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MARGARET CHO

Margaret Cho: Seven questions

The fearless comedian talks about bullying, her unwavering support for Kathy Griffin and how running a gay bookstore is a lot like selling weed.

 MAR 5, 2018 1 PM

On March 9, Margaret Cho brings her comedy to Tampa Bay. In a not-so-comical interview, she talks about bullying, her unwavering support for Kathy Griffin, and how running a gay bookstore is a lot like selling weed.

Your promotion piece has a photo of you half made up and half not made up. Can you talk about why you chose that image?

It relates to the underbelly of artifice. The show's really about being stripped of artifice and trying to get to the bottom of everything, getting real. The show's really about honesty and brutal topics that are not necessarily things that people would think about in comedy, you know? I talk a lot about the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp and all of the stuff that's going on with feminism and politics and talking about race and sexuality. There's so many things that #MeToo addressed in a way that is totally barren of, I don't know, decorum.

You told Entertainment Weekly you thought Trump should be impeached. What do you think would be better for the United States under President Pence?

(laughs) It actually wouldn't be better. I think that's actually a terrible — it's totally like this thing that so's crazy. Pence would not make a better president; it would actually be a million times worse. You think it can't get worse, but it can. 

You've spoken out against bullying and also about how women and Asians have a long way to go toward equality. What can non-Asian and non-female people do to move that along? It's not enough to say, "Well, I'm not going to make fun of Asian women," or "I'm not going to make fun of women" — that's a no-brainer. What can people actually do to make a difference?

Well, I think it's just about listening and also realizing it's a big problem, that it's something that's very broad. It's really about allowing people to speak. It's something that needs to happen. I think bullying — especially now, in the age of social media — has gotten very vicious and really awful and scary. So, you've got to really look at that and say, "It's life or death and it's major."

Speaking of of which, you wrote and performed "I Want To Kill My Rapist" — and then spoke to Billboard about your experience of sexual abuse and rape. How did you heal?

It's a process. It takes a long time; you just have to realize you can't let it get in the way of your life. I'm not going to let something like that get the better of me, you know? That's just the way it is. 

Kathy Griffin: You stood up for her. How did that affect your troll factor? 

Margaret Cho: Seven questions

The fearless comedian talks about bullying, her unwavering support for Kathy Griffin and how running a gay bookstore is a lot like selling weed.

 MAR 5, 2018 1 PM
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Margaret Cho Albert SanchezALBERT SANCHEZ

On March 9, Margaret Cho brings her comedy to Tampa Bay. In a not-so-comical interview, she talks about bullying, her unwavering support for Kathy Griffin, and how running a gay bookstore is a lot like selling weed.

Your promotion piece has a photo of you half made up and half not made up. Can you talk about why you chose that image?

It relates to the underbelly of artifice. The show's really about being stripped of artifice and trying to get to the bottom of everything, getting real. The show's really about honesty and brutal topics that are not necessarily things that people would think about in comedy, you know? I talk a lot about the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp and all of the stuff that's going on with feminism and politics and talking about race and sexuality. There's so many things that #MeToo addressed in a way that is totally barren of, I don't know, decorum.

You told Entertainment Weekly you thought Trump should be impeached. What do you think would be better for the United States under President Pence?

(laughs) It actually wouldn't be better. I think that's actually a terrible — it's totally like this thing that so's crazy. Pence would not make a better president; it would actually be a million times worse. You think it can't get worse, but it can. 

You've spoken out against bullying and also about how women and Asians have a long way to go toward equality. What can non-Asian and non-female people do to move that along? It's not enough to say, "Well, I'm not going to make fun of Asian women," or "I'm not going to make fun of women" — that's a no-brainer. What can people actually do to make a difference?

Well, I think it's just about listening and also realizing it's a big problem, that it's something that's very broad. It's really about allowing people to speak. It's something that needs to happen. I think bullying — especially now, in the age of social media — has gotten very vicious and really awful and scary. So, you've got to really look at that and say, "It's life or death and it's major."

Speaking of of which, you wrote and performed "I Want To Kill My Rapist" — and then spoke to Billboard about your experience of sexual abuse and rape. How did you heal?

It's a process. It takes a long time; you just have to realize you can't let it get in the way of your life. I'm not going to let something like that get the better of me, you know? That's just the way it is. 

Kathy Griffin: You stood up for her. How did that affect your troll factor? 

It's crazy. It's a joke. I don't understand what's going on with that. You know? That, to me, it was so — all it is is #TBTFrenchRevolution. #JohnTheBaptist. It's a joke. Who cares? It's so dumb. And also, it's like, the way that Trump has made so many threats against people, threatened nuclear war, like his button's bigger than North Korea's button. That kind of stuff, that's the currency of the war of words. That's what it's all made up of anyway. So why is somebody getting penalized for it? She's great. She's gonna rise up; she always does. She always manages to rise up above all this and I believe in her. We're tight. We're old friends. We're old, old, old, old friends. I think she's great. 

Successful funny women seem to be far rarer in comedy than successful funny men, but you're one of the few women who've done it really, really well. Joan Rivers was another one. Why do you think you've been so successful where others have failed?

I don't know. I think it's timing; I think I was there at the right time. I think also I just didn't care; I just don't care what people think (laughs), that's part of it, too. And I'm not afraid to fail. That's another big thing: I've had so many failures that I'm literally immune to any kind of failure. I just keep on trying, and I think when you keep on trying, there's something to it, there's something that really makes a difference. You really have a good thick skin and you're able to keep going. That could be it. But I do think mostly it's the timing.

What's your next project? It seems like you do a little bit of everything.

I'm doing a TV show called Highland which is a drama/comedy, family drama. It's an Asian American — Korean American — family, working out in the big marijuana boom in CA and I play a very hipster member of the family who's gotten caught up in drugs and now she's fresh out of rehab and she has to take care of this marijuana dispensary. So it's based in a lot of truth and a lot of pathos, so I'm excited about it. 

But your parents didn't run a dispensary...

No, no — but they had a gay bookstore, which is kind of even more outrageous for Korean people in the ’70s. It's even more out there than working in weed.