Friday, January 16, 2015

Margaret Cho: Sex, Globes & Busking

Margaret Cho: Bring It!
Photo: Kyle Christy for TLC
"I'm of mixed North and South Korean decent. My people have been separated, incarcerated, starved, brainwashed and denied free speech for over 65 years. The only weapon I have is comedy. If you deny us the most basic human dignity, I have the right to make fun of you. I'm not playing the race card. I'm playing the rice card. "  Margaret Cho 

This was Margaret Cho's response regarding her show stealing appearance on the 2015 Golden Globes Award Ceremony when some people declared what she did racist. Margaret was just doing what comes naturally to her, pushing the envelope and "playing the rice card" like she has for many years prior to the high profile evening. 

In addition to her recent triumph on the Globes Cho also has a new TV show. What's it about? It's All About Sex, she along with Heather McDonald, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry let it all hang out every Saturday night at 11 pm on TLC.

And she recently took to the streets of San Francisco to busk a move for the city's homeless in honor of the late Robin Williams

OK you all know the drill, it's time to get down to business, Cho business!

MS: Hi Margaret, I hear you have a land line today.

MC: Oh I know it's like, I have no reception in this building and it's really crazy! It's so weird to be that cut off so it's very exciting to have a land line.

MS: Congratulations on the Golden Globes that was really awesome!

MC: Thank you.

MS: What a surprise it was really kept under wraps.

Hey North Korea, We're Addressing You! l-r Tina Fey, Margaret, Amy Poehler
MC: It was a big secret. Tina Fey and I had talked about it and said that is was our secret thing. Her and Amy Poehler didn't tell anybody it was going to happen, it was great! I love those guys!

MS: They were going to tell jokes about North Korea anyway, this took it to the next level.

MC: Right and they actually had somebody of North Korean decent to be able to sock it to them! (laughs) I mean I really wanted to sock it to North Korea, my family has been separated for sixty-five years. They've been tortured, killed and starved for over a generation and a half. It's really important to me to be able to make that statement against them, because the only weapon I have is comedy. It was a great, beautiful pleasure to do it.

MS: People's backlash against you doing it seemed really strange to me.

MC: Because people are racist, it's just racism and it's really sad. There is so much anti-Asian things out there in comedy. Yet the only time anyone makes a fuss is when I do something. That's fucked up.

MS: It's totally fucked up. No one I know thought anything like "Ooooooo racism" when they saw it. All I heard from friends was how great you were.

MC: Because you don't know any racists! (both laugh) You don't know anybody who is racist! (laughing)

MS: Well I wouldn't tolerate it.

MC: That's good, yeah I wouldn't either so it's shocking to me too.

MS: You played the "rice card."

MC: Yeah, those are my people and I'm playing the "rice card."

MS: Let me play Devil's Advocate really quickly here. Since this whole race thing came up, and it is something that never would have occurred to me. How would you have felt if a Caucasian comedian, say Tina Fey did what you did?

MC: Well I don't think she would. I don't think anybody would and I would be disappointed because I would want to do it. This type of thing is my job. 

MS: How was meeting Meryl Streep?

MC: Afterward she kissed me.

MS: Ooooooooh!
Yes! Benedict Cumberbatch Photo Bombing Meryl Streep & Margaret 

MC: She kissed me on the cheek after and it was so warm and loving and generous. I was super excited about Benedict Cumberbatch photo bombing me. I am a total Cumberbitch! When I was rehearsing the angle of the photo I pointed the camera in his direction hoping he would do it, and he did. (laughs)

MS:  Let's talk about your latest TV show All About Sex on TLC. I caught the premiere episode and I like what Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry said about women having extramarital affairs. That women have always been having them, but now they are just more open about them. I think that is true.

MC: Right. We're able to be more honest now about our dishonesty. 

MS: Like you said on the show women are conditioned to lie, be duplicitous.

MC: Be liars, be duplicitous. To not sort of tell the truth and to be very good at it. To save people's feelings, not to be emasculating...whatever the reason. It's very much ingrained in us to have a double agent personae. 

MS: (laughs) I like that, I know plenty of women who are just as horny as men.

MC: Exactly!

MS: Did you know I write about sex?

MC: Yes,that's great!

MS: Like you, I don't have a degree in that field but I have an opinion.

MC: Everybody is an expert actually. We all know what it is and what's going on, we can all speak to it. 

MS: The first episode was titled "Friends With Benefits" that's something you like, correct?

Hot Stuff! Margaret Cho
Photo: Dusti Cunningham
MC: Yeah, that's a thing, as is long love affairs, monogamy and one night stands. They're all different and they're all great in their own way. They all have pros and cons, any kind of human connection that's sexual has the potential to be fulfilling.Every connection with another human being is different, you grow to enjoy and respect the differences. The world is full of people and you've got to figure out and navigate your own way through it. 

MS: Tell me about busking for the homeless in your home city of San Francisco in honor of Robin Williams.

MC: It was great! I got to bring all the different things I do together...comedy, singing and burlesque, I would just get naked in the street. That raised a lot of money, people would see my body and give me money, I don't know why (laughs) but I raised a lot of money for the homeless. I would put money in my G-string and give it to homeless people, and they were so happy they were crying. It was so beautiful, we were able to set-up haircuts for homeless people, we had the show happening and food, money and clothing were being donated. There was a beauty salon on the corner with many talented people donating their time giving manicures and pedicures on the street. That's incredible! This would go on for three hours at a time all over San Francisco it was really profound, I really loved it. 

MS: Awesome!

MC: What's really remarkable was there was a big storm and the city opened up a bunch of buildings so homeless people could have shelter from the rain. Also Google donated two million dollars to the homeless the same week we performed. I feel like we started some sort of consciousness about the homeless that had a greater effect than what we were just doing. 

MS: Very cool. Of course you're touring in 2015, where are you recording your special?

MC: At the Gramercy Theatre in New York, the special will be recorded on March 7th, I will also be performing there on March 6th as well. The show is all about how to deal with the problems of the world we're encountering and how to manage our own reach around the injustice. It's called "There's No I in Team, But There is a Cho in Psycho" (both laugh).

MS: This is off the cuff but do you ever watch "The Good Wife?" something you just said made me think of it.

MC: Oh, my really great friend Alan Cumming is on that, no I haven't seen it.

MS: You should watch it sometime I think you'd love it.

MC: I will, Alan is the best guy!

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