Cho goes ‘psyCHO’ at Blaisdell
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BY STEVEN MARK / firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Cho has made a career out of revealing herself to her fans. Of course, she’s a comedian, not a stripper, but she pretty much bares her soul when she steps out onstage.
MARGARET CHO: THE PSYCHO TOUR
Presented by BAMP Project
» Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave.
Cho will be bringing her onstage antics to the Blaisdell Concert Hall Friday in the latest stop of her psyCHO tour, talking about sex — she apparently has had lots of it — and her sexuality — she’s bisexual. During her routine she’ll talk openly about the need for sex, whether with men or women. Other startling revelations have come into the spotlight recently, such as her childhood abuse by a family acquaintance and a stint as a sex worker, which she referenced in her Twitter feed just last week.
Calling from her home in Los Angeles, the 47-year-old veteran of comedy clubs, television and film sounded cheerful and energetic but equally sharp and analytical, talking about how the issue of sexual abuse has become as much a mainstay of her act as her famously comical imitations of her mother.
“I’ve been talking about it for many years, but nobody really picked up on it,” said Cho, who has become an advocate for the of LGBT community. “Now rape and sexual abuse are very important topics in the media. It’s never been something I’ve really hidden. …
“I think the Bill Cosby survivors have a lot to do with the shift in talking about rape and talking sexual abuse, and realizing that we need to remedy our attitude towards survivors and that the silence really keeps rape in the shadows. And when we can have a burst of light there, there can be healing for people who have endured this. And it’s not just women, but it’s men who are unable to give voice to their suffering because of this chain around it.
“I want to shift that and change it so that people can feel comfortable and able to express that suffering and heal it.”
Her psyCHO tour show delves into the role of sex in society, sending the audience into fits of laughter as she mimics the facial expressions people make when having sex, whether they’re enjoying it or not. It’s a bit of schadenfreude that connects to the medicinal part of her humor.
“It’s a way to talk about my truth and my journey, in hopes that people can enjoy my mistakes and get some comfort and healing from it,” she said.
After these many years in and out of the limelight, Cho has taken on the position of elder statesman among Asian-American comics. She was consulted on the two ABC sitcoms that feature Asian-Americans, “Dr. Ken” and “Fresh off the Boat.” (Cho appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and “Fresh” star Constance Wu appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Monday, marking possibly the first time that two Asian-Americans have appeared on the same night in late night.)
Both of the new sitcoms appear to be doing better than her 1994 sitcom, “All-American Girl,” which lasted only a season and sent her into depression after it was canceled, but she’s not bitter.
“It’s really a wonderful thing, and so I’m really happy the way things turned out,” she said. “They’re all supergrateful for my contribution, and they never let me forget my contribution.”
Cho loves coming to Hawaii because of its large Asian population, she said.
“It’s the one place where I can get very deep into talking about Asian American points of view. All of that is very welcome. It’s the one place where I can be myself, which I really love.
“And I really love Spam on sushi.”
By the way, if you’re in a romantic mood, you might see whether you can get Cho to preside over your wedding. Through her website, couples are invited to submit a video explaining why she should marry them. Cho has had plenty of experience at it, performing mass gay weddings at San Francisco’s City Hall.
Will she do the ceremony straight, or will she go psyCHOtic?
“Whatever they want is what I’m about,” she said. “So far it’s been very straightforward.”