Margaret Cho: Yes She Can (Sing, That Is)

Margaret Cho: Yes She Can (Sing, That Is)
Lindsey Byrnes

These days, you can tack on whatever label to Margaret Cho and it would be accurate--comedian, actor, reality TV star, singer. 

Yup, singer. On her first musical full-length, Cho Dependent, she collaborated with  Andrew Bird, Tegan and Sara, Fiona Apple, Patty Griffin, Grant Lee Phillips, Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs), Ben Lee and Ani DiFranco. It's a comedy album much like Flight of the Conchords and Weird Al Yankovic's releases (her lyrics are all about death, sex, drugs and lice), but it also shows off Cho's chops; there's some rapping in it, but there's also belted-out country songs and more. 

Last night, she flexed her footwork with partner Louis Van Amstel on Dancing With the Stars to Queen's "We Are the Champions." They didn't do very well--just barely passing with a 15 out of 30 point score--but in case you can't wait until next time to see Cho, she'll be performing at the Grove of Anaheim on Thursday.

Your album "Cho Dependent" seems to be doing really well--why is this the first time you're doing an all music album?

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I don't know! I should have been doing it all along. I want to make more! I have several other songs all ready for my next album. I love making music!

I read that Weird Al and Steve Martin were your inspirations for this; aside from the obvious (i.e, they do funny songs), were there any other inspirations you drew from them, maybe lyrically or stylistically?
They are both extremely gifted musicians--which is often overlooked--and it is what I aspire to be. I want to have as good an understanding of music as well as comedy, which I think they both have. Also they both make me scream laughing. Uncontrollable laughing. "King Tut" and "Eat It" are the best songs ever.

Speaking of musical inspiration, are there any musical acts that you hear right now and think, "I wish I could write a song like that!"
Oh so many--but I am obsessed with the New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene and Tegan and Sara. It's all about Canada!

You've done TV, movies, stand-up comedy and now music. What do  you want to be remembered for the most?
Standup! Always and forever!

Why is the album called Cho Dependent? I heard it was going to be called Banjovi or Guitarded.
Cho Dependent
is such a good pun. If I do an album of B-sides and rarities it will be called Banjovi. Guitarded is a name that limits my guitar playing. I am actually pretty good at it!

LGBT activism is such a big part of your life, aside from every thing else that you do. What's the biggest proof to you that your activism has paid off? (Letters from fans, stories, anecdotes, etc.)

I think that the letters from people I have gotten thanking me for the work I have done with and for the LGBT community have been really amazing. I also am so proud that we have come so far with marriage equality in California, which is something that I have been working on for many years now. We almost have it!

Margaret Cho performs at the Grove of Anaheim on Thursday.


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