Ok, so this time it’s more like 10 Questions with… But, it’s only cause I asked 2 questions in a row on a similar subject and things of a sort happened.
Anywho, it is time once again to dive into the inner workings of one of my favorite celebrity folk, this time the exciting, controversial, sexy, vivacious and hilarious Margaret Cho!
As always, for those who may not be in the know, I’ll fill in on the details of Ms. Cho.
Margaret Cho is a Korean-American stand up comedian, best known for telling it like it is in oh-so-humorous ways. She is also a Gay Rights and Political Activist. And, she dated Quentin Tarantino, worked with John Woo and survived growing up with her Mother (fans know about that one.) Anything else in general you might want to know, go here: http://www.margaretcho.com/
11 Questions, and 11 Questions Only.
This interview took place via email between myself and Ms. Cho’s publicist last week.
As per the format of ’11 Questions’ I submitted my questions cold and let the interviewee do the answering. Any “conversational awkwardness” is because of this and is unintentional.
(The interview has not been edited in any way (for grammar, spelling or otherwise) to make either of us look better.)
In an effort to, hopefully, be a touch different in my line of questioning, I figured I’d start off with something hypothetical… I know that you essentially got into comedy as an escape from or defense against various abuses and prejudices you faced growing up as a very different kid in the strange world of 1970′s San Francisco Counter Culture. Do you think that if you had been born and raised, in Korea, in a more traditional setting, around children like you, at least racially, that you’d have turned out entirely differently; or would comedy, and the need to speak for those who don’t necessarily have a voice have come to you, or from you, regardless of upbringing?
actually, the sf counter culture is what saved my life. the experiences i had with bullying came mostly from the korean children that i went to church with, and the children of families that emigrated to the us around the same time as my parents. i also had a lot of problems in the conservative religious schools that i was in later – in any case, being a kid was hard for me, and i am not sure if it would have been better somewhere else.
Moving to fluffiness for a bit; your small part as an FBI Agent in John Woo’s over the top, action blow out, FACE/OFF
, from 1997, how did that come your way and what was it like working with known perfectionist Woo?
From the same film set, any interesting stories about working with Travolta and Cage?
cage was in character the entire time, but it was confusing because he actually switches characters in the middle of the movie, and he also had a very large trailer that housed his own personal gym, which looked super fancy but i never went inside. travolta was really fun and nice, quite the bon vivant and very witty and flamboyant. theyre both so famous it is strange to talk to them and be around them. it’s like being in a wax museum all the time.
I like to consider myself a film connoisseur, not only film in general, but porn too… I know Jeff Stryker
is your favorite porn star, never been too huge a fan myself. He looks nice, has an impressive package, gives a good show in the sack, AND was in some really horrible Italian Horror films as an actual “actor”, I really should love him but, he’s never really blown my skirt up. Where did your obsession come from?
i think he’s a real star! also i love that particular era of porn, which is 70s/80s. it’s just a good time to be a porn star. i think he’s gorgeous and really sexy. also there’s the magnificent joey stefano who sadly is now gone. but jeff is great! he has moved from porn star to icon – which is wonderful to see. i adore him.
In addition to your stand up, film and television credits, and your Gay Rights activism, you are also well known for being very politically out spoken… In a nutshell, I’ve not been too pleased or impressed with Obama’s Presidency so far. Better than Bush, yes, but not by a very large margin I’m afraid. Personally I was rooting for Hillary, but that’s neither here nor there at this point… With the next election looming and all of the republican candidates being bat shit insane, the current President a wellspring of mediocrity, and the country being caught between a rock and a hard place, so to speak, what are your thoughts on the whole; where do you think we should go or what should we do?
i think that we need obama in office, and although there has been a lot of disillusionment about his administration, it would be a lot worse if things went the other way. i think that there was much janitorial work to be done after bush left office, and that was largely left to the obama administration, which is patently unfair and obama shouldn’t be judged on what bush left behind!
