Margaret Cho has an extremely successful comedic career and quite the extensive resume in an industry which can be difficult to navigate long-term. She authored the 2005 book I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight, which chronicled her extensive political activism and she was a strong proponent for a democratic win during the 2016 presidential election.
Thus, when it surfaced that the concept behind her latest tour, Fresh off the Bloat, would be about today’s polarizing political and social climate, critics cautiously questioned whether this would merely be a déjà vu style repeat of Cho’s Assassin era. Nevertheless, less than one-fourth into the show, speculation ceased.
Selene Luna, dwarf comedian best known for her role on Margaret Cho’s reality television series The Cho Show, was the opening act and a savvy choice on Cho’s part. Luna is a performer the audience, at least a decent portion, are already familiar with. Moreover, Luna’s routine acts as a seamless segway into Cho’s performance. Luna opens her set by taking a knee “for solidarity against police brutality and white supremacy — “resist” before breaking into self-deprecating humor, “I am disabled, I am a woman, and I am Mexican — (laughs) it’s not a joke bitch — not only does that make me Donald Trump’s kryptonite, but I am also the entire cast of Electric Company.”
Selene Luna effortlessly initiates the theme of the tour that Margaret Cho amplifies when she takes center stage — interweaving the polarizing political and social climate with a motivating message whilst simultaneously providing strong comedic rhetoric. Doing this is quite difficult without creating an awkward or divergent environment. However, Luna sets the precedent. By the time Cho takes to the microphone, Luna has wasted no time. The entire audience collectively feels, “Our world is fucked when we are walking around missing former President Bush, as if his presidency were the golden years. Then the rationalizing, “you know, Bush was not that bad” …And to think that we once perceived Sarah Palin as threatening.”
Cho has the audience glued when likening the current state of affairs to the twilight zone ala the George W. Bush presidency. She gives immigrants hope that they too can “fuck their way to the top” ala our current first lady. Cho even pays homage to her critics by resurrecting her classic Assassin bit detailing the stench of various well-known conservatives’ genitals.
There was not one Log Cabin republican present at her Gramercy Theatre performance in New York. The entire audience cheered in unison to merely every punchline Margaret Cho spat out. This is a far cry from the comedian’s 2010 Cho Dependent performance at Montclair’s Wellmont Theater. Cho bounces around from politics to sex to drugs concomitantly in a performance that, behind the outpours of laughs induced, is undoubtedly Cho’s most vulnerable tour yet. This is especially made apparent when she humors the unfortunate Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandals while simultaneously confessing that her uncle from the ages of five through twelve had raped her. Fortunately, today the bisexual comic has moved on and is engaged to a man who “has a big dick and tasty ass — my favorite combo.”
Cho discloses that while in Las Vegas, with bestie Kathy Griffin recently, Griffin asked if Cho was interested in splitting a $50,000 jet back to Los Angeles — using such to poke fun at the apparent difference in pay for Caucasian entertainers versus Asian entertainers. Cho also addressed the recent Griffin backlash, “I hate that Kathy apologized. She should have never done so. However, I am enjoying this backlash — every time that bitch gets axed from a gig and pisses someone off — I am always next in line for the job.”
Of course, a Margaret Cho show would not be complete without her archetypal mother satire in which she reminisces life growing up with Korean immigrant parents who owned a gay bookstore during the height of the AID’s epidemic. She reenacts her mother’s adamant revelation growing up during that time period, “only the attractive gay men attain HIV.”
It is important to note that Margaret Cho has recently experienced a transitional period within her personal life — topics she briefly mentioned — including divorce, a 14-month stint in rehab, and finding new love. This rebirth of sorts appears to have done wonders on Cho as her performance and quality of work has improved significantly.
Fresh off the Bloat is just as mutually therapeutic for the audience as it is for Cho, and unpredictably leaves attendees walking away feeling as though they are not alone, and furthermore, as if they got to know a piece of who Cho really is off the stage — a feat which is difficult to accomplish effectively in the world of comedy.
Margaret Cho’s Fresh off the Bloat world tour continues during October and November before moving on to the United Kingdom during the winter. Cho’s next tristate area performance will take place on November 5th at The Fillmore in Philadelphia and November 17th at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA. For a complete list of show dates and ticket information please visit: www.MargaretCho.com