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Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho

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Also Known As: Moran Cho Died:
Born: December 5, 1968 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: San Francisco, California, USA Profession: comedian, actor, bookstore clerk, retail salesperson

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An acid-tongued performer who often let loose her rage at conservative politicians, gay bashers and anti-feminists on stage, Margaret Cho still managed to endear herself to audiences through her deeply personal stories. She rose to fame as a loud, brutally honest comic who shattered the mediaâ¿¿s stereotypes of Asian women as polite, bow-scraping servants, and whose style and presence was once compared to comedy icon Richard Pryor. The comedienne would go on to star on the short-lived series "All-American Girl" (1994-95), a harrowing experience she recounted in her concert film, "Iâ¿¿m the One that I Want" (2000). The show was the first in a series of many sold-out performances showcasing Choâ¿¿s raunchy, in-your-face riffs about sex, bodily functions, ethnic myths, drag queens, and more. Beginning with "Notorious C.H.O." (2002), her stand-up acts tackled more political issues, but the one theme that always garnered the most laughs was Choâ¿¿s hilarious impressions of her Korean mother. Choâ¿¿s second foray into network television was more successful; she starred on the reality series, "The Cho Show" (VH1, 2008), and was a regular on Lifetimeâ¿¿s hit comedy, "Drop Dead Diva" (2009- ). In 2010, Cho...

An acid-tongued performer who often let loose her rage at conservative politicians, gay bashers and anti-feminists on stage, Margaret Cho still managed to endear herself to audiences through her deeply personal stories. She rose to fame as a loud, brutally honest comic who shattered the mediaâ¿¿s stereotypes of Asian women as polite, bow-scraping servants, and whose style and presence was once compared to comedy icon Richard Pryor. The comedienne would go on to star on the short-lived series "All-American Girl" (1994-95), a harrowing experience she recounted in her concert film, "Iâ¿¿m the One that I Want" (2000). The show was the first in a series of many sold-out performances showcasing Choâ¿¿s raunchy, in-your-face riffs about sex, bodily functions, ethnic myths, drag queens, and more. Beginning with "Notorious C.H.O." (2002), her stand-up acts tackled more political issues, but the one theme that always garnered the most laughs was Choâ¿¿s hilarious impressions of her Korean mother. Choâ¿¿s second foray into network television was more successful; she starred on the reality series, "The Cho Show" (VH1, 2008), and was a regular on Lifetimeâ¿¿s hit comedy, "Drop Dead Diva" (2009- ). In 2010, Cho showed off her dancing skills on ABCâ¿¿s popular series "Dancing with the Stars" (2005- ), and took her act on the road with "Cho Dependent," another gut-busting concert tour from one of comedyâ¿¿s most talented, inspirational and fearless performers.

Moran Cho was born on Dec. 5, 1968 in San Francisco, CA. The daughter of Korean immigrants, Cho had a very colorful childhood and adolescence growing up on Haight Street in the 1970s. At 16, she started doing stand-up at The Rose & Thistle, a comedy club located above her parentsâ¿¿ bookstore, and became a fixture on the San Francisco comedy circuit, traveling with and befriending fellow acerbic comic, Janeane Garofalo. Shortly after, Cho won a comedy contest where the first prize was opening for comedian Jerry Seinfeld. After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1990s, Choâ¿¿s fan base multiplied, boosted by appearances on late-night talk shows and comedy specials such as "Bob Hope Presents the Ladies of Laughter" (NBC, 1992), "Late Show with David Letterman" (CBS, 1993- ), and "HBO Comedy Half-Hour" (HBO, 1994). Choâ¿¿s stand-up act was increasingly centered on destroying ethnic myths, particularly the mediaâ¿¿s portrayal of Asian women as meek, humble and polite. On stage, the self-possessed Cho was loud but not obnoxious, and crude without being vulgar. Mainstream audiences were just starting to get a taste of Choâ¿¿s humor when she began starring on her own series, "All-American Girl," the first sitcom to feature an all Asian-American cast.

