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GAY HOUSTON NIGHTLIFE, ARTS & CULTURE
MARCH 18, 2005
CflO is a killer!
CAUSTIC COMEDIAN TALKS ABOUT
POLITICAL HUMOR, AND BEING A TRANNIE
By MUBARAK DAHIR
nARGARET CHO IS A KILLER.
She wants to get you with the laughter.
On the simplest level, that's the
notion behind her evocatively titled new
tour, "The Assassin."
But Cho, a famously caustic Korean-
American comedian, is anything but
simple. Known for the often biting political commentary that permeates her acts, Cho's choice of a title for
her current tour is, no doubt, a jab at the current political atmosphere of America.
Cho, who appeared in Houston a year ago, will bring
her both personal and political wit to Hobby Center for
the Performing arts on April 7.
She took a few moments to speak to the Houston
Voice about her evolving sense of humor, her political
activism and why she considers herself a trannie.
Houston Voice: Not surprisingly, your new show is
provocatively titled. Tell us about it.
Margaret Cho: Well, it is a provocative title. It's a
provocative show. It's about bracing ourselves in this
new political atmosphere. But it's about bracing ourselves for the positive, not the negative. It's about trying
to find some light in all the darkness that surrounds us,
political and otherwise. I consider it upbeat.
Voice: Upbeat? But aren't you famous for being caustic?
Cho: (laughing) I'm getting older! I'm more inclined
to be compassionate and not quite as sarcastic. I find I
have more positive things to say now. I don't think you
have to be cruel to be funny. Although, let's admit it,
sometimes that can be fun.
Voice: What's it like to be a liberal political comedian in a time when the country is turning more conservative?
Cho: Oh my God, it totally makes me feel like more
of a renegade. What I think are really middle-of-the-
road ideas, like gay marriage and gay adoption, are
now considered somehow radical by a lot of the rest of
the country. There's a huge moral question surrounding these issues that I think are obvious points like.
'Can gay people be good parents?' It's so condescending.
Voice: So does that make it easier or harder on you?
Cho: I think it makes it easier to be a political comedian
these days, because the lines are so strongly drawn in the
Voice: Does much of the show address gay and lesbian politics?
Cho: I think just about everything in the show will
speak to gays and lesbians, because that's where I come
from, I'm defined as a queer artist. I'm part of the gay
and lesbian movement.
Voice: In the past you've described yourself as bisex
ual. Does that remain accurate?
Cho: Well, I'm married to a man, and at home I am
such a housewife! And yet I am so gay! But I'm a trannie, too.
Voice: You're a trannie? Am I getting a scoop here?
Cho: (laughing) Well, I'm a trannie because I'm so
manly in a lot of roles in my life. I'm a very demanding
boss and producer. Stand-up comedy is a very male profession. So in my day-to-day work life, I'm a man. But in my
personal life, I'm such a woman. I love being a wife, and I
want to have a baby.
Voice: What does your husband think of you being a
Cho: (laughing) Well, he's an artist, so his life is
very queer, too.
Voice: So, you're a married, American-Korean queer
trannie political comedian? That's a lot to juggle!
Cho: Well, yeah, it's a challenge incorporating so
many identities into my life, (laughing) But as an artist,
you have so many facets to choose from. And you know,
sometimes you can go too far, but as an artist, you have
to push the envelope, you can't be constrained by being
too sensitive. You have to let go of societal approval and
just get to the best place you can as an artist.
Voice: Do you consider yourself an activist as well
as an artist?
Cho: Oh, I definitely consider myself an activist. My
art has the same purpose as activism.
Voice: And what purpose is that?
Cho: The political, important, serious purpose of
expanding minds to embrace more progressive ways of
Voice: Do you consider yourself a role model?
Cho: I don't know if I am a role model or not, but I'd
like to be. I'm very happy with what I'm doing and how
I'm doing it. Isn't that worth emulating?
Comedian Margaret Cho, who calls herself a queer artist/ will perform at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on April 7
•ft MORE INFO
Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
www.ticketmaster.com or 713-629-3700
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