Interview: Comedian Margaret Cho talks ‘Fresh Off The Bloat’ tour, career and upcoming projects
Having conquered the world of film, television, books, music and theater, Grammy and Emmy-nominated artist, Margaret Cho is returning to her stand-up roots with her new “Fresh Off The Bloat” Tour.
Cho’s insatiable brand of comedy looks at race, sex, politics and LGBT issues in todays mixed up world in an honest and personal way. Her creative prowess, combined with her charitable work supporting gay rights and anti-bullying campaigns has earned Cho worldwide recognition. Rolling Stone magazine even lists Cho as one the 50 Best Stand-Up Comedians.
Cho’s current tour will visit The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA on Friday, November 17 before heading overseas for the remainder of the year.
AXS recently spoke with Cho about her tour, career, current events and upcoming projects in this exclusive new interview.
AXS: How would you describe your brand of comedy?
Margaret Cho: It's high and low brow. It's high-minded activism and social justice and looking to change things for the better. It’s also low brow, very dirty, blue comedy [laughs].
AXS: What can fans expect from your upcoming performance in Bethlehem, Pa.?
MC: A lot about Harvey Weinstein and all of the stuff that's going on right now. Whether it’s sexual harassment or abuse, a lot of my comedy addresses these particular issues. They’ve been a topic in my shows because they’re something I’ve dealt with over my lifetime and fits right in with the way the world is changing and the incredible shift in what we look at as what is and what is not acceptable. There's also a lot of talk about Trump (which is so crazy) and a lot of talk about race. I was the first to have and Asian-American television show (“All-American Girl”) and now we have the famous “Fresh Off The Boat”. The name of the show is actually a play on that, "Fresh off The Bloat". It's about the bloated nature of everything that's going on.
AXS: As a comedian, where do you draw your inspiration?
MC: I think it’s everywhere. When you do comedy, it's something where you're always thinking. You're always thinking about jokes and situations and how you can talk about them. It's a natural reflex to the way the world is. You just learn to record things in your mind and memory.
AXS: Was talking about your race and heritage something you always included in your comedy or did that develop over time?
MC: It was always something I’d talk about because I was always so different. When I was young, there were very few people of color in comedy. There were also very few women and young people. I always talked about race because it was something that set me apart from everyone else. It's also something I'm very comfortable talking about. I'm very open about it and have written a lot about it over the years.
AXS: What would you say is the biggest challenge of doing stand-up comedy?
MC: The traveling. It's pretty brutal when you look at it. The life is easy because you just have the one thing you get to do, and it’s so great. It’s going all over the world to get there that’s the struggle. But at the same time, it's all about adventure and that's what I love about it.
AXS: Did you always know that you wanted to have a career in comedy?
MC: Oh yeah. I’ve always wanted to do comedy and it really started as a child. Then when I was fourteen, I remember just needing to do this. I never thought about being successful or anything like that. The only thing I knew was that it was my destiny.
AXS: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?
MC: I have a new Korean family show that I've worked and developed for TNT called “Highland”. It's all about the big marijuana boom and a family caught up in it. I play a very lost soul coming out of rehab who has to work at night at the family’s' weed dispensary. It's very cool and fun and I’m really excited about it.
AXS: What’s been the biggest highlight of your career?
MC: Just the ability to continue to work. I've been doing this for so long and I love it. For me to be able to still be out there and going around making people laugh after thirty years is priceless.
Margaret Cho will perform at The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. on Friday, November 17.