Margaret Cho Talks About Sex

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Emmy and Grammy-nominated comedian Margaret Cho co-hosts a new TLC talk show, All About Sex. We caught up with her and chatted about sex and sexuality, Robin Williams and homelessness, self-love, and the upcoming ABC sitcom Fresh Off The Boat.

Cho is also performing in the upcoming weeks in Sacramento and Nashville. She’s filming a special standup performance in New York City at the Gramercy Theatre on March 7. Check her website for more information. All About Sex premieres January 10th on TLC at 11 pm.

—Momo Chang

So, yeah, we can just dive right in. Can you tell me a little bit about All About Sex and what it’s going to cover?
It’s an advice show and it’s a talk show. And we’ll take questions from social media about sexuality. It kind of covers all different kinds of sexuality. My area is alternative sexuality—BDSM, queer questions, questions about sex toys. I have been in the alternative sexual community for my entire adult life and I served on the board of Good Vibrations, which is a really important sex toy company for women. And I have a lot of experience in the area of polyamory and alternative sexuality in general. So I’m there to field questions about that.

I’m really thrilled about the show. We have myself on the panel, a doctor who’s really knowledgeable about everything— Dr. Tiffanie [Davis Henry]—and Heather [McDonald] and Marissa [Jaret Winokur] are there to keep it really funny. We’re ready to rock. (See all the hosts’ bios below).

This question is a reader submitted question—Lauren Lola asks: What do you think is the most fascinating thing about sex?
I think it’s just so personal and it’s private. And what I think is most important about sexuality is your own relationship to your own [sexuality]. I think sexuality is always brought up in context of relationships but in truth, the sex life that you have with yourself is way more important than anything you would have with somebody else. The meaning of women’s sexuality is always kind of in relationship to men, or has been historically, but I want to separate that and make it about the individual and make it about establishing that connection with yourself, which I think builds a lot of self-esteem, it builds a lot of trust in our own bodies. That’s my goal, is to help women establish a better relationship with their own sexuality.

Could you talk about your other show, your standup comedy show?
My standup comedy show, I’ll be filming the special for it at the Gramercy Theatre in March. It’s a really a show that is about the way that there’s a rising tide against women, violence, there’s an incredible, terrible trend that I’ve noticed and it’s been around and it makes me really insane. The show is really about finding an answer and trying to stop it. And that anger is okay. I feel it and a lot of women are feeling it. And the show is called There’s no I in Team, but There is a Cho in Psycho.

Margaret Cho in 2010. Photo credit: Lindsey Byrnes.

Margaret Cho. Photo credit: Lindsey Byrnes.

I have a question about All American Girl. It’s been 20 years and it was a very historically significant show. Do you have any reflections on it looking back?
Well, I’m grateful to have been a part of it. I’m glad to have done it, I’m glad that it was a part of my life. I wish things that I’d done things differently, or I wish I had more control or confidence. But what’s great is that now, finally, there’s going to be another Asian American family show with Fresh Off The Boat. And that’s a show that I helped out a little bit with. I helped Eddie [Huang] out in the beginning and offered him some advice and I learned a lot from him as well. But I feel like with his show Fresh Off The Boat, my dream is realized. Like I actually set out to do something, and it finally got done 20 years later by Eddie Huang. So I’m grateful to him. I think the show is really great. I think it’s going to be a hit.

Nowadays, there are a lot of Asian Pacific American comedians doing their thing. And I think you really helped pave the way for that. What does it feel like seeing a little more diversity in standup comedy?
I’m really proud. I feel very responsible for all of them. I feel like they’re my children. Like I really feel this maternal feeling towards all Asian American comedians. I’m so proud and grateful that they are doing it. I feel like in my little part, I contributed to that. I’m so elated to have inspired people. So they can do what I did and take it so much further. And that’s the best.

Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for people who don’t fit into the mainstream? Anything you want to share with young people?
It’s great to not fit in. It’s great to be different. It’s important to be different, and I think everybody is different. Nobody is the same. We’re all individuals. Whatever you want to pursue, you should do it. A lot of times, especially with Asian American kids, we tend to put other peoples’ happiness or other peoples’ ideas about us first, which is why I think there are fewer Asian American artists because we tend to want to please our parents and please other people before we please ourselves. In truth, we can’t really do that. We have to just do our own thing and be yourself. I encourage everybody to be themselves.

I know homelessness is a big issue you care about, in part because of your late friend Robin Williams. Are there other social issues you’re really passionate about?
Oh yeah, I mean, many things. Before this, the last several years I’ve been working on marriage equality and I’m always about racial politics. I’m always about gender politics, and feminism is really important to me. Homelessness is an issue that it’s something I can directly affect in a very small way but in a gratifying way. So that’s why I’m doing this [#BeRobin] project here [in San Francisco]. I feel like what you say is one thing, but if you can actually do something to alter the situation, that’s really important.

Is there anything else—any other projects we can look forward to?
Well I think I’m going to be putting some music that will be related to the #BeRobin project. It’s like very, very connected to music to me. As well as a documentary about the events, which is really beautiful. I’ll be touring a lot, so there’s a lot of stuff coming up.

Thank you so much. Is there anything else you want to add?
No, I’m excited about this upcoming year. 2014 was really hard for a lot of reasons, you know, the loss of Robin, the loss of Joan Rivers, which was really devastating. But I feel like I’m so lucky to have known them, and so lucky to have them in my life and now it’s time to come up and parent myself. I feel kind of like an orphan but I feel really confident and strong and just proud that I got to know these great people.


All About Sex Hosts

Margaret Cho: A bi-sexual, Margaret could be called “Queen of all Media,” conquering film, television, books and theatre, with an Emmy nomination, Grammy nominations, sold-out tours, and off-Broadway and TV shows under her belt. She is also passionate about, and widely recognized for, her charitable work with gay rights and anti-bullying campaigns.

Heather McDonald: A virgin until age 27, now a overscheduled mom of three, Heather is New York Times bestseller and Chelsea Lately favorite who doesn’t hold back on anything. Her many talents also include headlining several sold-out stand-up tours and as a collaborator and writer on several Wayans Brothers films.

Marissa Jaret Winokur: She’s a mom first, and maybe a wife second – she admits that she would rather eat popcorn at bedtime than have sex with her husband. Marissa is well known as a Tony Award winner for playing “Tracy Turnblad” in the hit Broadway musical Hairspray, and as the fan-favorite on the hit ABC series Dancing With the Stars.

Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry: A premiere sex and relationship expert, based in Atlanta, GA with over 14 years of experience working with individuals and couples as a treatment provider and educator. Dr. Tiffanie’s mission has been to help people create the love and intimacy that they want. She is a regular contributor to a variety of publications and television programs.


Main image: Margaret Cho. Photo credit: Todd V Wolfson.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. This post is made possible by and is posted at Comcast and XFinity Asia.

Note: The original post mentioned upcoming shows in San Jose and Chicago, but those shows have already taken place. The post has been updated to reflect upcoming performances in Sacramento and Nashville.