Interview: Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho, the hilarious Asian-American comic, actress, author and singer-songwriter from San Francisco, is taking her sexually and racially charged stand-up routine back on the road to Fire Island this month. In advance of her Aug.19 performance at The Ice Palace in Cherry Grove, Cho told the News about her upcoming TV show, her thoughts on the new administration and shared some NSFW memories from her prior trips to Fire Island.

Fire Island News (FIN): Are there notable memories you have from some of your prior visits to Fire Island?

Margaret Cho (MC): I’ve been going there … off and on for years. My first show was at The Pines. I started off as a Pines queen. I didn’t know better. I was introduced to the meat rack and all of that fun stuff and I gradually of course came to play Cherry Grove, which was really great. And I love it. Every time I go it’s the best time.

FIN: Any specific memories that you recall that stand out in your mind?

MC: I had these two guy friends who were cruising way late after the show. They were cruising and then they met two guys and brought them back to our little rental, but the room was only big enough for a bed. And they’re like two gay friends, they didn’t want to touch at all … they didn’t want to touch while they’re blowing these other guys. So like in this tiny, tiny room trying to blow these guys without touching or looking at each other and I could hear all of it from where I was just above them. It’s just the kind of, one of those lost Fire Island nights. I just love it.

FIN: What should fans expect to see Aug. 19 at The Ice Palace?

MC: I think it’s going to be fun! It’s a lot about what’s going on with the weirdness that’s our new president. It’s hard to say president with a serious face. It’s pretty scary. And all of the stuff surrounding … anything like comedy, people get really offended. I don’t know why. He’s like so offensive. I don’t understand this whole thing with Kathy Griffin with her holding his decapitated head. She gets in all this trouble for it, but in my mind it’s basically hashtag TBT French Revolution. It’s like so silly and funny. And I just love being able to explore the moment.

FIN: You’re known for being one of the more outrageous comics out there. Have you found it harder to shock your audiences given the seemingly increasing tolerance for controversy?

MC: You find a way to talk about it and do it. It’s awesome to challenge the status quo and keep on just trying to offend people. I think that’s what comedy’s about – being offensive and I love that.

FIN: You’re not just a comic. You’ve dabbled in a wide variety of genres over your career. Is there a single work that you’re most proud of?

MC: I love doing any acting stuff. I love music. I really love getting to do different types of things. Being able to do comedy music is really fun. I love that. There’s so many great things to do in that world. So, I love that. And acting is always really great. So, there’s a million things.

FIN: Do you have anything coming up that you’d like to tease for our readers?

MC: I have a show that I’ve written for TNT called “Highland.” It’s all about a Korean-American family in the middle of the marijuana boom, which is such a big deal here in California. That’s something that I’m working hard on. It’s great, so I’m excited to finally bring it to television. It’s been a long journey, it’s been about two years. So it’s great to finally make it happen.

FIN: Is there a start date yet?

MC: We’re working on the pilot right now.

FIN: Are there any misconceptions that you’d like to clarify?

MC: I think that there’s always stuff out there that’s always wrong or weird but at the same time you never know, maybe it is true, maybe I have no idea.

FIN: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

MC: I love Fire Island. I love performing there. I love hanging out there. I have such a good time. We really laugh and it’s always the best. The crowd is always super rowdy and super crazy, which is awesome and I love it.

Margaret Cho will perform at the Ice Palace on Saturday, Aug. 19 with two showings, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets available at