Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 06th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Mother Dearest

ae2-1MargaretStand-up comic Margaret Cho’s new one-woman show hits Santa Cruz

Actress, podcaster, Grammy nominee and internationally acclaimed stand-up comic Margaret Cho’s award-winning one-woman comedy shows have always addressed the tough issues she’s faced throughout her life. From her struggle to make it as a stand-up comic, to a self-deprecating body image, to drug and alcohol addiction, Cho has never shied away from tackling difficult topics with tact and humor.

Her fresh new show, entitled “Mother,” will be unveiled at The Rio Theatre on Nov. 30. It’s not, however, about the biological mother Cho has hilariously portrayed over the years. Instead, it’s about her newfound role as “mother” to an ever-growing generation of misfits and socially awkward malcontents—in other words, comedy fans.

“This show is not so much about my mother, but more about me becoming a mother of comedy, younger comics and giving birth to jokes,” Cho explains over the phone from Georgia, where she is filming Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva. When it comes to jokes, Cho is one of the edgiest comedians to ever hit the scene.

Stand-up comedy experienced a golden age in the 1980s, when local sensations became international stars, but that trajectory peaked at the end of the decade. Needless to say, the likelihood of a young, pudgy Korean woman finding success in the male-dominated comedy scene of the ’90s, was a long shot. But Cho has never been one to take no for an answer.

“There are good and bad aspects, regarding gender in comedy, but it’s still tougher on women,” says Cho. “All I have ever really cared about is being able to work. I wish that there were more women around doing stand-up. I have always imagined that there would be a larger group of younger woman out there doing it, but I don’t think the comedy industry is that encouraging to women.”

ae2-2MargaretChoWhile that disparity is an unfortunate reality, it also gives female comics a sense of community. “I really bonded with Kathy Griffin, we really understand each other’s lives in a deep way—and that’s cool,” says Cho. “I ended up having an immediate connection with the ladies out there. I love the new girls, the new ladies like Amy Schumer, she’s really funny and really sharp. But being a female stand-up comic is a hard life.”

It may be a challenging career, but it’s also been a fruitful one for Cho. “Stand-up is all forms of entertainment concentrated into one thing—a very raw, base level connecting with people,” she says. “And if you can do that, you can do everything else.”

A Bay Area native, Cho has always treasured the San Francisco comedy scene. “I think it’s unique because it’s really about the craft,” she says. “I think there’s a real fluidity to the scene and you’re really encouraged if you are creative. There is a very nurturing scene if you have something to offer. Hacks get spit out. They don’t encourage mediocrity. It’s a very demanding community, so it’s a great place to develop as a comic.”

The Monterey Bay area has a unique scene of its own, according to Cho. “Santa Cruz is an interesting place to perform,” she says. “It’s very different than anywhere else in the world. It’s so liberal and alternative that it’s its own kind of universe.” 

Margaret Cho will perform “Mother” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 at The Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $29.50. Adult material. Visit

Photo 1: Photo 2: Austin Young

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Making a Scene

As it celebrates its 30th year, Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios is one of the most successful in the country—and a make-or-break event for many local artists


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


At Clothes Range

FashionART’s 10th anniversary show introduces a new generation of designers on the edge


A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist


Downhill Cellars

An easy-drinking Chardonnay from Downhill Cellars


If whales have a message for humans, what might it be?

“Do not come in the water and join us.” Howard Hall, Santa Cruz, Retired


Wargin Wines

The wine world is buzzing about this Pinot Gris