Margaret Cho goes Live & Livid at The Fillmore

Cho tour Philadelphia
Sergio Garcia

For decades, Margaret Cho has been one of alternative comedy’s best friends. Long before issues of mental health and psychic wellness, Asian-American rights and LGBTQ+ freedoms became a part of everyday conversation and advocacy, her lacerating, quick-witted stand-up routines took no prisoners when it came to pushing her ideals in your face.

Cho tour Philadelphia
Sergio Garcia

When Cho wasn’t busy touring intimate punk clubs and large-scale arenas, she acted in films such as ‘Fire Island‘ and ‘Prom Pact’ and series such as ‘Drop Dead Diva’, ’30 Rock’, ‘Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens’ and ‘Life & Beth’.

In order to celebrate her 40th anniversary in stand-up and beyond, Cho is bringing her Live & Livid tour to Philadelphia — hitting the stage at The Fillmore on March 29.

Metro recently sat down with Cho to learn more.

Considering that you have been doing this for 40 years+ — comedy, acting, podcasting — you are now officially a show-business veteran. You seem to be pretty spontaneous. Did you want a career-in-capital-letters when you first started?

Oh, yeah. I wanted to be a comedian since I was eight-years-old. I didn’t know all that this career would be. I couldn’t visualize it. There were no Asian-American women doing what I did back then. I didn’t really know how I could be successful. I just loved the artform of comedy and I wanted to do it, so I committed to do it really young. I didn’t know all that it might look like, so I just did it.

Did having that career in entertainment always involve acting… Disney films?

It did, but I wasn’t sure how. It’s great to be able to do all this. Especially Disney. I love doing Disney anything. I’ve had many experiences working with Disney, all of them incredible, and sometimes as a Disney employee, when you go to their parks, you don’t have to wait in line.

You are known for being forthright in everything you do as an artist. Is there are vulnerability within that audiences don’t get a chance to interact with?

Totally. That’s why I am so forthcoming on stage. It is a rouse. The mask of a person who is incredibly forthright…. I’m still only allowing you to know the information that I want you to know. The fact that my comedy is very extensive and detailed doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve removed the mask. It’s just one more way… it’s subterfuge.

The mask is always imperfect because I’m always looking to see what lengths that I will go to – I mean, if you’re going to lie about how you feel, you’re going to have to remember the lie. So the mask is always off… and in truth, I’m probably a very guarded person. But, in order to deflect from that – the suspicion around that – I put forth this idea of being very open so that nobody questions what I’m doing. That’s a way to get away from real intimacy – that is something I have learned through many years of therapy.

Cho tour Philadelphia
Sergio Garcia

Speaking of therapy, you are responsible for bringing mental health and wellness into the public dialogue, while also having it be a dynamic part of your work.

It really was just something that I was dealing with. I had a lifetime of depression that could be crippling at some points. Having to figure out how to manage that, using addiction as a way to self-medicate was the biggest problem. Now, as an older person, I finally cracked the code on how to deal with mental health.

Dealing with it within my work is interesting to me because so many jokes can be made out of think about your own mental illness. There’s so much to talk about. And I’ve spent so much time coping with it, it’s become one of the biggest challenges of my life, to meet it fully in battle, and hopefully a battle that I have won.

During your stand-up comedy album ‘Revolution’, you used a phrase “silence equals non-existence.” Twenty-one-years later, what has being loud – literally and figuratively – and speaking up done for you as an artist and as someone in this industry?

It has benefited me. Having something to say, having experiences… I can honestly say that that phrase is still valid, still holds up. To me, now, in fact, silence is extinction. A lot of things that I have said as a comedian in the past still holds up which is great.

I’m sure there are bits of my old routines don’t hold up well – you can’t always be on the right side of history – but I’m really glad that for the most part, everything has worked out.

Margaret Cho will perform at The Fillmore on Friday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit