Brace yourselves ladies and gentlemen: comedian Margaret Cho, best known for her controversial range of topics such as sexuality, race and body image, is coming to San Luis Obispo.
The actress-comedian-dancer will make a stop at the Alex Madonna Expo Center on Dec. 2 as part of her Cho Dependent Tour, which began in August and has taken her across the continent. The tour also coincides with the release of her “Cho Dependent” album, which features titles such as “Eat Shit and Die” and “Lice.”
Cho said so far the tour has been non-stop, but nonetheless a great time.
“I’ve gone everywhere — all over New York, all over Canada, all over the south and it’s been really busy,” Cho said. “I’m having a great time doing it. It’s what I do, so it’s something that’s enjoyable to me.”
Cho also recently wrapped up her participation in the television show “Dancing with the Stars” and plans to continue her run on Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” in the spring. In the meantime, Cho is spreading her notoriously up-front views — comedically, of course — across the country.
A San Francisco native, Cho grew up near Haight Street and began performing stand-up at age 16. After moving to Los Angeles in the 1990s and gaining popularity across college campuses, Cho booked a lead role in the show “All American Girl” in 1994. Soon after, she explored Broadway, headlined several solo and successful comedy tours, all while maintaining her voice regarding large social issues. Cho said her life and experiences contribute to the inspiration for her comedy.
“I’m inspired about my family, my relationships, you know everything that I do kind of goes into my work,” Cho said. “And also my whole life — everything I do is an extension of my work. So there’s a constant flow of things and ideas, whether it’s comedy or music or dancing.”
Also an activist in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, Cho has teamed up with several artists to raise awareness about social issues and includes LGBT topics into her comedy.
“It’s important to give forth this message of fighting for our rights and having a sense of pride about who we are,” Cho said. “So these are all things that I put forth in my comedy. To me it’s a very political thing to do that and I’m very proud to do that.”
Local fans within the LGBT community said Cho is not only hilarious but also constructs her gay-related jokes carefully. Liberal arts and engineering studies senior Tyler Whipple said Cho’s comedy, compared to other gay comedians, doesn’t focus on the stereotypes.
“Her comedy is biting, but it’s not trashy,” Whipple said. “She makes jokes tactfully instead of trashy with stereotypes.”
Whipple compared Cho to gay comedian Ant, who he said plays up the “flaming queen” act.
Another portion of her performance will be dedicated to playing a few songs off her album. More than half the songs on “Cho Dependent” are collaborations with artists like Tegan and Sara and Ben Lee. Cho said she feels grateful to have worked with such successful artists.
“I love performing ‘I’m Sorry,’ which is a beautiful song I wrote with my friend Andrew Bird,” Cho said. “I’m so lucky that I got to make this record with so many amazing people.”
As serious as she is about her work, Cho is best known for her raunchy style and saying whatever she wants. Journalism senior Erica Bashaw, a long-time fan of Cho, said she did a double-take when she first overheard Cho’s outrageous lines.
“When you first start listening to her, like all great comedians, you probably should be shocked.” Bashaw said. “That’s probably what got me so into her — I turned on the television and was like, ‘Wait she said what?’”
Bashaw said she’s also impressed with Cho’s ability to discuss pressing issues — such as substance abuse and weight loss — with an unapologetic finesse.
“I think sometimes Bill Maher is sometimes apologetic for his comedy,” she said. “And what I like about Margaret is she’s fearless. She doesn’t apologize for what she says. She calls out our ignorance and bigotry and sometimes ‘incorrect’ political correctness. I think she really points out the absurdity. If you want middle of the road, there’s always the Disney Channel.”
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Vallitix locations, online at Vallitix.com or by phone at 888-825-5484. Prices are $29.50 and $44.50.