Margaret Cho: Cho Dependent (pt1: The Interview!)

      Sometimes as a freelance writer I get to do some journalistic pieces, interviewing various interesting folks about their work, from the arts to politics and all in between. Sometimes it's through chance meetings, sometimes a bit of outreach and leg work or in this case pure and simple miracle (can a Hanukkah miracle  occur in  August??) .  Full disclosure: I am a rabid fan of comedienne/actress/political activist/singer-songwriter (!?) Margaret Cho (I mean of course I am! )
     When Margaret Cho's management contacted me about the possibility of doing this interview I must say I nearly deleted the email after only briefly skimming it.  With two film productions looming my extra cash has been tight. I wasn't  attending her Cho Dependent Tour kick off and I thought the email was simply an advert unknowingly pouring salt in my wound.  Good thing I'm dyslexic and  usually read things a second time. So tonight my husband Taylor and I are guests at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and I'll have a full review of the Cho Dependent Tour kick off tomorrow.  It's not every day I get a random request to interview one of the most iconic women in America today.  
Check out my interview with the All American Girl herself Margaret Cho where we discuss hair metal, what we can learn from gay youth and more after the jump.

Diggin' To China :First off, how are your mom and dad doing? People are very invested in your family (especially your mother) since they have inspired so much of your comedy over the years.

Margaret Cho: They are doing great! We would have loved to do more seasons of “The Cho Show” together, but we really enjoyed working together and will go into the studio to record a song I wrote for all of us to sing. It’s a very sweet take on the Beatles "She's Leaving Home," which is my and my mom’s favorite. My parents are great singers!   

You’ve battled and publicly discussed your addictions and body images issues throughout your career, now in your 40s and in control of your career do you ever find yourself slipping back into those old thought patterns? How do you counter that?

MC: Well I don't have addiction problems like I used to but I have a tendency for some bad habits like not sleeping and eating badly and also smoking and drinking instead of doing healthier things. What keeps me in line is taking care of my voice. That's really precious to me and also very fragile. It’s more fragile but more beautiful than its ever been so that's a change. I really have to care for myself if I want to sound good!

  DTC : HEY IT'S THE PREREQUISTE RACE QUESTION!! Since you are arguably one of the most recognizable Asian-Americans celebrities in the world as well as a queer icon; (it’s you and George Takei as a double headers here!), Do you ever feel the gay community does not do enough to fully integrate its minorities with a minority? Is the mainstream gay community too white?

MC: I think that being a double minority is a lot to handle for anyone and so I'd say that it isn't that the community is too white its just hard to be queer AND Asian! Also its hard for the gay community to deal with the scourge of homophobia and take on racism at the same time. It’s too much!  

  DTC I'm hearing a lot about expatriation from various queer friends, your last book was I Have Decided To Stay And Fight. After President Obama (who doesn’t support same-sex marriage) defended DADT, Target donates 150,000 to antigay candidates, and Arizona passes crazy racial profiling legislation in the name of immigration reform should we stay and fight still?

MC: These are reasons to fight. When all seems against you. When all seems like its going wrong. This is the time to stand together and fight for what we know is right.

  There is a lot of complacency in the gay community surrounding the fight for our civil rights, any thoughts on how to motivate young queers to take it from the bars and into the streets?

MC: Actually I've found young queers to be way more political than even people in my generation. They're forming gay/straight alliances in schools and making strides already - even before getting into bars. From what I see, the kids are alright. Us older folks need to learn from them!

  DTC Okay enough serious questions: What are you listening to these days besides your amazing new album Cho Dependent? What are you reading? Any obsessive celebrity crush? Monkeys Vs Robots?

MC: I'm trying to read as much about hair metal as possible. Listening to it. I never did when it was popular! So its all Guns n Roses and Motley Crue. Also reading all their autobiographies. Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee! Slash and Steven Adler. Its like heavy metal Rashomon because they tell the same stories from different perspectives! Its so amazing.

  DTC You joke in Beautiful that a key to a successful marriage is sleeping with lots and lots of other people (I’ve been “married”/domestic partnered/with my husband for seven years) any other tips for a successful relationship?

