Catching Up With Margaret Cho
By Jason Lamphier
Margaret Cho is headed into uncharted territory. The release of her latest album, Cho Dependent, marks the Grammy-nominated comedian's first full-on foray into music and features collaborations with some of the best singer-songwriters in the business, including Fiona Apple, Ani Difranco, Patty Griffin, and Jon Brion. But fear not! With a track list boasting titles like "Your Dick," "My Puss," and "Captain Cameltoe," you can rest assured that Cho hasn't abandoned comedy for her guitar. We caught up with Cho to chat about attempting to subvert the straight people of Peachtree City, Ga., her love of bears, and why the Cho Dependent experience just wouldn't be complete without a video featuring California Raisin turd costumes. Bonus: Be sure to check out the exclusive Out premiere of her song "Lesbian Escalation," featuring Rachael Yamagata, on the second page of this story.
Out: You moved to Peachtree City, Ga., right?
Margaret Cho: I made a move from Los Angeles to Peachtree City, Georgia. But I've actually also moved again to Atlanta, Georgia. I lived in Peachtree City, Georgia, because I work on a television show for Lifetime called Drop Dead Diva out there. It's a great show, and I really love it, but it requires me to spend six months of my life every year in a different city. So I decided that I was going to live by the set in Peachtree City, Georgia. But the problem with the set, or the problem with living by the set, is that I had rented a very large house and anytime anybody came over, they could not believe that I was not the maid. And so anytime anybody would come over they would say, "Well, tell the tenant..." I'm like, "Well, yeah, I am the tenant." They're like, "Yeah, so tell your boss." "No, I-I'm the boss." "No, tell the person that's renting the house..." "You know what? I'm a three-time Grammy nominee!" And that's how I would answer. [Laughs] It's actually two-time. I just added a third time cause it sounded better when I was screaming it.
Hopefully with this new record, right?
Right. The racism there is so subtle; it's like they just can't believe somebody not white would own a house.
I heard you had an interesting experience at the gym you frequented in Peachtree City.
OK, this is the problem of Peachtree City: I would go work out every single day. And at the gym, I would be confronted with a stack of Focus on Family magazines, which offended me to no end. This is the organization that defeated gay marriage all over the country. This is the organization that is routinely responsible for this kind of institutionalized homophobia. Focus on Family is the worst thing to happen to America. In so many ways it is really terrible. So I would go to the gym, a bad thing in itself, going to the gym, and then have to be faced with a stack of Focus on Family magazines. So to combat this I would bring a stack of Advocates and Outs and Genre sometimes, and leave them out and put them on top of the Focus on Family. I would start my workout by putting Out, The Advocate, all of my favorite things to read on top. And then by the end of my workout, somebody would come by and put the Focus on Familys on top of the Outs and Advocates, and so it was just like this magazine fight. And I would escalate by bringing even gayer magazines. So that's when I'd just pull out the Unzipped and all the porn, which, you know what, they asked for it. Since then, I have canceled my membership, but I left my magazines there. I think that that really was a good way to protest, but it was alarming how quickly the Focus on Familys would go back on top -- like they were really on to it. I think I brought a fresh breath of gay air to the town, but now I've moved to the gayest part of Atlanta, so I feel much better now.
What's your favorite gay spot in Atlanta?
My favorite gay spot in Atlanta would probably have to be Burkhart's, although I haven't been for a while. I have been to Mary's, that's sort of another place to go. Or Woof's, which is the bear bar -- I'm always looking for the bear bar.