SEP 2016 - 7:28PM
on sexism in Hollywood, comedy and losing Robin Williams
comedian Margaret Cho talks about sexism, misogyny and the shock of
losing Robin Williams with Marc Fennell.
By Marc Fennell
Source: The Feed
Cho is a trailblazer: the Korean-American started doing comedy when
she was just 16 years old.
the nineties she co-created the very first all-Asian sitcom on US television
- All American Girl.
But a TV
executive told her face was too fat, leading her to get hooked on diet
medication, booze and eventual kidney failure. She channelled her rage
on to the stage.
comedy tackles her history of being sexually abused as a girl, racism,
sexism, being out and proudly bisexual.
her very Asian mum.
who has spoken openly - on stage and online - about being a sexual assault
survivor, Cho says there's something empowering about tackling the subject
in such a public forum.
about showing your level of skill, also, as a comedian... Your level
of skill is determined by how serious a subject you can tackle.
fact is rape and comedy have now become very connected with Bill Cosby,
Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris. Every continent seems to have their own version.
we have to deal with it because it's what has happened news wise because
of their actions."
who freely admits to putting "everything out there" with her
comedy, Cho has struggled to block out some of the more damaging aspects
of fame leading to issues with eating disorders and addiction in her
think that when we look at a sort of idealised body, this idea that
we have to be a certain weight, it's put upon us by misogyny that's
in the media," she says.
way we have these expectations about a woman's body, these diseases
that are about eating disorders they're really this internalised version
of misogyny, of sexism, of body hatred.
all very sexist."
up in the industry, Cho had several mentors and friends who helped her
along the way including the man she describes as her "comedy grandfather"
Award-winner passed in 2014 after taking his own life and Cho says it's
something that still occupies her mind to this day.
was really something that none of us expected from him... he was always
closed off and complicated ... but there was always this sense of him
taking care of the community and the people around him.
we had never thought to ask him if he needed help. That's something
we have to live with, the fact that we never asked him if he was okay
and obviously he wasn't.
really difficult. We never got to see if he was okay, we never asked,
and it was incredibly selfish and incredibly difficult.
never thought that that would end up something he would do, suicide
never seemed like an option."