Notorious C.H.O.

This is a concert film starring standup comic Margaret Cho, recorded live in Seattle in December 2001.

I don't usually watch concert films – most 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 sitting through Notorious C.H.O., I walked away remembering something: I don't really find standup comics that funny. I am much more entertained by watching normal people in comic situations. Standups have always struck me as obnoxious, self-involved, high-strung people, the kind I would never want to hang out with. Margaret Cho is no exception.

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 shticks: 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 rote 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 go wild every time you say that. Talk about preaching to the choir. Anyway, her impressions of her mother are fun for a while, and her personal stories are very interesting, but I didn't find her as funny as everybody else in the theater did. Your mileage may vary.