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MARGARET CHO

Comedian Margaret Cho finds purpose in touring

By Contact ReporterOrlando Sentinel

April 10, 2018

Comedian Margaret Cho delights in the title of her new tour, “Fresh Off the Bloat.”

“I had the very first Asian-American family show, ‘All-American Girl,’ in 1994,” she said. “Now, we have a new Asian-American family show called ‘Fresh Off the Boat.’ I love the pun.”

Cho will perform four shows — two Friday, two Saturday — at the Orlando Improv,9101 International Drive, Suite 2310, Orlando. (Tickets, starting at $25, are available at theimprovorlando.com.)

She also loves the ABC sitcom, which is set in Orlando and was inspired by chef Eddie Huang’s life. “I think it’s a great show,” Cho said. “It’s what we’ve always aspired to in terms of an Asian-American family show.”

“All-American Girl” lasted just one season, and “Fresh Off the Boat” recently finished its fourth. “I really didn’t know what I was doing. I would know now much better,” said Cho, 49.

Cho draws on current events for her tour.

“There’s a lot about Trump, a lot about the #MeToo movement, which I think is really important,” she said. “It’s something that I’ve been discussing in my comedy even before it existed. There was a real sense of everything needed to change. Coming up in entertainment in the ’90s and how different it was then, and how hard it was then for people because you were continually harassed and continually being exploited. Now things are really different.”

The Korean-American comedian won’t be taking her tour to South Korea. “I will be eventually, but not this time,” she said. “I’m going to be in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. I will have to go back and do Korea later.”

She isn’t hopeful about President Donald Trump’s dealings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I think it’s crazy. I think everything having to do with Trump is crazy,” she said. “It’s very hard to know what to make of it from day to day.”

Cho said Trump’s engagement with comedians, from Rosie O’Donnell to Kathy Griffin to the late-night hosts, is “very strange.”

“To have that kind of engagement with comedy, why aren’t you paying attention to the country?” she asked. “You’re just always looking at the jokes people are making.”

But she praised the Parkland students after the Feb. 14 mass shooting.

“I’m so inspired by them,” she said. “They endured what was the worst thing that could have happened. They’re taking their experience and changing the world.”

Cho described herself as hopeful about the world. “I think it’s going to be OK. It’s gotta be,” she said.

She feels that way about her life after being in rehab for drink, drugs and suicidal thoughts. She says rehab was the “timeout” she needed from the business and daily life to get her life back on track. Her life is now lots of fun and focused, she said.

She has a TV project about another Asian-American family in the works, but she is mainly focused on the tour and estimates she is on the road 200 days a year.

“I just love being on the road. I love traveling and doing comedy and touring. I feel like I’m hitting my stride,” she said. “I have a sense of purpose. I love it, and I think it’s really invigorating mentally. It’s important to keep doing.”