So many! There’s something someone gave me recently that made me cry, and I can’t remember what it is, but it was so sweet. I’ve gotten artist residencies, which they call the gift of time and space.
That’s a great shirt. Are you a cat person?
I am. I don’t have a cat right now though. They all live in my head.
What movie do you find impossible to turn off on cable?
Showgirls. And Ghost.