, actress, activist, blogger, and musician Margaret Cho was born Moran Cho in 1968 to a Korean family in California. Her routines often talk about her bisexuality, sexuality in general, Asian-American stereotypes and politics. She had a short-lived sitcom called All-American Girl
based on her life as a second generation Korean-American. The show is known for featuring the first Asian-American family on prime-time tv. She currently plays Terri on the Lifetime
series Drop Dead Diva
. She also lends her voice to the stop-motion comedy Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World
. Was once on Dancing with the Stars
, but was eliminated in the third round. She released a music comedy album, Cho Dependent
, in 2010.HUGE
gay following. We're talkin' second Judy Garland
here. It helps that Cho has been quite open about her love for gays for her entire career.
Provides the page quotes for:
Tropes in her work:
- All Women Are Prudes — Recalling her time on All-American Girl, she complained about how sexually neutered her character was, as TV!Margaret would turn down sex even in cases where Real!Margaret would have consented. She found this annoying, as the show was based on her and she personally averts this trope to hell and back. "Slut pride!"
"I want morning-after pills more than over-the-counter; I want morning-after pills with my check at dinner. I want morning-after pills on my pillow before I go to bed."
- Asian Rudeness — Her parents, but brought up in an affectionate manner. Imitating her mother is a beloved part of her stand-ups.
- Beautiful All Along — in the semi-autobiographical Bam-Bam & Celeste
- Berserk Button — The "Hong Kong Phooey" font, that stereotypically Asian typeface used to advertise anything remotely Asiatic. In I'm The One That I Want, she talked about how she once yelled at a passing driver for having that on a bumper sticker ("This car was made with tools, not chopsticks"), forcing him into the wrong lane.
- Fat-shaming is another peeve of hers.
- A spate of homophobic and racist abuse she endured (see Cluster F-Bomb below) activated her gay fanbase's Berserk Button:
"So I posted them on my website, including the return addresses, and some of these people wrote me from their work emails. So I had their work information, their names, their addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, Blockbuster card numbers, favorite flavor of ice-cream. And the thing is, I guess I have this whole fanbase that's ready to go to bat for me. They're already pissed off, and they're looking for half a reason. 'Oh, I would like to see someone try to mess with my girl!! ' And basically I unleashed Al Gay-da. Which is a sleeper cell you do not want to wake up. ...So suddenly these people are emailing me back: 'Please take my info off of your site. I'm so sorry. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I shouldn't have said what I said. And please make these gay people go away. Please, hurry! I think Cirque du Soleil is warming up on my front lawn!' "
- Bi the Way — Her bisexuality is a frequent topic in her comedy.
- Bilingual Backfire — Inverted. While promoting All-American Girl, she appeared on a morning talk show for a local station that was recently bought out by Disney. At the end of the interview segment, the host, in a Critical Research Failure, asked Margaret to tell the people at home "in [her] native language" that they were changing over to an ABC affiliate. As Margaret was born and raised in California and is actually not fluent in Korean, she simply looked at the camera and curtly said in plain English, "They're changing over to an ABC affiliate."
- Cluster F-Bomb — Her own swearing is average for a raunchy comedian, but she loves telling the story of a profanity-laden hatemail she got after criticizing then-president George W. Bush. It started with "GOOK CHINK CUNT FAT DYKE!" and got even more poetic from there.
- Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: She once ranted about how Hello Kitty doesn't have a mouth and is unable to speak, as if telling little girls they shouldn't have voices. Except she does have a mouth, it's just small and is only drawn when she's speaking.
- Crosscast Role — Margaret's recurring role as Kim Jong-il on 30 Rock. Yes, you read that correctly.
- Dream Team — On Cho Dependent, Margaret collaborated with indie/alternative musicians like Fiona Apple, Tegan And Sara, and Ani DiFranco.
- Fluffy Fashion Feathers — Inspired by Cher and Björk, Margaret once wore an outlandish peacock dress to the Grammy Awards. While she didn't win the Grammy she was up for, she was named Worst Dressed by various fashion magazines. This was met with cheers, since it came after a rant on how everybody at award shows dress the same, and the ones named Worst Dressed are really the best since they created their own look.
"If you win a Grammy, you beat out, what, four or five people? If you win Worst Dressed, you beat out 15,000 people. I beat out Mary J. Blige! I beat out Lil' Kim!"
- Groin Attack: Margaret does the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in a way that only she could think of.
- Mistaken for Foreigner: Often directed at her when people assume she herself is an immigrant.
"I can't go back to my 'home country.' I was born and raised in San Francisco; I'm IN my home country!"
- N-Word Privileges — Large debate as to whether or not she has these when she pokes fun at Asian and/or LGBT culture. One's view on the debate often makes the difference between loving her and hating her.
- Psychotic Lover — her song "I'm sorry." is a Gender Flip of a Real Life male example.
- Reality Is Unrealistic — Her biggest bone of contention with the producers of All-American Girl was how she was forced to lose weight for her role. To play herself.
- Sit Comic — her sitcom, All-American Girl
- Stop Being Stereotypical — She's gotten this from (many non-Asian) critics. Also, inverted by some conservative elements within the Asian/Korean American community who would prefer a more "traditional" image of Asians in the media. This was the reason the "Asian Consultant" was hired and manages to be a topic of great ire for her today.
- She herself had this reaction as an insecure teenager when the Asian Student Alliance at her high school was passing out flyers and asked if she wanted to join:
"And I said, 'Eh, I'm Asian enough (nervous laughter). Did it HAVE to be on YELLOW PAPER?! Oh my GOD you guys!'"
- Wrong Insult Offense: She points out that calling her a chink is technically incorrect since that's a Chinese slur, and the "proper" ethnic slur against a Korean would be "gook." Also, calling her a fat dyke is pointless:
"That just means I eat fried chicken and pussy!"
Tropes she deconstructs in her comedy routines: