To label Margaret Cho simply as a "comedian" would be to slight her ever-expanding catalogue of titles: actress, musician, activist, director, author, fashion designer. Yet she has never abandoned standup comedy, the medium that brought her to prominence. Cho's intimate new live show, Mother, hits the Pittsburgh Improv on Oct. 7 and 8. While on the road in Charlottesville, Va., she took time from her insanely busy schedule to talk to City Paper.
Mother is billed as your edgiest live show yet. What can we expect?
It's new material. It's kind of everywhere, but also lots of stuff about mothers: my mom, my own ideas on it. Also very raunchy and raw jokes. I'm into just seeing how far I can go.
You've been touring this show for two months. What kind of feedback are you receiving?
It's been amazing and very thrilling. There's a different feel every night as it starts to take on each audience's personality.
Are you still pursuing your musical side?
I just put out a single with Neil Hamburger on Drag City. It's a 7-inch of two classics: "How Little Men Care" and "I Drink."
Politics are a key theme in your comedy. Are there issues that you feel aren't getting enough attention this campaign season?
I think that hate-crime legislation is not there yet. We haven't really done much about bullying in schools. There's serious issues that get swallowed up in other battles.
As an advocate for LGBT issues, how did you feel about Paris Hilton's recent inflammatory remarks regarding gay culture?
It's sad, but also revealing. What do people really think about us when they are in an unguarded moment? What is said and thought when it's perceived that no one is listening?
You earned an Emmy nomination for your portrayal of Kim Jong Il on 30 Rock. Being of Korean descent, did you feel any sort of personal responsibility toward the role?
I wanted to do a good job. I love the show and it was my first foray into drag!
Any big plans?
Lots of touring and writing and living and some special surprises in 2013.