Margaret Cho's first visit to Taiwan was a journey of laughter

Exclusive interview with legendary comedian Margaret Cho

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Margaret Cho, live in Taipei.

Margaret Cho, live in Taipei. (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Korean-American Comedian Margaret Cho came to Taiwan this past Monday, May 14 for the first time to perform her new stand-up tour, "Fresh Off The Bloat”. 

Taiwan News had the honor and pleasure to sit down one-on-one with the witty comedian Margaret Cho. During the exclusive interview she discusses LGBT rights, her comedic inspirations, and how she jokes about serious topics in her shows. 

Comedian Margaret Cho, a California native, has performed comedy for 35 years. She uses her platform to openly critique political, social and personal issues, while bringing laughter to these hard-to-face topics.

Cho is able to connect various social intersections and relate to her audiences in a real and honest way; the wake-up call with a smack of laughter everyone needs once in a while.

Cho has been nominated five times for the Grammy and Emmy. She has broken glass-ceilings for women in many categories in the industry: woman in comedy, Asian comedians, openly bisexual, and a rape survivor who speaks up on behalf of the voiceless.

It was inspiring to be able to sit and listen to the positivity that exuberates from Cho and the conviction in her expressions. She is truly a great role model in pursuing dreams, fighting adversity, and laughing along the journey.

Tonight’s topics, can you give me just a quick rundown?

A lot about “Me Too”, a lot about this new era where we’re talking about feminism, and talking about women’s rights, talking about the body autonomy that we don’t have to put up with so much stuff that we’ve had to for so long.

So it’s a shift. Whitewashing is a big topic in my show, talking a lot about that. I’m talking a lot about Trump, which is really scary, trying to make sense of that. There’s a lot of different things.

How do you make jokes out of such serious topics?

Well you have to find a place of peace with some of it. You have to find a way to talk about things.

It’s gotta be funny somewhere. That’s the trick, I think, you have to try to find a way out of darkness.

You talk on very bold issues and you speak very boldly about them. Where do you find your strength?

I think it’s really powerful to share stories and you know when you are able to do that, there’s so much that can be accomplished. So I like that. To me it’s about plugging into the community and everybody’s stories and making it a possibility that we can all share something. So, to me, that is something very powerful.

Is this your first time in Taiwan?

This is my first time here. Yes.

What impressions do you have of Taiwan so far?

I haven’t seen anything. It seems like very like “Blade Runner”, like the signage is kind of futuristic, but there’s something like old China about it too. There’s a little bit of Tokyo as well.

There’s something about it that makes it very “pan-Asian”. Like it is not just China, it’s not just Japan, it’s not just the future, but also the past. It seems like a lot of crossroads are happening, which I love.

In terms of LGBT rights, what is your stance?

It’s really about equality and trying to find that place. It’s weird in America right now; it’s been weird for a while. But I think we’ve gotten huge accomplishments.

The fact that gay marriage exists there, the fact that we do have more of a sense of equality. And a lot of battles are continually being fought. So it’s something that is still changing, still in flux.

Having people to voice out for equality is great.

I think it’s really important. It’s something. It’s getting better. It’s changing and I think that the world is growing. We will have to see. It’s definitely getting better.

You have worked with Jerry Seinfeld with his Netflix series, you’ve worked with Kevin Hart. If you could work with anyone in the world, who would you want to work with next?

Well, I would love to work with Ali Wong again. I just did a thing with her. I brought her to UC- Berkeley and we did a nice talk with the students there.

We were talking about Asian-American identity in comedy and being a woman in comedy, and it was really special. I have this really great affinity with her and Aquafina; I’m very tight with her. So I would love to be able to do something with them again. 

Based on past shows and gigs, who would you say is your favorite that you have worked with?

Well, I loved working with Joan Rivers. That was amazing and always incredible. I really laughed. She really made me laugh a lot. For me, it was very special to work with her.

What was the best advice she has given you?

Well I think that she was just encouraging. She was very much of the mindset that we will always have a job; comedians will always work. It’s not like actresses where you only have a certain amount of time that you can actually make movies.

Comedians, you work forever, and that’s great that we have this job insurance that has actually made sense. and it actually has come out that way. So I love that.

Click here for part two of Taiwan News' exclusive interview with Comedian Margaret Cho.

For more information about Cho and her upcoming shows, go to her Facebook page, or the official Margaret Cho page