The Warfield, San Francisco – March 15, 2008
Former “All-American Girl” Margaret Cho returned for a pair of triumphant nights at the Warfield a couple weeks back, reminding us why she’s still the Bay Area’s biggest gay pride (and joy). Looking relaxed and slender in her red and white striped top and skin-tight jeans, Cho delivered a potent, acerbic set which seemed to delight the mostly gay and Asian-American audience.
“I just got back from Australia,” she said before cataloging other prominent celebs like Kathy Griffin, Cyndi Lauper and Olivia Newton-John who were there with her. “It was like a fag hag summit.” Although Cho can trump her friend Griffin at her own oral-tabloid game (“The paparazzi pussy shot is bad luck and it captures the soul of your pussy,” she said of the recent rash of young Hollywood downfalls), she’s always shined brightest when presenting herself as one of us, be it a gay advocate in everyday life, a self-conscious minority trapped in a Eurocentric culture or just another member of MySpace (“Who hasn’t fucked their top 10? I actually fucked Tom!”).
With hysterical bits on everything from Project Runway to Ann Coulter and former Senator Larry Craig, the comedienne’s set catered mostly to her gay following, “I love gay bars until it gets to be ‘dick o’clock,’” Cho joked. “We should have a fag hag shuttle go by all the bars to takes us to a safe house, where we can watch the Sex and the City movie before anyone else!”
This left little time for empathizing with other Asian Americans. Still, the crowd lovingly erupted when Cho spoke of being mistaken for other Asian-American performers, part of a segment drawing on her trademark raunchy blend of culturally astute social commentary and painfully hilarious recounts. “What was it like to make Charlie’s Angels?” someone asked, to which she replied, “No, I’m the one from Grey’s Anatomy.”
The crowd nearly burst when she described her father’s curious reaction to the Virginia Tech massacre, an atrocity unfortunately wrought by a fellow Korean. “Wow, 32 people,” she mimicked in an exaggerated Korean accent, “I mean, one or two is okay, but…”
With The Cho Show premiering this summer, I can’t wait to finally see some real talent on VH1 to counter the “Celebreality” has-beens who’ve taken over the channel.
Liam Sullivan, whose electro-pop internet music videos as valley girl caricature Kelly (“Shoes” / “Text Message Breakup”) are bona fide smash hits, was a worthy opener, if a little too restrained in the large theater. Flanked by two backup performers, Sullivan stayed put behind the microphone for a live rendition of Peoples Choice Award-winner “Shoes,” a performance that paled in comparison to the gut-busting showing of “Let Me Borrow That Top” that preceded it. But if Sullivan can translate his characters onto a clever stage production – or onto a screen size bigger than a YouTube window – the man touted as the next Dave Chappelle or Sacha Baron Cohen will soon be able to buy all the shoes in the world. Be on the lookout.
– David Sason
Margaret Cho http://www.margaretcho.com
Liam Sullivan http://www.liamshow.com