TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In part two of Taiwan News’ exclusive interview with Korean-American comedian Margaret Cho, she talks about her inspiration, favorite partners and her comedic beginnings.
She came to perform on the Asia segment of her stand-up tour, "Fresh Off The Bloat,” where she talks all things uncomfortable and making audiences laugh at harsh truths and realities.
In her Taipei show last Monday, Cho clobbered hardcore topics one joke after another. There were a number of times when the audience laughed so hard and then did a double take, thinking “ did I just laugh at a Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby sexual assault joke?
Matters such as Trump, racial issues, whitewashing in Hollywood, the "Me Too" movement, LGBT rights, women's rights, and many imitations of her Korean mother (accent, facial expressions and all).
In part two of Taiwan News' exclusive interview with Margaret Cho, she talks about herself and intersectionality, her comedic beginnings, and gives advice on enjoying the journey.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a stand-up comedian. I am a touring artist. I really love what I do. It is something that I’ve always done, and something I always will do.
How do you mix all the intersections that you fall into: bisexual, Korean-American, woman, married? How do you combine all those intersections in your show?
Those are all true, and also true to degrees. They’re part of who you are, but they’re not everything; they don’t tell the whole story. I think that being able to embrace all those identities and to enjoy them, I think that’s really special.
What advice do you have to people who are struggling with self-identification and accepting themselves?
I think it’s great because young people now are really looking to all the different identities that they can be. It’s like you can’t just stop at, whether it’s queer, or gay, or lesbian, or trans.
You can just keep going. that there are all sorts of different identities you can embrace. That’s so new and so amazing. I think it’s incredibly fulfilling to have seen the gay community change so much from gay pride, Harvey Milk in the 70’s and AIDS, and all of this stuff we’ve been through. It’s really inspiring.
What would you say are key factors to being a successful comedian, especially a female comedian?
I think you just have to love it. I think that it’s really about what you get out of it. It’s a hard job; it’s a lot of traveling. It’s very tough, and it can be very exhausting.
But at the same time, its very fulfilling and it’s really powerful. It feels very good to do, so I guess, you just have to have a lot of love for it.
How did you know it was right?
I think just because it was its own reward. There was not really any sort of markers that I could say, “ok, well now, I’ve made it”. The fact that I was able to just do it was reward enough.
I was so excited to be able to do these shows and be on stage, and be performing. Then getting to have mentors like Joan Rivers, people who really believed in me and helped me, that was a big deal. So the journey of it was really special.
The journey is just as important as the destination itself, the entire package of it is really valuable.
Do you have any regrets?
No, I think it’s all come out very well. I really love what I do and I really love where it’s brought me; I think that’s really special. Of course, there’s a million things you wish you could have done, but also I’ve done the things I really wanted.
You started at a young age (14). What was it like for your first comedic show?
Well, I wasn’t by myself. I was in a comedy duo. Then my partner was Sam Rockwell the actor (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2018). He and I were a comedy duo.
We were both super young. Then we did these sketches, then he had to move to New York with his mom. And so I stayed in San Francisco, and kept doing it.
He obviously went on to become a great actor. So I stayed and did comedy in San Francisco. and I kept going. I just knew that that what I was going to do and I knew that was the right decision for me.
Do you have any favorite cities that you like performing in?
I really love Los Angeles (California), where I live, also San Francisco, where I’m from. I love London, I love Seoul. It’s a trip to do shows in Seoul, it’s very different and a very unique experience, and I’m having a good time here.
Click here if you missed part one of Taiwan News' exclusive interview with Comedian Margaret Cho.