Margaret Cho: Cho Dependent Some More
By Tim Parks
Margaret Cho has made a name for herself as a staunch advocate for a number of LGBT-related causes, ranging from gay marriage to the bullying of students, which has been brought into sharp focus with the “It Gets Better Campaign.”
However, when Cho began her stand-up ascension with her 1999 one-woman show, I’m The One That I Want, she was on the forefront of female comedians, like Lisa Lampanelli, Kathy Griffin and Chelsea Handler, who would follow suit in highlighting the need for equality for our community.
Her lightning quick wit, coupled with heartfelt observations that we all fall under the umbrella of being humans first and foremost, has seen Cho push the comedy envelope with a no-holds-barred approach to subjects covered in her subsequent shows, Notorious C.H.O., Revolution, Assassin, Beautiful and her most recent tour and film, Cho Dependent.
Along the way, she has parlayed her stand-up prowess into a number of TV projects, including The Cho Show, Dancing with the Stars and Drop Dead Diva, which is currently airing its third season on Lifetime and is light years away from her well documented horrendous experience on the 1994 ABC sitcom All-American Girl. Cho can even add Grammy Award-nominee to her impressive resume with her comedy/music project, also titled Cho Dependent, and is currently hard at work on a new musical endeavor The Yellow Album.
As if Cho weren’t busier than a whore on dollar day, she will also be headlining San Diego LGBT Pride this year as a featured performer on the main festival stage on July 16, and will undoubtedly shine a rainbow spotlight on what she does best, talking the talk, while walking the walk.
She graciously took time out of her very busy schedule to tell LGBT Weekly why audiences will remain Cho Dependent some more on her brand of unadulterated comedy for the masses.
LGBT Weekly: Why do you feel that comedy is the most effective tool in getting a point across?
Margaret Cho: Well I think because you’re entertaining people at the same time, and it’s a very raw form of entertainment. You’re just a person with a message, and that’s really powerful. It’s just one person and a microphone, and there beliefs.
And I think that’s the reason why it was so hard to hear what Tracy Morgan had to say, those are powerful words. I thought his apology was really great, and I love that our community can demand an apology and get it right away. It’s great what Tina Fey said, because stand-up comics do have a responsibility, people are listening to them.
And comedy is definitely message driven, and a powerful medium, so you can use it to great effect, or use it negatively, I opt to use it positively.
LGBT Weekly: Since your new concert film is titled Cho Dependent, what is something that you couldn’t live without on a daily basis?
MC:Probably Mac Wipes. I use them like a shower, because I’m a dry bitch, and so I love a Mac Wipe and I use it for everything.
LGBT Weekly: You have really been on the forefront of comedians, such as Kathy Griffin, Lisa Lampanelli and Chelsea Handler, embracing “the gays” – what is your take on them?
MC: I don’t know Lisa, but I know Kathy really well, and we’ve been friends for a long time. And she’s wonderful, she just did an episode of my show Drop Dead Diva, and it was really amazing. I love female comics, those are always the people that I want to watch, and that I love to hang out with. Chelsea Handler is amazing, I just did her show today. It’s a powerful thing with women in comedy.
LGBT Weekly: Speaking of a subject that you’ve released into the pop culture wilds, I was recently at an adult video store and there was a huge butt plug called Ass Master…do you see something like that as an honor, or a blatant violation of copyright laws?
MC: Awesome! I love it, you know I don’t consider it intellectual property (laughs), I’m cool with it. It’s like, “Go for it, girl!” I’m down with anything that sort of takes the phrases that I’ve coined. I think it’s really an honor, and I’m proud of that. But, whose hole is that big?
LGBT Weekly: If you had your druthers, what would you change the term “fag hag” to?
MC: I think fruit fly is probably a good one, that’s one I hear a lot. Queen magnet. Um, Side car? I like fag hag, it’s old school, it’s two words, and that’s the generation that I come from, a little bit politically incorrect. That’s the term I’m most familiar with, and that’s what I am, and I’m proud of that. But it is definitely a word that I don’t want to hear being said as hate speech, it’s our word. But, yeah, there’s other options that people can have.
LGBT Weekly: And if you could have a one-one-one with a teenage bully that was harassing an LGBT student at their school, what would you say to he or she?
MC: Why are you doing this? I want to know what the point of that is. What makes someone want to do that and don’t they know how damaging it can be. And, it kills, it’s murderous, and it’s thoughtless. A lot of people who are bullying are gay themselves and they can’t deal with it. And that’s what it’s about. I need to slap these kids (laughs), because I can’t understand why they do that!
It’s horrible and probably harder for kids now with all of the social media, they have so much more to worry about. With us, we had a slam book, we didn’t have Facebook. I feel bad for kids, I think they have a lot more to cope with.
LGBT Weekly: You are working on an upcoming CD called The Yellow Album.
MC: Yes, it’s a very intricate project, it’s all Beatle-esque songs about race and being Asian, so it’s The Yellow Album. It’s fierce, and I wrote songs that I sing with my mom. We do our version of “She’s Leaving Home,” which is not a cover, it’s an original song, but she and I sing together like The Judds, and it’s phenomenal.
I’m really excited about it!
LGBT Weekly: Any chance we will hear your mother rapping on it, and what type of things would she choose to bust rhymes about?
MC: I don’t know! Money and hos? Money and hos and about her flow.
LGBT Weekly: Let’s play a little bit of word association, shall we?
MC: Oh he’s so free ride, it’s like he’s got all of the heat off of him, because of Weiner. It’s so free ride! Everything kind of blew over so fast, really fast, nobody cares now because it’s all about Weiner.
MC: Well, don’t take pictures of your hole and your face at the same time, you’ve got to do it separately, this is what we know. I think we’ve all been guilty of sending sexts to people, but just make it untraceable. Oh, and don’t be a congressman.
MC: Well, it’s scary, because anything that she does is such news. I don’t think she should be that much on the news, she’s like the lost Kardashian sister. I like them, they’re o.k.
LGBT Weekly: You will be headlining at Pride in San Diego, what kind of topics will you be covering, and is there anything that is ever off-limits for you to discuss on stage?
MC: No, I don’t think there’s anything I wouldn’t say, and it’s all about celebrating Pride. I had fun at L.A. Pride and it was amazing and beautiful, and so I’m just gonna bring it!
I’m so in love with pride celebrations, I have been to them all over the world, and they’re so meaningful. I’ve been attending them now for 30 years, so I love to see it every year; it gets bigger and bigger, and it’s phenomenal. I’m just in love with what’s going on, and I’m proud of what we’re doing as a community.