Feminist comedian Margaret Cho will bring her brand of comedy to the Kravis Center For The Performing Arts this Sunday night ( 1/26/13 ). Margaret took time out of her busy schedule to do an interview with me while she was driving through the Carolinas. Here is the interview in it's entirety.
Q: Who were some of the comedians you looked up to that may have helped to shape your comedic style?
A: I have always admired Joan Rivers. I really love her. she is very strong and a great role model. I used to listen to and George Carlin. They all had such a great impact on me.
Q: Throughout various stages in your life, you have dealt with bulimia and anorexia, a problem that still today, affects many people. What advice do you have for those that are dealing with these issues and seeking advice from someone that has been there?
A: Well, I think it should be treated with the same graveness and the kind of seriousness , we should treat eating disorders with the same kind of gravitas as cancer. Because it is a disease and it can be terminal. And it's something that stays with you and eats you up from the inside. And I feel really worried about young women, especially in the world that we live in. Especially with the online culture that's directed at actresses' bodies or women's bodies - it's an all-out war. Like when made that appearance and they were saying all these things that she was fat and whatever - and I just want to shield young girls from that. I don't want young girls to look at that at all. Because they'll look at that and think, well, Jessica Simpson's gorgeous - am I like that? Is my body like that? My body's must be like that, I must be fat too...
It sends a message out there when young women's bodies are criticized in the media that we are somehow wrong, and if I can shield young women from that message and somehow protect them, that's just become my life mission of late. Because I've suffered so much from eating problems, and I almost died. It's a miracle that I didn't die. Women die every day from this. And you know - it may not be diagnosed as an eating disorder or whatever - but now, I damaged my body so much from dieting, that I have a heart murmur, I have a myriad of problems with myself physically that will probably kill me eventually. If I had carried on dieting and carried on with this insanity I know I would have died sooner, but it's really something that we need to talk about and discuss with young women and really protect them from.
Q: You are a self-proffed feminist. What is your definition of feminism, as everyone seems to have a different concept as to what feminism is?
A: Feminism is my life! It's who I am. For me, it's just a logical way to be. It's the way I approach everything. I guess I approach everything as a feminist first, and then I'm thinking about racial issues, and then I'm thinking about queer issues. So, politically that's sort of how it goes, I think, sort of the most important thing that I am. But issues come up, and other things get pressed down [laughs], my guess is. But I definitely identify as a feminist and feminism to me is like the oxygen that we breathe, it's so vitally important to life, because women ultimately make life happen, and so feminism is really a respect for living. But not to be confused with pro-life! (laughs) It's a matter of respect for life and where life comes from and what life is and to respect women's rights and to respect women's wishes and what women want. And to respect the Earth and to really respect the planet and just respect life itself.
Q:What advice do you have for the young man or woman that is seeking a career in comedy?
A: They should try it and see if they really like it. It is a really hard job, but I could not imagine doing anything else. I urge people to go for it.