Exclusive Interview: Pop-Culturalist Chats with Margaret Cho
Comedian. Actress. Musician. Podcaster. Advocate. Entrepreneur. These are just a few ways you can describe the legendary Margaret Cho. For thirty-plus years, she’s been blazing a trail for women and other underrepresented groups through her work on the stage, screen, and studio.
This February, she’ll be teaming up with RushTix for After Hours with Margaret, a one of a kind virtual event where nothing’s off limits!
Pop-Culturalist caught up with Margaret to chat about her career, After Hours with Margaret, and how she’s stayed creatively fulfilled during the pandemic.
P-C: How did you discover your passion for comedy and the arts? Margaret: I always knew that I wanted to be a comedian. I figured that out when I was eight. I saw it on television, and I recognized it would be my job. I knew that’s what I wanted to do, and I wasn’t even sure if I’d be good at it, but I knew that was my future. It’s great because it worked out well. I’m glad I knew what I wanted to do at such a young age; it took away a lot of anxiety.
P-C: Who or what has had the biggest influence on your career? Margaret: Joan Rivers. She was amazing and such a trailblazer. She was such a good friend to me, and someone who really understood what it was like to be an outsider—what it was like to be a woman in comedy who was trying to figure out what her place in it was going to be. That was incredibly important to have that as an example.
P-C: You’ve partnered with RushTix for a virtual event on Valentine’s Day. What can fans expect from After Hours with Margaret? Margaret: It’s going to be fun. We’re going to get into things about sexuality, which I think is really interesting, as well as aging. We don’t have to age out of sex. We don’t have to feel like we’re too old for something. It’s really interesting how sex gets better with age, in my opinion. I want to get into that and talk to people and give advice. I’ve been talking about sex and sexuality for as long as I’ve been a comedian. It’s an interesting topic—it’s something that’s endlessly fascinating and every time is different.
I did the first virtual Folsom Street Fair online last year, which is the largest festival in the world. To be able to do it online was incredible because you could see all these interesting new things that people are doing. I wanted to share all that, and it’s going to be great.
P-C: How did the partnership between you and RushTix form and come to fruition? Margaret: They asked me, and I was super excited to do it. I love the concept of doing these online shows. They’re so fun, and it’s a really exciting idea.
P-C: You’ve spent the last thirty years touring the country. With the COVID shutdowns, you haven’t been able to do that. How have you stayed creatively fulfilled? Margaret: It’s connecting through social media and doing online shows and events. I’ve been able to do a lot of animation stuff, which is really great. I’ve done some voiceover stuff. I’ve been podcasting. There’s a lot of different things that I’m still able to do. I’m still able to be creative, but yes, I’m looking forward to the time when we can go back to real life.
P-C: You were talking about trailblazers earlier and you’ve been an incredible advocate that you’re passionate about. Have you always known you wanted to utilize your platform to do so? Margaret: Absolutely. I grew up in gay San Francisco. My parents had a gay bookstore. There were people that worked there that were doing stuff with Harvey Milk. There was a lot of gay politics where I grew up. That informed my life. As a comedian, I started off doing a lot of benefits for people with AIDS. That was a major part of my introduction to comedy and entertainment.