"I can enjoy things that I don't agree with politically. Like, I love hip-hop and I love rap, but it's incredibly homophobic and incredibly sexist but I have to get past that. Which is okay. I like it enough to almost condone those things. So it's okay. Because I don't agree with it doesn't mean that I don't like it."
– Margaret Cho
Guy MacPherson: Is this the Assassin tour?
Margaret Cho: Yes, it is. It was the 'State of Emergency' tour. And then it changed because it was about making it more current. I think Americans went from being in a state of emergency to a state of shock or anger.
GM: And now that it's Assassin, is that more current because you're looking for someone to assassinate?
GM: Or you're verbally assassinating Bush, is that it?
MC: Yeah. It's all about verbally assassinating everybody, including myself.
GM: The show's more political than personal compared to your last shows?
GM: But there are still personal elements.
MC: Yes. But then I think politics overwhelmingly is personal. It's become personal for everyone lately. Because it's such a difficult time. It's so crazy because people are so much more emotionally involved in politics than they've ever been.
GM: It's way more polarized, isn't it?
MC: Mm-hmm. And that's amazing. It's shocking because you would expect that the government would feel obligated to do good things for us but it's kind of not the case. It's so much more corrupt than I've ever seen it. It's quite depressing.
GM: Do you think that's a factor of us getting older and realizing more, while when we're younger it was just as corrupt but we didn't even care to notice?
MC: I dunno. I think that it's just that maybe it really is just corrupt. And it's allowed to get worse and worse and worse over time. Now, how do we deal with something we've kind of let go on for years and years. Maybe we know more now about things because of the way that information is passed around. I think that has a lot to do with it, too. I don't know, but it is a strange situation and it's very hard to deal with.
GM: I read that you take some shots at the Pope, too. Are those going to come out?
MC: Yeah, yeah. Actually, I like the Pope. I think he's kind of funny and cute. He was progressive for what he is. All of the news coverage about his death, it's been very much about how we're hanging between life and death here in America with the whole Terry Schiavo thing and with the Pope. Everybody's very concerned with mortality now.
GM: Mitch Hedberg picked a bad week to die.
MC: Yeah. I know. I'm actually very upset about that. He's a great guy and an old friend. I actually know his wife very well. It's very tragic. Comics don't live very long, I've noticed.
GM: Well, depends.
MC: Well, the really good ones don't.
GM: They either live forever or they die young.
MC: Very young. But the really good ones seem to have quite a high mortality rate. People like Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce...
GM: It's their lifestyle, right? You gotta be careful.
MC: I suppose.
GM: Don't do drugs. That should be your message. That's your next tour.
MC: I guess that's the main thing not to do. It's very sad. I would not want to die this week because there's just so many people dying that get bigger coverage. It's impossible to get noticed.
GM: They say people get more conservative as they get older. You don't seem to be.
MC: Well, I think I've gotten more informed. If anything, that seems to be what's happened. Because I've always had a rebellious streak, or this idea that I had to find some kind of rebellion somewhere. Now I see and I want to be involved because I have an opportunity to say something about it.
GM: You're writing now, performing, acting in movies... You've got it all covered.
MC: Yeah, it's good.
GM: You're Queen of all media.
MC: I'm making a quilt, too.
GM: As we speak?
MC: As we speak right now. I'm trying to decide what to put on next. So I do a lot of things. I also belly dance on weekdays.
GM: You're multi-talented.
GM: They also say comedians need a bit of distance to keep things funny. As soon as you get truly angry, it loses some of the comedic value. You need kind of an ironic detachment otherwise you're too close. It would be like Dennis Miller getting mad at liberals.
MC: Yeah, people would want to get mad at Dennis Miller because he used to be so liberal. It's a shocking thing to me that he's totally conservative now. I think it's a joke.
GM: You think so? It's a big put-on?
MC: Yeah. I'm hoping that it is. Because I'm a big fan. Or was. I don't think he's very funny anymore.
GM: Do you feel that you're making a difference? Obviously Bush won the second term. That was a shock to everyone up here, anyway.
MC: Yeah. It's really depressing. I hope that I am. I would like to be making some sort of an impact. I imagine I am, and I would find it hard to believe if I wasn't. But in any case, it's fun. So it doesn't matter.
GM: I just wonder if you're changing any minds, or would Bush supporters or conservatives not even bother coming to your show?
MC: I don't know. I mean, I think my reach is pretty wide. There's other people that come to my shows who just don't really necessarily feel what I feel politically but they really enjoy what I'm doing as an artist, so it doesn't really matter. It's not really about the message so much as the medium. It's more than just a political night out. It's not a fundraiser; it's a show. I can enjoy things that I don't agree with politically. Like, I love hip-hop and I love rap, but it's incredibly homophobic and incredibly sexist but I have to get past that. Which is okay. I like it enough to almost condone those things. So it's okay. Because I don't agree with it doesn't mean that I don't like it.
GM: Although I guess the Christian right would be less prone to enjoy something that they disagree with.
MC: But that's just insane. The whole Christian right thing to me is very upsetting because I'm a Christian and I'm very involved in learning about God and learning about other religions and other forms of spirituality and being very accepting of every aspect of it. And the incredible hypocrisy that goes on right now in these kind of church-fueled political debates, it's really a disaster. Christians are not as Christian as they used to be.
GM: At least a certain sect of them aren't.
MC: It's quite disturbing. They give a bad name to other Christians and other people who want to be spiritual and want their spirituality to inform their politics but in a way that's compassionate and not in a way that condemns or negates others' rights in things like gay marriage or abortion. When there are issues that they're trying to abolish it or ban them altogether, then it's a big problem.
GM: Were you shocked or depressed at the results of the election?
MC: I wasn't shocked. I was pretty much really ready for that because I kind of seen it coming in a lot of ways. You don't really want to give up hope at the last minute, but it seemed inevitable in a lot of ways. But what I was working towards more was the fact that we were having the opportunity to have a discussion about politics about who would be better and who would do a better job. I think it was very close, which is a great thing.
GM: If Kerry had won, you couldn't be doing this show, so it worked out for you either way.
MC: Yeah, it's fine.
GM: Would you have attacked a Democratic president?
MC: I don't know. I don't think it would be necessarily about attacking the president. You can still be critical, though. There are things that I definitely disagree with as far as Democrats go. I wish that we didn't have a two-party system, but we do. I think it's always all right to be critical, but as to what degree you are... Because I still want to be invited to the White House.
GM: Oh, do you?
MC: Yeah. Like, I enjoy their state dinners.
GM: Have you been before?
GM: Under Clinton?
MC: Yes. But I'd like to go again. I mean, I can't go now. Even though I've been invited, which is odd.
GM: Really? The Bush people invited you?
MC: Yeah. And they continue to.
GM: You should go!
MC: Yeah, well I don't think so. (laughs)
GM: Not as a form of support. And you would make that clear. But you'd also be respectful. I think that would be interesting. Think of the stories you could tell.
MC: I know. Well, I don't know if I'd want to sit through Brooks & Dunne.