VARIETY MAGAZINE
BACK TO
MARGARET CHO

Margaret Cho Discusses Her Comedy Album, Hosting Grammys Premiere Ceremony

FEBRUARY 8, 2017 |

Comedian and E! “Fashion Police” host Margaret Cho earned a Grammy nomination for her album “American Myth.” She’ll perform a “celebration show” Feb. 8 at Largo in Los Angeles and will host the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony that live-streams Feb. 12 at 12:30 p.m. in the lead-up to the ceremony at the Staples Center.

“American Myth” is a comedy album, but it’s actual music  and really quality music at that. Were you aiming for a crossover?

I wanted to make an album that sounded good. I love comedy music and I’m a big fan of “Weird Al” Yankovic, but these are not parody songs. You know, there are a lot of comedic elements when I listen to somebody like Bob Dylan or even Morrissey, so I wanted to go more in that direction. I learned quite a lot from being on tour with Cyndi Lauper; she helped me a lot. And later I took a lot of different kind of singing lessons. For this record, I actually composed a lot of the songs with Garrison Starr.

You’re up against some great comedians in the category, like Patton Oswalt and Amy Schumer.

I’m really happy to be in this company. They’re my really good friends and also people I’m a really big fan of.

It’s a full day for you at the Grammy Awards; you’ll be there hosting the live-streamed “Premiere Ceremony.”

Yes, I’m hosting the pre-telecast; it’s the actual ceremony before the ceremony. I’ll be giving out and presenting so many of the awards that aren’t on the televised Grammys. That’s usually where they do comedy album, so maybe I’ll be able to give myself the award. It’s going to be a great night; I’m being dressed by Brad Goreski, who sits next to me on “Fashion Police.”

I want to talk about some of the songs on the album; for example, where did “Fat P—y” come from?
That one is all about fat pride and a kind of joyousness about fatness. There are very few rock ’n’ roll songs that are about that. Other than “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen, there really aren’t that many. So it’s great to have a song that’s a rocking anthem to fat pride.

OK, but you’re not fat…
Well, I’m “Hollywood obese.” We have an incredibly narrow vision for women’s bodies in movies and TV. So I wanted to put a nice message out there for the rest of us.

Do you have a favorite track on the album?
I really love “Anna Nicole.” I actually wrote it for my first record, in 2010, but it didn’t seem right to put it out as she hadn’t been gone for that long. I’m glad it’s finally on this record. I love it.

You have always been on the forefront of speaking about women’s rights. Does it feel like we’ve made great strides recently? 
Absolutely. And we need feminism now more than ever. It’s a very intense time, a very difficult time. But you get to see wonderful things like [the march], with women all over the world getting together, talking about women’s rights.

Your sitcom “All-American Girl” was one of the first to feature an Asian family. Are you a fan of current shows like “Fresh off the Boat”?
I love that show and I love “Dr. Ken,” which I’ve been on. I love seeing these incredibly talented Asian-American comedians and actors, it’s so inspiring and great.

This may be a strange question, but do you find at this point in your career you still get intimidated going onstage?
Sure; it depends on what it is, but there’s always a weirdness to performing. I used to get terrible stage fright when I was younger. But I’ve found ways to calm myself down. I think it’s just to know that the audience is on your side, they don’t want you to fail. People want to see a good show.