[Originally printed in the first issue of Velvetpark magazine July 2002, by Kent Martin and Grace Moon]
Life is good for comic desperado Margaret Cho these days. The self-produced, self-distributed film version of her successful touring and off-Broadway show I'm the One That I Want was an unprecedented smash, earning $1.4 million at the box office with only nine prints in circulation. Her book of the same name that delves deep into her harrowing personal and public journey, became a national bestseller and was recently released in paperback. Finally, a series of significant awards in the last two years have honored Margaret and her penchant for speaking out in favor of unity, equality and acceptance among various cultures and lifestyles.
Velvetpark caught up with Margaret as she was preparing to attend a sneak preview of the concert film on the opening night gala of The New Festival—The 14th Annual New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
After the success of your first film, was Notorious C.H.O. easier to write and produce?
Oh yeah, it was easier because I knew what I was in for. Even the filming was easier because I was not under any particular kind of pressure. I knew what to expect out there, and I knew what I was doing. I had a lot of confidence as the producer. I think the first time, when I was filming, there was pressure and fear. This time it had all gone away.
That's what struck me almost immediately in the film. Besides being terrifically funny, as usual, you seemed more at ease with yourself and with your career. For the readers who aren't familiar with it already, how does this film differ thematically from I'm The One That I Want?
Well this is much more of a stand-up comedy show whereas the first was like a one-person show. And so this one has a lot of jokes. It focuses on alternative health care, gays and lesbians, adventurous sexuality, self-esteem, politics, feminism. It's a really broad show, covering a lot of ground. Whereas the first show was really just one story I was telling.
Asian Americans are called "The Silent Minority." What do you have to say about that, and what do you have to say to your fellow Asian Americans?
I think that it is changing. The "Silent Minority" is becoming very loud. As things happen in society, as