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INTERVIEW

Not Cho Average Comedian

Margaret Cho Talks About Sex, Clothes, and What She’d Do as Governor of California

By Jessica O. Young

Margaret Cho is not running for governor of California and she is not being sued by the RIAA. But Margaret Cho, one of the funniest comedians of our time, is coming to MIT this Friday, October 3.

You may know Cho from her short-lived NBC series, All-American Girl. Or perhaps you read her book or took in her movies I’m The One That I Want and Notorious C.H.O. But however much you think you know about Margaret Cho, you’ve got a lot to learn.

Cho is about to release a rap CD, on which she adopts the character of a pediatrician named emcee M.C. But unlike 50 Cent or P. Diddy, Cho is doing this one for the children. The CD -- an effort to educate kids about health -- features songs such as “Manic Depression” and “I want FTD’s, not STD’s.” Cho says she raps “in the style of really hardcore gangsta rap about the food pyramid, the dangers of smoking, osteoporosis, and more.” But don’t worry 50, Cho claims to be an awful rapper.

Cho, currently on her Revolution Tour, is stopping by MIT on her way. She will talk about the world and politics, among other things. As a comedian raised in California, Cho is very interested in politics. She said that if she were elected governor of California, she would make “a very, very strong effort to see that the amendments that ban same sex marriages do not get passed,” and “would also put a stop sign at the end of [her] block.” She believes in equality for everybody, more money for education and health care, and a focus on the future. All this from the woman who proudly wears MC Hammer pants, though she admits that, “they’re not flattering to anybody.”

Actually, Cho came out with her own clothing line. In a joint venture with designer Ava Stander, Cho, via the Internet, introduces us to her line: High Class Cho. Available at http://www.highclasscho.com, the line features “high end quality for low end pricing.” Cho does indeed wear her own clothing, and chances are good that she’ll be modeling some of it on October 3 during her show.

Cho is known for being one of today’s raunchiest comedians. She explains why, “The generation that my parents are of is very puritanical.... They just kind of ignore that women have sexuality at all, or consider it very dangerous. Therein lies a weird reactive thing in me that makes me want to be even more lewd, or outrageous, because it is a direct assault on the way I was raised. And it works.”

Cho jokes about everything from experimenting in college to experimenting after college. And she won’t tone anything down for the MIT community, either: “I don’t edit anything, ever. I never have.”

If you have a spare moment, check out Cho’s Web site, http://www.margaretcho.com. The site, chock full of helpful and fun information, also features Cho’s Web log. The blog, updated frequently, is hilarious. And though she does not associate herself closely with a religion, Cho writes daily as a spiritual offering. Cho advises that we “pace our time on Earth with something creative.”

And if you want to know even more about Cho, head over to http://www.imdb.com, where there are two people asking for Cho’s hand in marriage. Sorry guys -- Cho hadn’t even noticed. “I never research myself online, never ever.” Cho spends a lot of time online, but mostly on eBay, writing, or e-mailing. “I do a lot of research on different things that I like to write about.” Sounds like she’ll fit in pretty well here.

Cho went to nursing school for six months, but by the end she dropped out, because she “couldn’t deal. We got the oldest cadavers ever. They were handed down from the ‘good’ medical schools. Yet no matter what they teach you in school, laughter is the best medicine. Story telling is very healing. When I can laugh at something, I’m free of it.” And Cho is indeed so funny, that sometimes she has to laugh at her own jokes.

Cho may not be running for governor of California -- unlike everybody else -- but she will definitely be showing MIT all that she’s got to offer this Friday. Do yourself a favor and go.

Margaret Cho will be performing at Kresge Auditorium on Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, and detailed information is available at http://web.mit.edu/fall.