with Selene Luna
Improv Comedy Club; Orlando, FL • June 21, 2015
“Make sure you like Dick” is what Margaret Cho should call her comedy tour because if you don’t, you may feel a little alienated. The veteran comedian has always been known for her vulgar, no-filter approach to comedy, however her current act has more Dick jokes then a Judd Apatow movie. Actually, they’re not so much “jokes” as celebrations of all things penis. If this wasn’t enough to make a lesbian squirm, Cho widens the audience divide by perpetuating lesbian stereotypes and making the Vagina out to be some big scary monster that everyone should either be afraid to go near, or ashamed to possess. Not cool, man. Not cool for a woman who calls herself bisexual, and especially not cool for a woman.
I should clarify something, I have always been a fan of Maragret Cho’s stand-up. Her early dvd releases (I’m the One That I Want and Notorious C.H.O.: Live at Carnegie Hall ) I watched repeatedly and so it’s not that I’m suddenly shocked by her method of playing mostly to her gay male audience. She prides herself on being a “fag hag,” I get it, but she also used other material for her act – her family, her Korean heritage, her life – and it was hilarious! This current act, which she tested out for a 5-show stint in Orlando before embarking on The psyCHO Tour in the Fall, had less variety and provoked less laughs – at least from the lesbians in the room. The gay men loved it. And why wouldn’t they? It’s all geared towards them!
“I’ll be your friend!” an excited young man at my table shouted out, with arms raised, at one point. Yes ma’am, you’ve got the Boys’ attention, but what about the rest of the crowd? A dialogue Cho had running with an Asian woman at the foot of the stage was going smoothly when the topic was her Asian background, but as soon as she assumed the woman was straight and asked her “you like white Dick, right?” to which the woman countered back with “no, white Pussy,” Cho was thrown off guard. Seeming to be lost for a moment in where to take the joke next, she instead changed the subject back to her favorite topic.
To be fair, she also made rather tasteless jokes about rape, drug overdoses, and recently deceased celebrities so at least us lesbians weren’t alone. In the midst of it all, she also paid tribute to Joan Rivers and Robin Williams, whom she referred to as her “mother and father in comedy.” Some of the most brutal bits found Rivers as the butt of the joke, but that, at least, seemed rather fitting. She’s probably looking down and laughing her raspy laugh in appreciation.
In fact, the majority of the audience at Orlando’s intimate Improv Comedy Club were also laughing their asses off – even for opener Selene Luna (a Mexican-American little person), who was pint in size but big in humor. So, maybe it was just me. Maybe I was being too sensitive. Maybe I should be fine with being made to feel inferior, as both a Woman and as a Lesbian. Or maybe Margaret Cho just wasn’t very funny to me. She used to be. But when a woman does a 3 minute exaggerated pantomime about how terrifying and gross giving oral sex to a woman is, or makes jokes about rape victims who didn’t find her act funny – she kind of loses her appeal for me.
Some where along the way Margaret Cho seems to have forgotten that there are people in the audience other then gay men and we came to laugh, too. ◼