According to Wikipedia, Margaret Cho has been “active” as a comedian since 1993, but for some shameful reason it’s taken me this long to get around to watching one of her shows. Boo to me! As stand-up comedy can often be “of its time”, I thought it best to start with her most recent live DVD, Cho Dependent (2011), which was filmed in the mystical land of Atlanta.
Cho is clearly a very funny comedian, and I laughed pretty often throughout this show, but her style is more observational and earthy than the darkly absurd and surreal conceptual stuff that really blows my mind, and tickles my fancy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m already a convert, and will definitely be seeking out the collected box-set of Cho’s previous shows… but I think Sarah Silverman’s Jesus Is Magic might have spoiled me for all other concert films (regardless of the performer’s gender). I still find it hard to articulate how powerfully it affected me… it was kinda like a religious experience, and it set a ridiculously high standard, that even Big S herself will most likely never match.
Normally I wouldn’t presume to generalise about a comedian’s fan-base, but this show is bookended with “vox pop” comments from various audience members, and I think it’s fair to say (based on comments Cho herself makes on-stage) that she has a pretty sizeable Gay following, thanks to her outspoken support for LGBT causes, as well as her own sexual history. A lot of her material could probably be classified as “Gay interest”, if one were in the habit of making such classifications, but it’s never exclusive/abstruse enough to alienate uninitiated audience members, in the same way that Pam Ann’s set seemed to. I mean, if you’re rabidly homophobic, or easily offended by swearwords and sex jokes, then you’re certainly not going to have a good time with this, but for those of us with more open (and equally dirty) minds, then it’s a pretty great way to spend 83 minutes.
Rather confusingly, “Cho Dependent” is also the title of a (Grammy nominated) album of comedy songs that Cho released shortly before the tour, and she performs a couple of these ditties during the show, accompanied by a backing track. At one point, she’s also joined by John Roberts (of Bob’s Burgers fame), doing his ‘Linda Belcher’ voice for a very funny rap-duet. I’ve listened to the album several times now, and it really is a fantastic piece of work, with some incredibly catchy tunes, and some very funny/clever lyrics. My fave tracks would probably be “Intervention” (featuring Tegan and Sara!), “Hey Big Dog” (featuring Fiona Apple!), and “Asian Adjacent”… though the aforementioned rap-duet, “My Puss” (featuring Diana Yanez, on the album version), also has some killer lines in it. I’m a little disappointed that the music videos for these songs weren’t included on the DVD, but that’s only because I’m a greedy git.