The Cho-sen One
"This show is political," Margaret Cho says of her new comedy act, Assassin, which she performs at the Buell Theatre on Thursday, March 31. "Politics are inescapable. It's really a broad thing, and it's frustrating to me. It's due to a conservative atmosphere -- not only with the Bush administration, but it's the Iraq War, and then there's gay marriage. It's all vital and immediate."
"Vital" and "immediate" are terms that could also describe Cho, who claims the most diverse cult audience in comedy: As a woman, an Asian-American and a vocal supporter of gay equality, Cho has used her outsider status as an excuse to invent her own kind of standup, wresting laughs and poignancy from her strange life. But Assassin marks her first full foray into politics.
"My political views are pretty extreme," Cho says. "I've never had an audience absolutely hate me, but I have been in front of the wrong audience. That doesn't make me want to stop, though. I just go for the fight. It's actually kind of fun."
And as serious as her theme may be, Cho hasn't dropped the fun -- or her trademark self-deprecation -- from her act. She says she'll never stop making fun of herself, her gay boys or her mother. "It's a part of me and what I do. My gay friends love it when I make fun of them," she says, laughing. "I have no sacred cows. My mom loves it, too. She wants to be a part of the show."
Who wouldn't? Cho's career is in overdrive at the moment, with three DVDs, a Grammy-nominated CD and a best-selling book on the market; another book will be released this year. She also just wrapped Bam Bam and Celeste, a film that she wrote and stars in (she portrays both a fag hag and her mom). No doubt Mom will be ecstatic.
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