INTERVIEW | Margaret Cho24th October 2012
Margaret Cho is an unstoppable force. A designer, author, actress, singer-songwriter an equalities warrior and one of America’s funniest women.
The Gay UK grabbed a minute with Ms. Cho mid Atlantic as she travels to the UK on her whirlwind world tour of her brand new show ‘Mother’.
TGUK Tell us about your new show ‘Mother’?
MC It’s raunchy outlaw comedy. I thought the name was fitting, as it’s just about as profane that you can get – so it is a joke unto itself.
TGUK How is it different from your previous stand up shows?
MC It’s new material, it’s very raw, it’s very bold, I would say real filth, which gets into riotous chaos and sometimes even some gratuitous nudity!
TGUK You seem to tour in the UK quite a lot. What do you love about the UK?
MC I have wonderful friends, amazing fans – and there is killer shopping. I spend everything I make so I keep it all in the country!
TGUK Is doing stand up in the UK different from America?
MC Yes and no, but in America, standup comedy is not as used as much as a social instigator as it is in the UK. We don’t have the comedy scene that is present in our pub culture – and we don’t have a real pub culture – as in we don’t have a ‘local’, which is a shame!
TGUK If you were to take us on a night out in London, where would we go?
MC We should def go to the Groucho Club! It’s my house!
Then we should end up at the Vauxhall tavern for Duckie – and then back to the Groucho Club. The hospital Club is nice too!
TGUK You’ve been spending a lot of time in Georgia filming Drop Dead Diva. What’s Georgia like?
MC Our set is in a very conservative area, but Atlanta is very liberal, which is nice. But the state surrounding it is certainly very straight-laced.
TGUK Does Georgia have a good gay scene?
MC Yes – in Atlanta! The gay scene is huge and varied and rivals even San Francisco or London! It’s really fabulous!
TGUK To us, you (along with people like Armistead Maupin) will always be synonymous with San Francisco. What was it like growing up in the gay capital of America?
MC I love Armistead – and he did a signing at my father’s bookstore in the 70s! I remember he had a little table outside and people came up and talked to him about his books and he signed them. He’s a wonderful writer and a dear man. I loved my upbringing because I learned about politics from people like Harvey milk, I watched the rise of gay chic and experienced the great grief and tragedy of aids – there was joy and sorrow in equal amounts, but it made me into a complete person.
TGUK Do you go back to San Francisco often?
MC Yes! I love it. I get tattooed there by Ed Hardy and Mike Davis and I have many friends and lovers there.
TGUK You were deputised by the City of San Francisco to perform marriages when it became legal in California. Sadly, thanks to Prop 8, this is no longer possible. Any plans to get deputised in other states and perform marriages anywhere else?
MC I have a universal ministry card, which allows me to perform weddings anywhere and everywhere so I am ready to do it anytime!
TGUK Your television show, Drop Dead Diva (Sky Living) deals with issues surrounding appearance. You have been very open in the past about your struggle with eating disorders following the cancellation of All American Girl, when you were told by producers to lose weight. Is doing a show like DDD a bit like coming full circle?
MC Oh yes – since ddd is all about feeling good and being yourself, and my previous experiences in TV were not so easy. I think it’s great that ddd is such a success and that we are finding this great audience who loves what we are doing!
TGUK We love that Kim Kardashian is guest starring on Drop Dead Diva. Who’s a bigger diva, you or KK?
MC I never got to meet Kim, which is sad because I love her! We never shot any scenes together!!
TGUK Who has been your all-time favourite person to work with?
MC Patty Duke – the best.
TGUK Who do you want to work with but haven’t yet?
MC I’d love to do something with Cher, I always felt she was the truest, fiercest gay icon! I love her!
TGUK More and more LGBT actors are coming out now. Do you feel that the entertainment industry is being more accepting of different people?
MC Yes I think that people coming out and being activists has helped tremendously. It’s becoming completely accepted and that is the best.
TGUK You have a lot of tattoos and we read somewhere that between 20-30% of your body is tattooed. How did that start? Are you working your way towards 100%?
MC I am probably close to about 70% now. I come from tattooed queers in San Francisco. It’s my tribe. They were the first bears/leather/alternative people I met – and they shaped me. I am tattooed as a tribute to them.
TGUK We loved that you did Dancing With The Stars in America. Any chance you’ll come over here for Strictly Come Dancing (the UK version of DWS)?
MC I would love to! I am not famous enough in the UK for a reality show – yet! I would love it though!
TGUK Congratulations on your Emmy nomination for your guest spot on 30 Rock. You looked so cute with your parents. What made you bring them as your date?
MC Thank you! They love showbiz stuff so I really wanted to bring them. They really think it’s so great!
TGUK You’re very political. What are your thoughts on the upcoming American election?
MC I am really hoping people vote for Obama – I am concerned with the homophobia that has been all over the republican campaigns. It’s their not so secret weapon – and it’s terrifying.
TGUK You supported Obama in the last election. Do you love him even more now that he has officially come out in support of same sex marriage?
MC Absolutely. Obama is great. He is doing a wonderful job – it’s the hardest job in the world – he is doing a good job.
TGUK What will you do if Romney wins?
MC I am not sure. They are really scary to me.
TGUK What’s next for Margaret Cho?
MC I will be going to Amsterdam for some shows then off to the us for more tour dates!! Everything can be found on margaretcho.com