Monday, December 17

Interview: Margaret Cho

- October 2, 2017


Margaret Cho is a comedian, an actress, a writer, a Dancing With Stars sensation, an activist – and so much more. As she prepares for a new tour that takes her away from the States and over the pond, she talks with Victoria Nangle about addiction, Robin Williams, and the British accent.

Hi Margaret, how are you today?
I am doing great thank you!

Congratulations on your new tour: Fresh Off The Bloat, covering addiction, abuse, activism and Asian-ness. All the ‘A’s. Coming out of addiction, certain things hit your senses like a truck. Which ones surprised you the most? 
I was surprised at how much I was missing out on – whether that was friendships, good sleep, natural highs like exercise and delicious food. Every day is new now, and different. the subtleties of life are really the meaning of life – it’s wonderful. 

You’re a great voice for liberalism in America. How do you engage with politics with your audiences when the majority of the country voted for President Trump?
I don’t know exactly, I guess I haven’t figured it out. This whole thing is bizarre. I blame Nascar and energy drinks – maybe crystal meth too. We are doomed.

What gives you hope for change from the current political direction?
The women’s marches happening all over the world, the resist march, healthy protest – activism that is unflinching and profound. I love that.

I’m very sorry for your loss of Robin Williams as a mentor, but what a beautiful tribute to raise money for the homeless in San Francisco hashtagging his name. What made you gravitate to the homeless in his memory in particular?
Robin did a lot of work with the homeless, mostly through his charity Comic Relief. It seemed like the obvious thing to do to honour him, to go back to a very basic form of giving and helping. We had a lot of fun doing that campaign and helped a bit – #berobin was very successful. 

There isn’t one simple answer for homelessness, but there are many ways to be of service

What was your impression of the homeless situation and how it can be addressed after working with them?
I think in San Francisco it’s particularly difficult because of the cost of living there – which is astronomical! There isn’t one simple answer for homelessness, but there are many ways to be of service whether that is volunteering or donating to outreach organisations and food banks. 

Great news that ‘Highland’ has been picked up as a pilot. Hopefully we’ll get it over here. Do you have to discipline yourself not to give all the best lines to your favourite characters when working on a script, or do the characters speak only in their own voices so no line could ever be switched?
I think that the characters spring to life from the page and they are given their own space to grow and then an actor gets ahold of them and they transform into mighty forces of fiction. It’s fascinating how a project can come from you and then become something else entirely – I love it and I can’t wait to bring it to the world of TV!

Great to have you back touring in the UK. What tempted you back over the pond to British audiences?
I just love the audiences! The best!

I remember last time we spoke you were loving the cheese you could get near where you were staying in Edinburgh. What other quirks and details do you think of when you remember your last time here?
That your accent speaks volumes about you, your education, where you are from, your class – it’s not something we have in America. In the USA, everyone sounds stupid, and we are so proud of that! But in Britain you want to sound like you know what is going on. We don’t have a clue and we don’t care.

What is your life mantra for today – and what was the one for yesterday and all it contained?
It’s always the same – “it’s gonna be alright”.

Margaret Cho: Fresh Off The Bloat, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Saturday 2 December 2017, 8pm, from £26.50,

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