Catching Up With Margaret Cho
By Jason Lamphier
I'm looking at some of these hysterical song titles. Are there a couple of songs that you're particularly fond of or particularly proud of?
Well, "Your Dick" is a really Baroque -- pop Baroque -- song that I wrote with an incredible artist named Carl Newman, who is the singer and writer for a great band called the New Pornographers. So we wrote this really beautiful, almost operatic, song. In my mind, I wrote it so that it could be sung by the Gay Men's Chorus. It's all about [porn star] Ricky Sinz. It's nine inches by two inches, no, nine by five. His cock is nine by five inches long, which is 45 inches of cock volume. So we wrote this long, beautiful arrangement, and it was produced by Ben Lee, who also collaborated with me on the record, who is really incredible. But in my mind I envisioned it, "This will be sung by the Gay Men's Chorus one day." It's a beautiful song. And "Eat Shit and Die," well that's really a great song that I wrote with Grant Lee Phillips. And we made a video where we made shit costumes that were fashioned after the California Raisins. Which, I really think the California Raisins -- to me, they just look like turds, and I thought, "Well, I should have a band that's like turds." So we made turd costumes with our faces showing. So it's me and Selene Luna, who is a very funny comedian, one of my best friends. She and I were sort of California Raisins turd costume people for that. You know Lady Gaga's going to steal it. Lady Caca: Work.
Tell me about "Captain Cameltoe," your collaboration with Ani DiFranco.
Ani DiFranco is such an incredible artist, and her music is so serious and so emotional, and so what I wanted to do with her is create something really fun and loving and sweet. And so we were thinking, "Oh, I wanted to do a song that was like Serge Gainsbourg's comic strip." It was Serge Gainsbourg, it was a duet with him and Brigitte Bardot, and it was a very, kind of fun, kind of take off on Roy Lichtenstein, kind of like '60s pop art kind of thing. So I wanted to do that, updated for now, about a super hero whose greatest power is their cameltoe. So that's my collaboration with Ani. It's a great song. It's a dance hit. It's going to be everybody's summer jam; it's the bounciest track on the record, so that's a lot of fun.
Is the Mickey Avalon cut a parody of "My Dick"?
Yes. "My Puss" is pretty much a cover version of Mickey Avalon and Dirt Nasty's song "My Dick," but instead it's "My Puss," or "My Vagina," but "My Puss," it was just to the point. I really love that song, and I really love those guys. I love Simon Rex and I love Mickey Avalon, so it was my tribute to them.
Lastly, I just was watching this video before you came in -- it's not on the album, I don't think -- but you collaborated with Girlyman for "Young James Dean." Can you tell me a little bit about the song?
I collaborated with Girlyman, I've written a song with them. We haven't recorded it yet, but there is a video that I made for their song called the "Young James Dean," which is a wonderful, wonderful meditation on female masculinity and butch identity. And I cast in the film -- it's a short film/video -- I cast in the film all trans people. It was all trans men and trans women and also their partners. So the video is a wonderful overview of the trans community, which, I think, in a sense, people have the wrong idea that there are drag queens and then there's the trans community. That drag queens are performers, and they are very, very flamboyant and that's an identity unto itself, but that's not a sexuality. That's a profession. But that there is a community out there, of trans people, who need representation, and so that's my goal with the video, since the song is about being unable to find that identity within a world that rejects butch identity. I thought I wanted to make a film that was really about seeing the trans community in its beauty and in its variety. And that we are not talking about drag queens, but we are talking about transgender people, which I find that the queer community in general tends to ignore.
Margaret Cho is heading out on the road with a brand new North American stand up tour in support of Cho Dependent. The Cho Dependent tour is sponsored by Logo and will kick-off on August 26 and run thru December 12. The Cho Dependent shows are a hilarious evening of new stand up comedy, mixed with live performances of three of Cho's comedy songs, featuring her trademark unbridled, no holds-barred humor.
Cho Dependent is in stores and available for download now. Cho plays Montclair, NJ, on November 4, New York City on November 5, and The Foxwood Resort and Casino in Ledyard, CT, on November 6. To purchase tickets and get a full list of tour dates, visit her official website.