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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 21, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 42
Margaret Cho talks Scotland, Seattle, and Cho dependence
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Margaret Cho talks Scotland, Seattle, and Cho dependence

by Joshua Michael Rumley - SGN Contributing Writer

There is never a topic that is too taboo or controversial for Margaret Cho to talk about in her stand-up. This attitude and courage has won Cho fans across the globe. Cho, who is one of the most acclaimed and popular comedians of our time, will be bringing her new 'Cho Dependent' show to the Pantages Theater in Tacoma on Friday, October 28.

Cho is an avid supporter of the LGBT community and will be giving fans a chance to meet her in person before the show. Fully 100% of the $100 meet-and-greet ticket price will be donated to support Equal Rights Washington's efforts for marriage equality here in Washington state. Call the Broadway Center box office at (253) 591-5894 to reserve your meet-and-greet ticket before they sell out.

Since the first episode of All-American Girl to each of her stand-up specials, her blossoming music career, and now her hit television show Drop Dead Diva, I've been an avid Margaret Cho fan. I was excited to sit down with her and find out about her upcoming show and especially what she would do if she ended up in an elevator with Michele Bachmann.

Joshua Rumley: Drop Dead Diva is in its third season. What's it like filming the show?

Margaret Cho: It's really been great. I absolutely love the filming experience and the show. Drop Dead Diva is such a beautiful story and it really represents women in a positive way unlike most other shows on television at this time. We shoot the show kind of far away in Atlanta and for six months I'm filming. It really changes my life for half the year but I love it.

Rumley: A little birdie told me that you recently returned from the United Kingdom. Did you happen to make it back to C.C. Blooms in Scotland?

Cho: [laughs] You know what, I really wanted to go back but this time around I kept getting pulled into other things, which is a shame. Since I didn't make it this time around I made my own C.C. Blooms with all of my Gay friends in the hotel room. We had a bar set up, it was awesome.

Rumley: Sounds like my friends and I when we 'car bar' it before walking into a club.

Cho: [laughs] The event I played at in Scotland, it was predominantly a straight festival. It's slightly different over there because the guys seem so straight all the time. It was great to be there and to connect with the obvious members of our community. Oh, C.C. Blooms, I do plan on going back actually, pretty soon.

Rumley: Do you think a lot of the guys over there are on the down-low about their sexuality?

Cho: It's amazing how separate it is over there. Things are actually really strange in the United Kingdom. Some ideas are far more advanced than they are here in the states. Take the environment for example, the U.K. is really big about being green and protecting the earth. That's way more than how things are in the states. In terms of race and Gay rights it's a little different. Race really has become a topic about trying to make it invisible. Race is something that can never become invisible. And class-related issues are out of control.

Rumley: How do the audiences compare abroad to audiences in the state?

Cho: It's really mixed sometimes. You always get the expatriates from the states but I feel like what I'm doing, my brand of humor, really appeals to British audiences. [Laughs.] My stuff is so crass and the British love crass humor. My humor is crass yet undeniably smart. It's weird; it's a very strange relationship. At some of the shows the audience will be screaming - not screaming mad, but screaming that I'm approaching the topics that I do. There is a lot more decorum in the U.K. I'm so unapologetic about who I am in America.

Rumley: Do you find that you have to adjust your political humor a bit when touring abroad?

Cho: Wherever I go internationally I always adjust my political humor a bit. As a comic traveling abroad you really need to immerse yourself in the context of the community. It's about applying yourself to your environment and talking about issues or news in the community. When I went to Australia I was talking about their prime minister. Plus it's nice that people abroad are very up on what's happening in the world and in other countries. We're all being fed the same type of news no matter where you live.

Rumley: Is that a good thing, the world being fed the same news?

Cho: I just think it's good that we are more connected to each other, that we can communicate easier across the globe. Ten years ago if I would have traveled and done stand-up in the U.K. it would have been a drastically different reception.

Rumley: Ten years ago we all had AOL dialup.

