She's danced with the stars and inked most of her flesh. She played a comedic but convincing Kim Jong Il on 30 Rock and has a regular role in Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva. Recently, she collaborated with some of the great musical minds of our time, including Fiona Apple, Andrew Bird, and Tegan and Sara; learned to play the guitar, banjo, and dulcimer; and created a Grammy-winning album, Cho Dependent.
Cho takes her newest show, Mother, back on the road this month, offering a Cho approach to motherhood in its many forms. We spoke with her about being a smothering mother to the world.
New Times: Do you have a favorite movie or television mother that you wish you had or could be like?
Margaret Cho: I like Bonnie Franklin from One Day at a Time. That was a really good one. She was like a mature mom who had the mature daughters, Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli. She's like a single mom. She was my favorite.
What inspired Mother? Are you interested in being a mother?
Maybe. It's more about my mother and about motherhood, in that I'm a woman in her 40s and now people are relating to me as if I'm like a mom. I think it's good. Because I do have a lot that I can offer. I tend to be a mother to the world. And even though I'm not literally a mom, I can fill that role in certain aspects. This is kind of looking at it like me being a mom and smothering the planet. And that my mother is somebody that's such a big symbol to me.
Is there something you think your mom got right that you think other moms could replicate with their children?
I think what my mother did was she really gave me the idea that being gay was safe, that being gay was OK. It was never any kind of issue. She was very understanding of gay people, and she wanted me to be unafraid of expressing that part of me. That was a really great thing.