Review by Emma Whitelaw
US CULT comedian, Margaret Cho, has had the West End in stitches
with her London debut State of Emergency tour.
As a Korean-American bisexual, she is an authority on the underdog
and leaves no minority stone unturned.
Her set features satirical, yet incredibly poignant commentary
on social taboos ranging from same-sex marriage to the most unmentionable
of them all – menstruation.
As potentially offensive as a political satirist can be; Cho
is far from insulting. In fact, her jokes, although immensely
hilarious, carry with them a weighty intelligence that excuses
all smut and gives rise to emotive thought.
Cho is the thinking woman’s answer to Eddie Murphy’s
Delirious. Risqué and ever so shocking, hers is a pant-wetting
humour that will manage to keep you thinking long after you’ve
Such an example would be her comparison of George W Bush to a
certain Germanic leader; ‘Bush would be Hitler, if he only
applied himself, he lazy!’
Another would be her observations
on the homophobic Bush-loving population; ‘If you're against
gay marriage but you laugh at Will and Grace, you're a hypocrite.
That's like when white people stole rock 'n' roll - "I love
your song, but please don't use that drinking fountain".’
Several other skits also made use of her status as a bonafide
fag-hag. An audience favourite would have to have been anecdotes
from her gay cruise experiences. Learning to 'read' has never
been such fun!
Her ethnicity also became the butt of many jokes. Nothing is
sacred, airline Asian Chicken Salad, baby girls from China, not
even her mother!
What Cho does best is exploit her own personal experience. She
comes to the stage with more than mere witticisms.
As both feminist and political genius – she has every right
to be ‘Intolerant of intolerance!’
May her parade march on!
Margaret Cho – State of Emergency. November 30
to January 1, 2005 at New Players Theatre, The Arches, Villiers
Street, London WC2N 6NQ. Box Office 0870 0332626.
Photo by Austin Young.