MC: Honesty is what its all about. That and within reason - don't deny yourself anything. That's the best way to live in general.

 I want to thank Margaret Cho and every one at Planetary New Media for all their cooperation and support. and if you wanna catch  Ms Cho on tour check out the listings below:
  • 08.26.10 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland, OR
  • 08.27.10 Paramount Theatre Seattle, WA
  • 08.28.10 Queen Elizabeth Theatre Vancouver, BC
  • 09.10.10 House of Blues Houston, TX
  • 09.11.10 Verizon Theatre Dallas, TX
  • 09.12.10 Paramount Theatre Austin, TX
  • 09.17.10 The Pearl Concert Theatre @ the Palms Las Vegas, NV
  • 09.18.10 Dodge Theatre Phoenix, AZ
  • 09.23.10 The Grove of Anaheim Anaheim, CA
  • 09.24.10 Humphreys Concerts by the Bay San Diego, CA
  • 09.25.10 The Mountain Winery Saratoga, CA
  • 09.26.10 The Uptown Theatre Napa, CA
  • 10.01.10 Southern Alberta Jubilee Calgary, AB
  • 10.02.10 Wimdspear Centre Edmonton, AB
  • 10.09.10 Paramount Theatre Denver, CO
  • 10.14.10 Overtrue Centrer for the Arts - Capitol Theatre Madison, WI
  • 10.15.10 State Theatre Minneapolis, MN
  • 10.16.10 Chicago Theatre Chicago, IL
  • 10.17.10 The Fillmore Detroit Detroit, MI
  • 10.22.10 Massey Hall Toronto, ON
  • 10.23.10 Salle Wilfrid Pelletier Montreal, PQ
  • 10.24.10 National Arts Centre Ottawa, ON
  • 10.27.10 Scranton Cultural Center Scranton, PA
  • 10.28.10 Wilbur Theatre Boston, MA
  • 10.29.10 Warner Theatre Washington DC
  • 10.30.10 Caeser's Atlantic City Atlantic City, NJ
  • 11.04.10 Wellmont Theatre Montclair, NJ
  • 11.05.10 TBA New York, NY
  • 11.06.10 Fox Theatre Mashantucket, CT
  • 12.03.10 The Wiltern Los Angeles, CA
  • 12.04.10 Nob Hill Masonic Center San Francisco, CA
  • 12.09.10 Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, FL
  • 12.10.10 Hard Rock Live @ Universal Studios Orlando, FL
  • 12.11.10 Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater Miami Beach, FL
  • 12.12.10 Tabernacle Atlanta, GA

Cho Dependent track list:
1. Intervention(co-written with & featuring Tegan & Sara)
2. Calling in Stoned (co-written with Ben Lee / featuring Ben Lee & Tommy Chong)
3. Your Dick (co-written with AC Newman / featuring Ben Lee)
4. Baby I’m With The Band (co-written with & featuring Brendan Benson)
5. Hey Big Dog (co-written with Patty Griffin / featuring Ben Lee & Fiona Apple)
6. I'm Sorry (co-written with & featuring Andrew Bird)
7. Lice (co-written with & featuring Ben Lee)
8. Enemies (co-written with & featuring Jon Brion)
9. Asian Adjacent (co-written with & featuring Grant Lee Phillips)
10. Gimme Your Seed (co-written with & featuring Garrison Starr)
11. Eat Shit and Die (co-written with & featuring Grant Lee Phillips)
12. Captain Cameltoe (co-written with & featuring Ani DiFranco)
13. My Puss (co-written with Diana Yanez & Kurt Hall / parody of Mickey Avalon & Dirt Nasty song)
Hidden Track (on CD/Digital only): Lesbian Escalation (co-written with & featuring Rachael Yamagata


Rosemary Ragusa said...

Great interview Andrew. You know how much we all love the Cho!

Megan Cline said...

Awesome interview. You ask very insightful questions. How exciting to get to interview her. She seems like an awesome person.

Red River Noise said...

Cool interview! Especially the "minority within a minority" part. Read our interview with Ms. Cho at