Simply irresistable. Delightfully outrageous. And downright crude. Margaret Cho fearlessly tackles whatever the hell she wants: stand-up, television, film, writing, and now comedy music. She tackles social issues with a tainted, pitch-perfect wit, and specifically represents queer issues and humor on a shared playing field. She shows that comedy can, in fact, be meaningful in its cloud of raunch.
And, as reflected in her interview with PR.com of 2008, she has her upbringing to thank for her revolutionary demeanor. Growing up in a restrictive Korean household has brought her to a place of pure, insatiable, and downright balls-out expression, an enviable ‘live-out-loud’ mantra pouring through her performances,writing, and music. Her stand-up is sparked, memorably in part, by her personal depictions of her Korean mother, that kind of humor that screams of behind-closed-doors familial honesty. Cho’s raw candor and honesty is inspiring and translates to everyone’s experience, way beyond the cultural differences; we all have families, and we all have stories. It’s our upbringing that makes us who we are. Growing up provides us with some comic relief (even if it’s realized years later, after the scars have been healed a bit with some vitamin E and aloe vera jiz); some ammo for creative output; some dirt to own in an (believe or not) imperfect world. The ones with the dysfunctional beginnings? We’re the lucky ones.
PR.com: And how did you get your parents to agree to be on the show?
Margaret Cho: They are so sweet and they always want to help me. They’ve always wanted to help, but they didn’t know how. So, this was really great, because this is the perfect opportunity for them to actually help me out. They were so into doing it. I was excited!
PR.com: I finally realize why you’ve put them in your act for so long. They are so funny without realizing they’re being funny.
Margaret Cho: Yeah, they’re really cute.
PR.com: What do your parents think of your public persona?
Margaret Cho: I think they’re a little shocked by it, and a little bit taken aback by it sometimes because it’s so foreign to their culture. Korean culture is very puritanical and super secretive. They never talk about, like, sex or anything [like that] in mixed company. Even in segregated company you don’t talk about things. They’re very, very much about image and status and everything looking a certain way. I think it’s hard for my parents sometimes to accept what I do, but they love it.
PR.com: Do you think that growing up in what you describe as a puritanical, status conscious atmosphere is what you’re rebelling against today?
Margaret Cho: Absolutely. Because I grew up in this very repressed environment, I just want to be rebellious, and I want to talk about all the things that I do and be very honest about it.