ABC touted "All-American Girl" as based on Choâ¿¿s own life and stand-up routine, yet it ended up promoting the very same stereotypes she sought to tear down. Cho starred as a rebellious college student living at home with her conservative Korean parents (Jodi Long and Clyde Kusatsu), her brother (B.D. Wong), who works as a doctor, and her grandmother (Amy Hill), a grumpy old woman who keeps reminiscing about living in Korea. To play the TV version of herself, the network reportedly forced her to lose weight. Cho starved herself, and became addicted to diet pills and alcohol in order to get thin for the pilot episode. The ill-fated show also failed to represent Choâ¿¿s raucous, often blue humor, because it was watered down for mainstream consumption. After airing only 19 episodes, the network canceled the series, but Cho continued to struggle with the addictions brought on by pressure to look good on network TV. She eventually kicked her addictions and appeared in a number of films including "Itâ¿¿s My Party" (1996) as the friend of AIDS patient Eric Roberts, the comedy "Fakinâ¿¿ Dâ¿¿ Funk" (1997), and John Wooâ¿¿s action thriller "Face/Off" (1997) with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage.

Cho unleashed her pent-up rage and frustration stemming from her "All-American Girl" experience in the no-holds-barred concert film, "Iâ¿¿m the One that I Want." Recorded at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, the show was ripe with Choâ¿¿s candid accounts of being forced to work with a consultant on how to act "more Asian," her extreme weight loss, and addiction to drugs and alcohol. Some of Choâ¿¿s funniest material came from imitating her motherâ¿¿s reaction as she opened up boxes of gay porn at the bookstore they used to own. Cho, who once dated musician Chris Isaac and director Quentin Tarantino, earned rave reviews for her second concert film, "Notorious C.H.O.," where she addressed the September 11 terrorist attacks, and went on extended rants about her sexual escapades. Her third sold-out performance, "CHO Revolution" (2004), showcased Choâ¿¿s comic physicality â¿¿ cheeks puffed out, eyes crinkled, and her mouth curling into a little smirk as she delivered her monologues. Cho brought the house down with her witty stories, including her experience on an airplane with a steward who offered "Asian chicken salad?" to all of the passengers, until he got around to her and, looking unsure, offered "chicken salad?" In her next concert film, "Margaret Cho: Assassin" (2005), the comedian served up her usual raunchy, drug-induced sex stories and body image issues, but also condemned the U.S. government for its conservative social policies, a running theme through all her work, along with her commitment to fight homophobia, sexism, racism and other social inequities.

In 2008, Cho starred on the reality series "The Cho Show" (VH1), a semi-scripted show featuring her parents and an eccentric group of friends as they navigated a series of outrageous adventures, including hosting their own beauty pageant and fending for themselves in the wilderness. Plenty of hilarious moments ensued, like the time Cho â¿¿ who appeared naked in every episode as a statement to her "All-American Girl" producers â¿¿ considered a variety of cosmetic procedures as she approached her 40th birthday. In 2009, she starred on Lifetimeâ¿¿s hit comedy, "Drop Dead Diva," which explored the events after an after-life accident transports the soul of a clueless fashion model into the body of a shy, overweight attorney (Brooke Elliott). Cho played the lead characterâ¿¿s personal assistant who always keeps her on track while she deals with her new life as a curvy woman. That same year, she tackled body image issues in her concert film, "Margaret Cho: Beautiful," by sharing her own story of self-acceptance. In 2010, she kicked off her concert tour, "Cho Dependent," which coincided with the release of her comedy album of the same name, and featured laugh-out-loud songs about sex, drugs, rock & roll and lice. That same year, she joined the cast of "Dancing with the Stars," along with singer Brandy, actress Florence Henderson, and former NBA star Rick Fox, among others. She went to deliver an hilarious guest starring turn as an incognito Kim Jong-il â¿¿ the dead supreme leader of North Korea â¿¿ on an episode of "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006- ), which earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2012.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Call Me Lucky (2015)
2.
 Undateable John (2014)
3.
 White Frog (2012)
4.
 Cho Dependent (2011)
5.
6.
 I Am Comic (2010)
7.
 Snake, The (2009)
8.
 17 Again (2009)
9.
 One Missed Call (2008)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1979:
Changed her first name from Moran to Margaret at age ten
:
Encouraged by her parents to study voice, dance and piano
1981:
Began performing in children's theater at age 13
:
Auditioned for admission to San Francisco's High School of the Performing Arts by performing an Ophelia soliloquy from "Hamlet"
1989:
Began performing stand-up comedy at Rose & Thistle, a club above her parents' bookstore
:
Performed in the San Francisco comedy houses, The Improv and The Punchline
1991:
Moved to Los Angeles
1991:
Named West Coast Division Champion of the US College Comedy Competition
1991:
Launched her stand-up comedy career with a stint on "Star Search"
1992:
Made TV debut in the CBS short-lived spin-off, "The Golden Palace"
1992:
Appeared as one of "Six Comics in Search of a Generation" (Lifetime)
1992:
Appeared on the NBC comedy special "Bob Hope Presents the Ladies of Laughter"
1993:
Featured in the Showtime comedy special "Pair of Jokers: Margaret Cho & Bobby Collins"
1994:
Headlined the cable showcase, ""HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Margaret Cho"
1994:
Spoofed CBS news anchor Connie Chung on "Tonya: The Battle of Wounded Knee," a segment of the Julie Brown special, "Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 Women"
1994:
Made feature debut in "Angie" starring Geena Davis in the title role
1994:
Starred in the ABC sitcom, "All-American Girl," becoming the first Asian-American to have the lead role in a sitcom
1996:
Appeared in the AIDS-themed feature "It's My Party"
1997:
Appeared opposite John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in the action drama "Face/Off"
1999:
Made New York theatrical debut with the Off-Off-Broadway show "I'm the One That I Want"; filmed for release in 2000
2001:
Toured with new comedy show "The Notorious C.H.O."
2001:
Guest-starred on an episode of HBO's "Sex and the City" as a fashion show director
2002:
Released her live concert film "The Notorious C.H.O." in theaters
2003:
Received a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album, for <i>Revolution</i>
2005:
Headlined (also produced) the live concert film "Margaret Cho: Assassin"
2005:
Wrote first feature, the low-budget comedy "Bam Bam and Celeste"; shared writing credit with with friend and co-touring act Bruce Daniels; film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival
2007:
Hosted the summer's True Colors Tour with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry and Erasure
2008:
Returned to series TV as the star of VH1's "The Cho Show"
2009:
Appeared in the comedy "17 Again," starring Matthew Perry and Zac Efron
2009:
Co-starred opposite Brooke Elliott on the Lifetime comedy series "Drop Dead Diva"
2010:
Joined the 11th season of Dancing with the Stars" (ABC) as a contestant
2010:
Earned a Grammy nomination for her comedy album, <i>Cho Dependent</i>
2014:
Appeared on "Sullivan & Son"
2015:
Landed a supporting role in "Tooken"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

