|SALT LAKE CITY WEEKLY|
Wiseguys Salt Lake City 194 S. 400 West 801-532-5233 Feb. 26-27, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. $25 WiseGuysComedy.com
For comedian Margaret Cho, it's been a long road to the Fashion Police soundstage. One flecked by growing up in 1970s San Francisco, where she attended grammar school in the Haight, and was later reared by drag queens on the Castro. A path also forever marked by the relationship with her immigrant parents to whom she was (and perhaps still is) the greatest enigma.
A lifetime after her 1994 attempt at a mainstream sitcom that caused her to develop an eating disorder, Cho is now more comfortable in her skin than ever and at the top of her dissident game. Her live shows are a transgressive halfway house for those who live against the grain and, for an hour or so, feel comfort in being surrounded by their kin; a safe haven where along with sharing her thought process after getting high ("What would it be like to brush Chewbacca?"), she discusses the raging battle between "fag hags and dick widows," along with more harrowing moments, like being sexually abused starting at age 5.
Not one to be pigeonholed, Cho is set to release American Myth, a music album on April 29. In preparation, she's previewed tracks like "Fat Pussy" and "(I Want to) Kill My Rapist" on her YouTube channel. The video for the latter features Cho on a Tarantino-esque mission to avenge her molester, aided by an army of schoolchildren. They all don black T-shirts emblazoned with a stylized tribal peony. "That's my Korean name," she says.
In a candid chat with City Weekly prior to her Wiseguys gigs this weekend, Cho opened up on Hollywood's diversity problem, tequila and preserving Joan Rivers' legacy.
You've crisscrossed the entire country doing stand-up. Do different cities have different personalities? If so, what do you think is Salt Lake's?
I feel you. I just moved here, and it does have a needle-exchange-program feel.
What's your alcohol of choice?
I remember seeing you in one of your earliest, if not your first TV appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, which seems like a lifetime ago ...
Do you still remember that?
In your act, you joke that when you told your mom you wanted to be a comedian, she responded saying, "Oh, maybe it's better if you just die." Is it fair to say she's come around?
So do your parents realize you're kind of a big deal now?
The flip side of comedy—and you touch on this so well—is darkness. How do you balance anecdotal stories with the more personal ones?
Along with those vulnerable moments, you seem to be the definition of defiant. Did you ever reach a point where you wanted to give up?
Recently, I read an interview with Dascha Polanco from Orange Is the New Black), and it mostly harped on the fact that she is a woman minority working in Hollywood. Are you surprised that, so many years after All-American Girl, this is still a discussion?
Let's talk about American Myth and how you got in the mindset for that project.
I saw the video for "(I Want to) Kill My Rapist," and it moved me to tears. Do you think that's weird?
Like you, I have a very strong relationship with my mom, and she wanted me to ask you about your appearance on Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry because she says it's all rigged.
She also wanted me to remark that you weren't wearing any makeup.
Finally, how's your Fashion Police experience been? In her second voicemail, Mom wanted for me to convey that after Joan Rivers, you're "the one."
... and that "all the others stink."