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Spotlight on the Cho-sen one
NOBODY wants to have sex with Donald Trump, insists comedienne Margaret Cho in an interview with The Business Times two weeks before her stand-up debut in Singapore.
"He speaks to the lowest minds, ones consumed by fear of 'immigrants' and people of colour. No one wants to go to bed with him!" she declares.
Cho, possibly the brashest and most foul-mouthed Asian woman in the history of the world, has created a world-wide cult following based on her willingness to exploit any taboo topic for her comic routines - including her recent divorce and dark past of being a rape victim.
Half of the things she talks about absolutely couldn't be printed here; the other half would have to be paraphrased to the point that it's drained of its humour. lndeed, the 47-year-old Korean-American has become a source of both pride and embarrassment for the Asian-American community.
Still, if there is one person more embarrassing than she is, it's Trump, of course. She says: "Everyone is terrified and embarrassed that Trump is a candidate, but I love Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. They're both worthy and capable candidates. I am endorsing Bernie Sanders and plan to see him on the campaign trail."
Cho was the first Asian-American to have her own network TV sitcom called All-American Girl in 1994. But after its ratings bomb, Cho struck it out on her own.
Now, like any veteran entertainer who's survived the chew-and-spit of the entertainment mill, she knows her priorities: "I don't care what anyone says about me. It's just important that people are talking."
Much of her appeal lies in the fact that she is incredibly intelligent, often making sharp observations on race, gender, sex, politics and religion. Humour, she says, has been a source of strength for her in overcoming her own struggles with anorexia, drugs, alcohol and bad relationships.
Now happy and comfortable with her curves, she says the one thing she's looking forward to in Singapore is the food: "I want to go to the hawker centres where I know there's lots of good food. This is very important to me! I am very interested in the food! Especially claypot rice, satay and dumplings!"
She's not worried about Singapore's censorship guidelines which most recently affected Madonna's upcoming concert. If anything, Cho's hoping conservative Singaporeans would get a petition going to ban her performance, just as they did for Adam Lambert's appearance at a recent New Year countdown concert.
She says: "Mine's a live performance and it's not scripted, so it could be anything. But I doubt there'll be a problem. My shows are very specific to the place I am performing and I let the audience guide me."
The show will also incorporate songs she wrote and performed for her brazen new music album, American Myth. It contains songs such as (I Want To) Kill My Rapist and Ron's Got A DUI. In the former, she imagines a revenge scenario where she finds and shoots her rapist. In the latter, she sings about her gay Uncle Ron who has to stay home with her because he's been convicted for Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
She says: "I do music as another aspect to my standup comedy, so it's always going to be connected. I would love to do more music, but it will always be part of my work as a comic."
Asked about her oft-stated plans to become a single mum, she says she wouldn't want to become a "Tiger Mum" like Amy Chua. If anything, she wants to give Asians all over the world "the gift of limitless joy". She says: "The best advice my mother's ever given me is: 'Don't worry!' But then again, she doesn't follow her own advice and she's always worried, so she's a terrible example!"
- Margaret Cho performs on March 5 at Kallang Theatre. Tickets from $88 available from Sistic.