School of the Arts High School: San Francisco , California -
San Francisco State University: San Francisco , California - 1988

Notes

Her Web site is at www.margaretcho.com.

"I've seen people at my shows that used to beat me up as a kid, because I was a terrible misfit. Now I'm so vindictive, and it's a joy. The people who took my lunch money are now paying to hear me talk about them on stage. That's the best." --Margaret Cho in Los Angeles Times, January 1, 1994.

"Cho has also become a permanent fixture at Disney's Epcot Center exhibit 'Innovations' with Bill Nye, The Science Guy. She plays the Cloud of Uncertainty." --From ABC PR for "All-American Girl"

"What Asian role models were there when I grew up? There was that lady who said, 'Ancient Chinese secret, huh?' And there was that show 'Kung Fu.' But they should have called it 'That Guy's Not Chinese.'" --Margaret Cho quoted in Rolling Stone, May 19, 1994.

"I don't think I am because I cut my own hair. And I do it really bad-with kitchen scissors. I won't go to a salon. I mean of all people, I should be going to a salon! All of the gay men i know scold me time and time again. But I think it's an incredible thing to be considered [a diva] and I'm honored. I just don't think I'm a very good one." -- Margaret Cho on being considered a diva Entertainment Weekly August 2, 2002

"I think L.A sex clubs are stylish. They've become so surburban now that, like surburbans homes, they serve really good food, from home-baked chocolate chip cookies to cornbread."--Cho Movieline September 2002

On the best pick up lines... "I think its very appealing when people relate to each other with honesty and respect. Of course, that's also how you get the most action."--Cho Vibe October 2002

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Scott Silverman. Comedian. Homosexual; Cho calls him her "partner in life".
companion:
Chris Isaak. Singer, actor. No longer together.
companion:
Garrett Wang. Actor. Wang disputes Cho's claims that they were a couple.
companion:
Quentin Tarantino. Director. No longer together.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Seung-Hoon Cho. Former bookshop owner, journalist, author. Born c. 1939; came to US in 1964 as a colege student; writes a newspaper column in Seoul, Korea; writes joke books.
brother:
Hahn Earl Cho. Younger.

Bibliography close complete biography

"I'm the One That I Want" Ballantine

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