Margaret Cho gives it good at Humphreys
by Renee Westbrook
San Diego Local Music Examiner
Margaret Cho can’t help but be brutally honest. It’s her nature. But there’s something else about her the audience clung to Friday night at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay; something that keeps gay, straight, young and old people of all races coming back for more.
Whether she’s talking about “spit roasting”, a sexual act that involves at least three people or her feminine nether regions being the site of Oprah’s newest school, Cho exudes generosity.
Opener John Roberts is no stranger to that artistic altruism. Dressed like a gay Gallagher, his multi-character Carrot Top with wig props routine was just enough to get the audience in gear. Looking a bit worn when she took the stage, she kicked off the show talking about the difficulties of being a competitor on “Dancing With The Stars”, a bit that wouldn’t be complete without the voice of her mother chiming in, “Ohhhh, it so haaaaaaaaaard.”
Sex and politics are major staples of her act. She touched on gays in the military and Proposition 8 then offered the audience a glimpse of her many “fellationships” and sexcapades including accidentally sexting Mrs. Cho.
Probably the most poignant bit of the night came when she spoke about her grandfather, a man she says suffered disfiguring facial burns when he rescued his adoptive children from a burning building.
Grandpa was her biggest fan. The cancellation of her 1994 sitcom “All American Girl” took a toll on him and he died shortly thereafter. In true Cho fashion, that moment went from poignant to gut busting funny when she told the story of how at Grandpa’s funeral several of his grief-stricken girlfriends jumped into the casket with him.
Because it’s still early on in the tour and the act has not quite settled into its groove, songs from her musical comedy CD “Cho Dependent” gave the unsteady show a much needed balance.
By far the highlight of the evening was Cho singing the song about the human male genitalia. She brought in the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus to sing backup and with a ton of heaping liberality shared her dance partner Louis van Amstel with the audience.
Cho is not a woe-is-me kind of comedian. She’s the kind whose entire show subtext simply offers this: I
stand before you fearless and steady, anchored in my experiences, ready and willing to share with you exactly who I am.
You may wince and cringe at the overt vulgarities, but once acclimated you’ll double over with laughter and be grateful you spent an hour and a half accepting her generosity.