Notorious C.H.O.

Notorious C.H.O.

A concert film starring comedian Margaret Cho, recorded live in Seattle in December 2001. I don't usually see these films (most of them only play on cable) but I was curious about Cho's act, having heard so much about her over the past few years. Well, after watching Notorious C.H.O., I walked away remembering something: I don't really find stand-up comics that funny. I am much more entertained by watching normal people in comic situations. Stand-ups have always struck me as obnoxious, self-involved, high-strung people, the kind I would never want to hang out with, and Margaret Cho is no different.

Will you find her funny? I can't speak to that. But I can at least tell you what her act consists of. Cho's got four basic gimmicks: excessively raunchy sex jokes; amusing imitations of her judgmental Korean mother; clear-eyed, Richard Pryor-style reflections on her past problems with alcohol and eating disorders; and tiresome platitudes about how all minorities, especially gays, need to be treated with respect and love. Well obviously, Margaret, 90% of your audience is gay, so of course they're going to applaud you every time you say that. Talk about preaching to the choir. Anyway, her impressions of her mother are fun to watch for a while, and her personal stories are very interesting (though I have a feeling that the jokes about her sexual shenanigans are mostly invented), but I didn't find her as funny as everybody else in the theatre did.