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MARGARET CHO

Margaret Cho brings her Psycho Tour to Pittsburgh 

“In comedy, there’s so far you can go, and then people get very upset or defensive.”

By 

MARGARET CHO

Thu., May 12-Sat., May 14. Pittsburgh Improv, 166 Water St., The Waterfront, West Homestead. $25. 412-462-5233 orpittsburgh.improv.com

Margaret Cho’s current Psycho Tour — “There’s No ‘I’ in Team, But There’s ‘Cho’ in Psycho” — coincides with the release of her new album,American Myth. The 12 songs co-written by Cho cover characteristically provocative terrain — an elegy for Anna Nicole Smith to “Fat Pussy” and “I Wanna Kill My Rapist” (whose video depicts girls practicing martial arts).

The veteran, often raunchy comic and activist known as an advocate for LGBTQ rights returns to Pittsburgh for the first time since 2012, for five shows at the Pittsburgh Improv. She spoke with CP by phone from Nashville about music, politics and women in comedy.

Does music let you say things comedy can’t?

You can address difficult topics, such as sexual abuse, like with “I Wanna Kill My Rapist,” which is a really magnificent video, too. … In comedy, there’s so far you can go, and then people get very upset or defensive. With music it’s a little easier. 

Does your current show cover topical ground?

A lot about the election too, which is really baffling. And my own history talking about politics over time, and about how different elections have affected me personally.

What’s baffling?

There is a presumptive nominee for the Republican Party that the speaker of the House can’t even see himself endorsing. … It’s a kind of apocalyptic moment for the Republicans. It’s really intense to watch it, because even Fox News can’t bring themselves to endorse Trump.

Whom do you back?

I like Bernie but I will vote for Hillary — in order to not vote for Trump. I hate that when you have to sort of decide when you are voting against somebody.

Is it really easier today for women to do raunchy comedy?

I think it’s definitely broader, the landscape of what we see in comedy in general. There’s a lot more women now that are well known. … I think people today, like Amy Schumer and those wonderful girls from Broad City, there’s a lot happening for women. This is coming out from Sarah Silverman, from me, Kathy Griffin, our generation — and mostly Janeane Garofalo, I think was really influential in my sort of class of comedy.