I’m a Gay man, I was born and raised in the South, North Carolina specifically, in the US. I am also a nerd, I used to have a pretty bad weight problem and have definitely had more than a few ups and downs in my life because of this. I’ve also seen the world change quite a bit in my short life. Just a scant few years ago, in my mid-teenage years, I did get into one major fight in regards to my sexuality. I was jumped by 8 guys, managed to kick the ass of 7 of them, but was nearly killed by the 8th. Fortunately a friend was there to intercede. Then, just recently, we had a major campaign for the amendment of our state constitution to allow same sex marriage. We didn’t win it, didn’t even come close really, but there was a large swell of support from a lot of surprising places… Basically, what I’m trying to get at is, a lot of positive change seems to have taken place in a short amount of time. Do you think this is true all over, or is it still in just a select few, more progressive areas?
oh my goodness you are such a fighter! good for you! never stop fighting! seriously. it’s awesome. i was saddened that north carolina didn’t win, but at the same time, what is normally viewed as a fairly conservative state did very well in showing its diversity and strength in the face of homophobia and hypocrisy. i do believe a lot of positive things have happened all over, not just in a few areas, and that north carolina is getting there, as the rest of the country gets there! hang in there!
In the same vein, if it really is happening all over, as it seems to be, what areas do you think we could strengthen up our resolve in further and where can we push harder to show the world it’s not so bad to be gay, different, or just not like the status quo?
i think that just participating in pride, talking about our lives, blogging/writing/recording our experiences – this is what it is all about. we need to share with each other and the world at large what it is like to be us – and not have any worry or shame about telling the truth. we are the world – and we just happen to be the gay world, and that is fantastic!
Switching gears again; in 1995 you had a small role in Gregg Araki
‘s whacked out, bisexual, Bonnie and Clydesque, Doom Generation
. Considering the figure for liberation and out spokenness you’ve become since that time, why haven’t you worked with the similarly minded Araki again?
i love working with gregg araki – and we have done other things together, although not in film!!!!! i love him!!!!! i would do another movie with him anytime!!
I know you’ve been the brunt of a lot of hatred due to your stance on a lot of heated subjects, any particular bits of hate mail or death threats stand out to you, that you haven’t shared before?
i think that mostly people said that i was ugly, and they called me a ‘pot bellied pig’ and that really upset me, because i didn’t understand what that had to do with my political views. i don’t get why people have to try to insult my appearance when they don’t agree with what i have to say. that is terrible and really evil. i wouldn’t ever want to attack people for something that they can’t control. we look the way we look because that’s the way we are, and there shouldn’t be judgement about that.
Speaking of heated subjects; One thing I’ve noticed all of my life, and even to this day, is there isn’t a lot of love for the Asian community in the entertainment industry or even America at large. If it isn’t a martial arts expert, or tech geek, it’s still fairly uncommon to see an Asian actor on screen in a film or on TV. There are a few exceptions to that rule of course, yourself included in that, but still, it’s fairly limited. Why do you think that is? Could it really be just some hardwired, left over mentality stemming back to World War II and before, as I sometimes think it is?
i think it is because there is this idea that asian american is less than american and still very foreign. it’s depressing and difficult – as not seeing ourselves out there in the media leads to not feeling like we exist, or that we are invisible. i think that if i was white i would be a lot more successful! i mean i truly believe i am talented, and many times more gifted than a lot of people i see out there, but my race excludes me from things – yet that could just be my own perception. it’s also possible that i am not (but not likely!)
I really hate to end our talk here, but I suppose I have to. You’re currently co-starring on Lifetime’s hit Comedy/Drama, Drop Dead Diva
. How does the project fit into the world of Margaret Cho and can we expect to see any new original specials, or works from you in the near future?
i love drop dead diva. it’s a fantastic show and a wonderful job to return to – it’s my 4th year playing this character and i love it. there’s a great deal of challenge learning to live inside a character for that length of time. i am proud of my work there and i also enjoy the people i get to act with. we all have fun together.
yes! there’s lots of new things – coming soon – a new live standup show which i am very proud of! MOTHER
– all about my mother, motherhood – all the ins and outs of it – pun intended.
also i just shot a show for the food network called Blind Dinner Party
, which is a great reality project all centered on inviting guests with very different points of view to share food and ideas. it’s amazing.
and there’s another album of songs – some duets and awesome collaborations. i am taking my time with it but i feel really great about this record!!
Well, there we have it gang! That was my verbal toe-to-toe with Margaret Cho! Hope you enjoyed as much as I did!
As promised, this is going to be a special month for 11 Questions with, a double dip if you will, as you’ll be getting the long whispered about interview with the fabulous scream queen and former Mrs. John Carpenter, Adrienne Barbeau
on Friday as well!