Gung ho Cho

JOSH DARE like meets, y’know, that Asian-American queer chick, Margaret Cho.

If you were playing a game of word association and someone said Margaret Cho, you’d be fucked for a singular ‘right’ answer. She’s a comedian, Asian-American, queer, political, Californian, a fag hag and probably about a million other things. Think Will & Grace, West Wing and some Asian show in one package.

Not that she even mentions it during our interview, between all her Californian y’knows, likes and kindas. After 20 years treading the funny planks, she’s honed a stage persona that’s not only original, but wild, sexy, crazy and funny – but just don’t expect the same if you meet her in person. “I’m pretty shy,” she tells me. “I’m a quiet kinda person, I’m not really like crazy or wild [in real life], and I don’t really party a lot.”

Get her behind the mic though, and that bitch is fierce. Nothing is sacred. Especially not the gay community. “I love going to gay bars,” she laughs, “but it’s, like, really horrible if you’re a woman. It’s fun until it hits dick o’clock, which is around 12:15am. At that point, if you don’t have a dick, there is no point for you to be at the bar. You don’t exist any more for gay men – you could be Judy Garland back from the dead, nobody gives a shit. I’m trying to lobby for all gay bars to have a fag hag shuttle that will pick us all up at dick o’clock and take us somewhere where we are wanted.”

Her political aspirations don’t end there. “I’m very political,” she says. “It’s been really great to have my point of view reinforced by audiences, ‘cause I’m very disappointed with the government in America: what we’ve done with the Iraq war, how much homophobia there is in government, and we don’t have gay marriage.”

Ah yeah – did I mention she’s gung ho on queer politics? A Margaret Cho show wouldn’t be complete without a political discussion of her community. “I think it’s pretty exciting to talk about gay issues and gay concerns and to have fun with it,” she says. “When you bring all of these issues into entertainment, there’s a really strong feeling of visibility and of inclusion. I think it really helps us feel stronger as a community.”

She’ll definitely feel a strong sense of community as she descends on this year’s Mardi Gras with her new show, Beautiful. And like the rest of the gay guys who make the journey to Sydney, she’s feeling horny. “This show that I’m doing is really sexually orientated,” she says. “It’s very much about sex. It’s about gay sex, it’s about straight sex, it’s about sex in general, it’s about the body, it’s about women’s bodies and men’s bodies, and how we are political through our bodies.”

“Queers should feel beautiful,” she continues, referring to the show’s title. “It’s very political for a queer community to feel beautiful because it gives us an extra edge in the world, it gives us power. When you’re queer, you have to take on the world every day – so we should have something extra to feel good about to carry us through.”