Cho: [laughs] Oh my god, that sound & [impersonates the AOL dialup computer sound]. That sound was horrible.

Rumley: [laughs] It sure made watching porn difficult with AOL dialup.

Cho: [laughs] It was damn near impossible. We got one frame at a time &

Rumley: What can fans expect from your new 'Cho Dependent' special and tour?

Cho: Lots of comedy focusing on politics, the Gays, and getting old. I'm 42, I'm getting older and my body is changing and I think there is a lot of humor in that. I'm really going to be talking about a lot of shit [laughs] & the shit is what's going on. I'm also excited to be performing some of my new songs from my album.

Rumley: I just heard 'Eat Shit & Die' for the first time. I love your music.

Cho: Thank you, thank you. I've been working with a lot of amazing artists like Fiona Apple and Andrew Bird. I'm also working with a wonderful Seattle band, the Tea Cozies.

Rumley: A local band! That's awesome.

Cho: I love Seattle. I've worked a lot in the area with my stand-up and I even made a movie in the area. I love just how Gay the area is and just how many Asian people there are. Strength in numbers! Plus I love Gray's Anatomy.

Rumley: The music component of your show is a pretty new addition to your routine. When did you first start making music?

Cho: I was on tour with Cindy Lauper. She was very adamant about me pursuing a singing career. She said I had a lot of potential. There is a lot of resonance to my singing voice. I've been writing and singing ever since.

Rumley: What's your take on the current political atmosphere in America?

Cho: What's weird is that Rick Perry is the most closeted Gay man out there. In 2004 he had a mass firing of openly Gay and Lesbian people from his cabinet. He is trying to act as if people don't know about him, but queen, please! Queen, please! People don't talk about you being Gay for that long if there isn't something there. Outing is not the best thing but if you're going to run for President you need to be outed if you're a closest homosexual. Oh and Marcus Bachmann, he is so Gay!

Rumley: You've got 30 seconds, in an elevator, with Michele Bachmann. What do you say or do?

Cho: [laughs] I think I would try and hit on her. The conservative women are so hot to me. The suit, it's really taboo. It's really like what you don't want; it's the stripper that comes to the office party. It's the kind of 'hot for the teacher' feeling.

Rumley: How about Obama? He's had an uphill battle as of late.

Cho: I really want to work on his campaign and make sure he gets reelected. It's very tough right now with the crazy Tea Party movement. It's all very scary, I'm not sure what to expect. It's all just so crazy, everything has become a circus, after 9/11 and how the news is. Everything is just so hysterical, everything is suddenly an emergency. It's an escalation from that era.

Rumley: How does it feel to be such a huge Gay icon?

Cho: It's a huge compliment and I'm very honored. It's always good to have safety in numbers.

Rumley: Why do you think the announcement that Chaz Bono was going to appear on 'Dancing with the Stars' caused such uproar?

Cho: I don't know, really, but you know I'm really proud of him. The Trans people are so important to our community. We need to support this, it's incredible and it's so mainstream. To be so Gay, then to be turning into something different. Then there is also the dark-horse fag hag this season, Ricki Lake.

Rumley: [laughs] Oh, Ricki Lake. I understand that your touring feature Ian Harvie is also Trans. Will he be your feature at the show in Tacoma?

Cho: Sadly, no. Ian Harvie is such a funny guy, he really taught me a lot about Trans views. Most of the Trans people I know are male-to-female. He is the first person I know who transitioned from female to male. It's such an important part of our community. They are left out all of the time. The bisexuals are as well. The Trans community is where I do a lot of my political work and outreach. I love to talk with people about transitioning and what gender means to them. Gender is just an agreed-upon social construct, it's an idea. It's about what line are we crossing.

Rumley: If you had to have one song played every time you walked into a room what it would it be and why?

Cho: Wow. I would like it to be [laughs] Toni Basil's 'Mickey' because my god, it just makes you want to jump up and do some awesome cheerleading moves.

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