Margaret Cho Uncensored :: ’All-American Girl’ Gone Wild

by Sam Baltrusis

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday April 2, 2008

Comedian Margaret Cho is a bit preoccupied lately because, well, she's making a skin flick.

"Is it raunchy? Absolutely," she jokes, giving the lowdown on the simulated sex scenes for her upcoming celeb-reality project, "The Cho Show," which will mark the comedian's return to primetime TV after a 14-year hiatus.

The VH1 series, currently in production for seven episodes, will follow the 39-year-old and her eccentric entourage as she deals with her family and friends while working a hectic stand-up career.

Camera crews will chronicle all of the scandalous, behind-the-scenes drama as the veteran comic takes her "Beautiful" tour on the road, which includes a pit stop at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston on Saturday, April 5.

Cho, who had a disastrous experience with her ABC sitcom "All-American Girl" before it was cancelled in 1994, says she has no fear as she prepares to make a triumphant return to the small screen.

"I don't have any reservations about being back on TV because it's a reality show and I love the reality-show format," she says. "It follows my day-to-day life so it would be really difficult to go bad this time around."

In fact, the VH1 production crew is following Cho as we speak. For the latest episode, she says, the openly queer performer and her friends are staging a mock porn shoot.

"It's a reality show so you really can't plan what's going to happen,' she remarks, phoning from St. Louis, MO. "But, so far, it's been pretty crazy. For one of the first episodes of the show, we're shooting a porno."

"I don't think I'm unusually progressive. There's right and there's wrong and I feel like the issues I talk about as a queer comedian are basic fundamental rights that we all should have."

On the surface, the former sitcom star turned comedic tour de force speaks with a saccharine-sweet voice as she rattles off her favorite reality TV shows, a list that includes the typical gay male fodder like 'Project Runway," "The Bad Girl's Club" and Kathy Grffin's 'My Life on the D-List."

However, the comedian's bite is worse than her bark. When asked about the marginalization of the transgender community, specifically the lack of female-to-male (F-to-M) representation in pop culture, Cho's tone transforms from playful to passionately articulate.

"They're the people who face the most homophobia, the most hatred and the most violence," she emotes. "They're the area of our community that needs to be protected and nurtured the most because of heterosexual fear.'

Known for her outspoken views and unfettered support of GLBT issues such as the legalization of same-sex marriage, the advocate says she'll continue to fight for the community.

"I don't think I'm unusually progressive," she continues. "There's right and there's wrong and I feel like the issues I talk about as a queer comedian are basic fundamental rights that we all should have."

Although there hasn't been an official announcement, Cho says she would welcome the chance to emcee Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" event when it hits Boston on Saturday, May 31. "I'm not 100 percent sure yet, but I'm planning on doing a few dates of the 'True Colors' tour this summer because I really loved working with the musicians and artists last year,' she adds.

As far as her upcoming performance at the Orpheum Theatre, Cho admits that she jumps at the chance to perform in the Bay State. "One of my best friends lives in Boston," she gushes, referring to Ryan Landry, grande dame of the underground troupe Gold Dust Orphans."(Landry) is my best friend and he's totally going to be the father of my children."

Margaret Cho unveils "Beautiful" with opener Liam Sullivan this weekend in Boston. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5. Orpheum Theatre, 1 Hamilton Place. $28.50-$45.50. 617-679-0810 or www.livenation.com.

Sam Baltrusis has worked for WHDH-TV, CW56, MTV, VH1, Seventeen, Newsweek and as a regional stringer for The New York Times. He's currently a full-time freelance editor/writer based in Boston. Check out his blog at loadedgunboston.blogspot.com.