Is there anything Margaret Cho can’t do? In addition to taking the comedy stage she’s known for, just this year alone the comedian/actress started a podcast on the woman–owned podcast network Earios called The Margaret Cho (continuing her penchant for puns on her last name); she also stumped all of America when she disguised herself in a furry poodle costume and showed off her singing chops on the first season of the surprise hit singing competition The Masked Singer.
Her ability to carry a tune might have come as a surprise to some, but to her fans it was old news. The Glendale resident by way of her native San Francisco has always loved singing, and on her 2010 debut studio album Cho-Dependent she made a bold musical move, trading standup bits for actual songs with collaborators ranging from Fiona Apple to Ani DiFranco. She followed it up with another ditty-driven effort called American Myth. Both records mesh the cultural humor that made her a star with sweet, sassy vocals. Highlight tracks include “Come With Me” (honoring her past as a sex worker) and “My Puss” (a perfect answer track to Dirt Nasty’s penis brag, “My Dick”).
Live music took her subsequent comedy tours to an entirely new place over the years and her stage show evolved even further when she presented The Sensuous Woman, a variety spectacle featuring diverse acts heavy on burlesque. Cho has in fact, performed with many local troupes over the years, showing off her gorgeously inked bod and tassel-twirling skills. “It’s a beautiful art form,” she tells us during a taping of her podcast. “It’s so fun and so body positive. I think nakedness is really important. Nudity in society is still this shameful thing, but to me it’s the ultimate power. “
Banishing shame has always been a central theme in Cho’s signature comedy style, which explores her pansexual point of view and concepts via uncensored commentary and audacious anecdotes, a combination that makes people laugh, think and often blush.
Though she’s a regular on local comedy and underground performance spaces, Cho has always kept her national profile on point via TV — her role in Drop Dead Diva, a stint on Dancing With The Stars, co-hosting The Golden Globes — and there’s more to come. She’s the producer of a new show in development called Almost Asian and she’ll play a sex-trafficking, massage parlor owner in an upcoming episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. “It’s always fun to work with other Asian actors,” she shares, adding that she plans to do a lot more acting in the near future, “both comedic and serious stuff… I love being able to transform into different people.”
She’s come a long way since her television debut in 1994’s All-American Girl (the first sitcom to explore the lives of Asian-Americans on network TV) and her last The Cho Show (a short-lived quasi-reality foray for VH1), and she’s not slowing down anytime soon, even if her hormones try to get in the way. The 50-year-old’s latest stage show, Fresh Off The Bloat, tackles the wonderful world of aging. “Menopause is a gateway drug,” she proclaims. “It puts you into another world where you don’t give a shit. You’re more confident and you really hone into what’s important. It opens up your mind.”
True or no, if anyone can make getting older seem funny and fabulous, it’s this lady — for cho.