Margaret Cho On Writing Comedic Music and Her New Cho Dependent DVD

Margaret Cho pic- Lindsey Byrnes.JPG
Lindsey Byrnes

Margaret Cho might be known best from the laughs she's provided over the years, but her talents extend beyond being funny. She has the passion to inspire and leaves you knowing that you have the right to do and laugh at what you want.  From Dancing with the Stars to Drop Dead Diva and her new DVD Cho Dependent, Cho has blossomed into the total package. As an early present to your yourself, come check out Cho as she hits the Brea Improv tonight.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): First off, who you rooting for on DWTS?
Margaret Cho: You know, everybody was great. I'm kinda the person who watches that show and is into everybody. My friend of course is Ricki Lake -- she's amazing. She's a beautiful dancer and a beautiful person but they're all great.

She looked great on the show, better than ever really.
Yeah, I was just so excited to see her out there. That's really what it was to me. It really gave me a lot of confidence in my body and it gave me a head start on fitness. That's really important to me and I feel really good that I did it. I think that is part of Ricki's journey too. She's just enjoying her beauty and that's pretty powerful.

You must still be keeping up your work out routine because your body looks great too!
I really am! It's been a year and it's really changed my attitude towards fitness and I just feel really good, powerful, and strong. It's just a nice thing to feel fit!

When did you realize you that comedy was the thing for you?
I feel like it was early on. I knew I was going to do this when I was like 8 or 9. I started touring when I was like 14. I was doing comedy in clubs at like, 15 or 16. I was making pretty great money in my late teens as a comic and traveling all over! To this day I really love this job. I do shows whenever I can. My favorite thing is doing clubs like the Improv where you have the week to do shows. It's really the best a comic gets.

I feel like I kind of grew up watching you but then in reality, we're only years apart. Does even make sense?
Yeah! Because I think we all grew up together. I definitely grew up in this industry and I'm still growing up. That's what great about comedy and entertainment is, the audience is kind of growing with the performer and we're learning different things together and checking in with each other. It's really awesome.

I know you're super into music so, what are you listening to right now?
I love Tinie Tempah! He's this great rapper from England that I am so into. And a lot of Camille O'Sullivan. She is someone that I met when I was in Scotland. She's phenomenal! I've also been listening to a lot of Nick Cave and Juliana Hatfield Three, which is this old album that I was obsessing over in '93. I really think it's great to revisit it. Another person great to revisit is Lisa Loeb. I just saw her a couple of weeks ago and was remembering how great her album was and now I'm playing her a lot. She's awesome! Fiona Apple. I'm obsessed with the soundtrack to Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar too!

You get so excited when you talk about music!
I love music and there is so much of it that is important to me. Devouring new music is really fun and reuniting with old music is really great!

On the subject of great, we all know you do a lot of work for equality. Are you ordained to marry couples?
I am! I've married a couple of different people in City Hall in San Francisco and I'd like to do more! I'd like to do some in New York and I should hope to do more out here when it becomes legal again.

Do you incorporate the funny when you officiate or do you keep it serious?
It really depends on what the couple wants. Usually it's about their vows. In general I think for gay and lesbians getting married right now, because the fight is so huge and it's such a war to get these rights back, it's almost like you want to make them as serious as you can.

I can totally see that. How do you view the progress that is being made?
I think things have been amazing. I think we have so many different things on the way. The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is very symbolic of a big time of change. There is so much going on and we're all coming together. I think it's amazing.  

I hear you, but it's just repulsive to me. I mean, this is America.
I know. It's like, why are we fighting for this? Why do people care and why are they trying to block it? They don't need to know. I mean, people who don't want them to get married don't even know any gay people so like, why does it matter?

Right? On a lighter note, your birthday is the 5th, any big plans?
Oh no, I don't really celebrate my birthday. Oh but you know what I am going to do is spend the day with Mr. Cartoon. He is my friend and one of the greatest tattooists of all times. He is going to be working on me all day. He's got the most crazy studio in L.A. He's an awesome dude and I'm really thrilled because I don't have any really L.A. art. I have some Kat Von D which is similar, which I love. But I don't have anything that identifiable so that'll be nice!

Do you know what you're getting?
I think I'm going to get the classic money roses. He does this thing where it's like a rose made out of hundred dollar bills. I think I'm going to have it done with British Pounds and Euros too.

You did a lot of songs on the Cho Dependent Tour...will there be more songs in Brea?
There are songs on the DVD, but I don't think I'll be doing songs in Brea. It's hard to do balance that with a lot of new material. I haven't decided yet but I'm planning on doing stand-up.

I think you should at least do "My Puss." When I saw you last year, that song brought the house down and literally brought me to happy tears.
Good! Yeah that's a good one and a fun one! Thank you!

Well if I have a vote, I vote you do that in Brea. What's harder? Writing music or joke writing?
It's very hard to write comedy music. It's probably the hardest thing for me ever. You have to have the idea initially before you go in to do it. It has to be strong and has to have a good joke throughout. Also, you have to fit it in a rhyme and the tempo of the song. It's a fragile thing so it's pretty tough.

So when you drive in the car do you try to change all of the words to the lyrics?
Oh no I don't! I should though! [Laughs.] I think that's probably a good way to practice!

Well other than "My Puss" which I think you need to think about doing in Brea, what will your show be like at the Improv?
It'll be new and current stuff that I've been thinking about. Selene Luna is going to be there too, she's amazing and really funny. People who watched The Cho Show would know and love her from that. She'll be opening so it's a great vibe and a great place to work! I'm really looking forward to coming back to Brea. It's going to be really fun!


Get your tickets now to see Margaret Cho at the Brea Improv tonight through Sunday at www.improv.com. You can also purchase her new DVD "Cho Dependent" on her website www.MargaretCho.com and follow her on Twitter @margaretcho. The Improv is located at 120 South Brea Blvd. Brea, CA 92821.​


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