Drop Dead Diva just wrapped up its fourth season last weekend on Lifetime and you might expect star Margaret Cho to take a break but you’d expect wrong. The comedienne and LGBT-activist is gearing up for a brand-new comedy tour, a Food Network show and . . . an Oscar?!? Prior to her Atlanta tour stop Sunday September 16th at The Punchline, David Atlanta caught up with Cho to dish about her new projects.
You’re gearing up for a crazy end to 2012, will you tell us a bit about your new standup show Mother?
I wanted to do a show with mostly jokes about my mom. I’ve been thinking about her because I’m trying to cook Korean again and she’s a really awesome cook. I’ve just been going through recipes and remembering all these things about her.
Also the show is about my ideas of what a mother is. I’m about that age and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot, not necessarily having children but the idea of motherhood in general. I think it’s cool to be a mother! Not necessarily a real one, but a mother of the world.
Also the mothers we think about in society: Madonna, Lady Gaga and even Whitney Houston, that kind of societal thing where a woman is a cultural figure, political figure and pop icon. So that’s what the show is.
You have a strong connection to strong women. What was it like being nominated for an Emmy and working with Tina Fey on 30 Rock?
I didn’t even know I was nominated. [Tina Fey] actually called to tell because I’m not the kinda person who gets up early to hear the nominations. I don’t care (laughing).
Well you’ve been to the Emmy’s and the Grammy’s . . . maybe an Oscar next?
That’s certainly a goal. You get there gradually and it’s great trying to do it all but I NEED TO WIN IT. I’m anxious to really win something now (laughs).
Besides the tour you’ve got a new show on the Food Network called Blind Dinner Party. It sounds like MTV’s Real World in courses. What was your experience like with this show?
I love this idea of bringing people together who wouldn’t necessarily eat together. When we shot the pilot it was so cool how varied these people were. I mean we sat down and there was fighting and intense discussion about stuff because they did have a problem agreeing on things and wanting people to see things their way. I mean it is kinda like Fight Club in a sense but these people are coming together to eat and learn and I think that is really important.
Speaking of television, you’ve had a bigger role on Drop Dead Diva this season getting to showcase your singing and songwriting. What has your experience been like over the past few years?
It’s so weird going back and thinking how long have I been playing this character and with the writers writing in your voice and perspective, so having that connection and communication with people is awesome. And the cast, we’ve been working on this show for five years now so we’re very close . . . we’re a family.
Well Drop Dead Diva keeps you in Atlanta quite a bit. We know you’re a big fan of the Clermont, any other favorite places in Atlanta?
[Atlanta] is my second home because I spend a lot of time here and where I spend most of my time outside of the road. There are so many different parts of the city I love and I’m definitely going out all the time. I love The Albert, I’m always there. The music here is something I really appreciate so I’m always at The Tabernacle seeing shows. Also The Earl and Variety Playhouse.
Speaking of the Clermont, Blondie is a Grand Marshall in this Pride Parade. Any chance we’ll catch you at Atlanta Pride?
I’d love to but you know I’ve never been to Pride here. It’s usually in the season I’m gone . . . Halloween, right?
We actually moved it a couple weeks back. It’ll be October 13, 14 and 15th this year. So the invite is open! We’ve got performances from Andy Bell, Rita Ora—
Oh, Andy is one of my old friends. I’ve opened for him a lot and toured with him. He’s a blast.
Well, hopefully you’ll make it out this year. Speaking of touring with musicians, On Cho Dependent you showcased your musical talents. What was that project like and is there a follow-up planned?
I really love all those musicians and my musical life is really growing. I do have songs that I have recorded and want to put out but I wanted to make time for this standup tour first and then go back to doing music.
It’s something that I really treasure and all those people like Ani DiFranco, Andrew Bird, Tegan and Sara and Fiona Apple, they taught me so much about music, singing and playing. It was a musical education that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else and in no better way. It was the best thing I could’ve done.
I wanted to ask about a funny video you did earlier this year with trans-rapper Rocco Katastrophe, who we recently featured. How did the track “Eat Everything” come together?
Well, Rocco is my trans-son. I’m a trans-mother and have a lot of trans-children. He and I have known each other for years and had been talking about doing a song. We shot the video at my house in LA. I loved the song and worked really hard on the rhymes and Katastrophe is just so great.
Let’s talk about art for a minute. I love your ink. Any personal tattoos and/or anything in the works?
They don’t really have that much meaning because to me they’re really about the relationship I have with the artist. There are two big cabbage roses that I have that were done by Kim Saigh and Shawn Barber who have a studio in LA called Memoir. I just wrote the foreward for Shawn Barber’s book. Those guys are like family to me.
I’m working on a leg piece that’s a Chinese Goddess and on my knees I have Abraham Lincoln and George Washington looking at each other. But it hurts so much I’m reluctant to go back and get it all finished.
Finally, if you could write a letter to your 13-year old self what would it say?
I really could’ve benefitted from the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign. So I wish I could just include a link to people talking. Dan Savage is amazing so I would just love to forward a younger me those videos. They’re powerful and meaningful and save lives.
Margaret Cho will perform at The Punchline Comedy Club on Sunday September 16th at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. You can get tickets at punchline.com.
Follow Margaret Cho on Twitter @margaretcho and Facebook.com/officialmargaretcho