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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 pulseproductions.inticketing.com.

Photo 1: missmissyphotography.net Photo 2: Austin Young

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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