An interview with Margaret Cho

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Margaret Cho is a woman of many talents.  She is well known as a comedian, author, singer, talk show host, and philanthropist.  Her albums have sold millions of albums, garnered Grammy nominations, and she has even managed to sell out Carnegie Hall. 

Ms. Cho began her career at a club next door to a bookstore owned by her parents.  The club is no longer there, but the first act always leads to something more.  In her shows Ms. Cho leaves no stone un-turned.  She is open and honest about her sexuality, the prejudice she has experienced, her relationships, and her family.  She is just as honest in interviews.  This makes interviewing her extremely hard as there isn’t a question that she hasn’t been asked. 

When you prepare for an interview, you do research.  You want to learn about the celebrity you are going to interview.  You watch television interviews to see what questions others have asked.  You read interviews to see how the questions come off in print.  You try to weed through all the questions to find out what questions haven’t been asked.  Unfortunately, when you have a celebrity like Ms. Cho, who is an open book, you have to settle for asking the same old questions that she has already answered and hope that maybe she gives you a different interview than she has given in the past.  This is harder than it sounds.

She has performed at major venues, most of them being sold out shows, so when I asked Ms. Cho if there was a venue that she hasn’t played that she would like to, she wasn’t really able to answer since she’s basically played them all.  “Maybe the Ryman actually, I’ve been there in Nashville before.  Radio City Music Hall I’ve been to before and that was wonderful.  So there’s a lot of different places to play.“   She’s is scheduled to perform shows at Zanies in Nashville in the coming months.  “I’ve been there when I was recording my first record Cho Dependent.  So I recorded one of the songs just a few doors from Zanies.” 

Ms. Cho is known as a great comedian, but what people may not realize is that she is also a philanthropist.  She has long been a supporter for the GLBT community and has won several awards for her work.  Recently, she began and founded the Be Robin program.  She started this program in honor of her friend, the late Robin Williams, who was a strong advocate for the homeless community.  Ms. Cho would announce on her twitter page where an event would be and invite her fans to show up and support the cause.  Each event would have music, comedy, and provide education on the homeless community in San Francisco.  “It’s deciding which street corner is the best to go to and there are certain areas where there are larger populations of homeless people.  So that’s where we kind of decided to go.”  She coordinated with her friends for sponsorship and entertainment.  “Bob Mould is a really good friend of mine and I just asked him to come.  Rosie O’Donnell sponsored the first event so she wasn’t physically there, but she gave us a lot of money to make sure that we could do it.  So there were lots of different levels to involve people.” 

The homeless problem has been put on the back burner with all of the issues taking place in the world these days.  Because it’s not something that can woven into the public persona and hit home like the Ferguson events.  “Yea, it’s a different thing,” she says.  Ms. Cho doesn’t take deciding her charity events lightly.  The homeless problem is something that touches her deeply.  “This one was Robin Williams’ big charity.  His legacy is something that needs to be remembered.” 

Ms. Cho started 2015 with a new show on TLC.  All About Sex premiered on January 10th and is the first talk show for the network.  “It was something that TLC wanted to do, a late night talk show that focused on women’s sexuality.  And so it made sense to me to be a part of it.”  Since Ms. Cho has talked about her private life in her live shows, it is no wonder that TLC would want her to be a part of their show.  She has talked about not being able to find the “G spot”, being late with returning a porno back to her video store, and usingsex toys with her partners.  She has the ability to make you laugh about sexuality while also educating you at the same time.  This is a unique ability that will go a long way with the talk show and I’m sure this raw honesty will pull viewers in for the network. 

Ms. Cho will also begin touring this year throughout Canada and the United States with several shows slated to be at Zanies in Nashville.  “I talk a little bit about Robin.  I talk a lot about Joan Rivers.  She was extremely influential.  So there will be lots of material like that.  It’s just lots of stuff about the need for social change and how comedy can effect social change.  So it will be a lot about trying to understand how women can fight against this violence that we’ve been experiencing so much lately.”  Her new show has a lot to do with “anger, rage, and blood letting.  It’s a very beautiful portrait and I am really proud of it.” 

While I wasn’t able to ask many questions that would allow for lengthy answers as Ms. Cho has already been asked all of these questions before, I was still able to draw a portrait of a women who cares about her shows, her charities, and isn’t afraid to show the rawness to her fans.  Fans in turn, show their support by showing up at her shows, buying the albums, tuning in to her talk show, and contributing to her charities.  As a celebrity, that’s really all you can ask for in terms of success.