Margaret Cho at Dodge Theatre: Crass Comedy for a Local Cause
by Niki D’Andrea
Phoenix New Times
Poop jokes will never get old, and they will never die. But they may never be more explosive and fresh than they were in the hands of comedian Margaret Cho, during her performance at Dodge Theatre on Saturday night.
But even better than the bowel howlers, the Korean mother imitations, and the smattering of songs was the way she made a political statement without saying much. She briefly talked about the Arizona boycott and immigration rights, but her bigger statement was donating all the proceeds from her Phoenix show to Puente and Tonatierra, two local immigration rights groups.
And she kept the audience at Dodge Theatre cracking up all the way. Not just laughing, but squealing, howling, snorting, eyes-watering, cheeks-hurtin’, ribs-achin,’”oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-she-just-said-that” laughing.
Margaret Cho’s fans are not uptight. They’re not afraid to laugh at anal sex jokes or cheer when she emulates giving a blow job. Cho does have an audience of open-minded straight people, but the gay community has made her one of its icons.
Before the show, a large, Latin man behind me turned to his friend and said, “Girl, if she comes walking down this aisle, I’m ripping off this vest and throwing myself at her.”
We lost count of the crap jokes, but one that really stood out for us was when she suddenly said, “Last week, I shit my pants.” She busted out laughing before describing the wayward turd in myriad ways, from “It was shaped like Indonesia” to “It made two-humps in my pants, like a Camel.”
She said she’d been feeling cocky that day. “Because when you’re really confident, that’s when you will shit your pants.”
Cho also invoked her mother several times, once imitating her mom trying to set up one of her friends. “This man is not good-looking,” Cho said in her mother’s voice. “But he’s very tall, so his face is reeaally far away.”
On a less humorous note, Cho announced she was donating the proceeds from her show to Puente and Tonatierra. “A lot of people are saying ‘Boycott Phoenix.’ I still wanted to come, and I decided it could benefit a good cause,” she said. “This country was built by immigrants, for immigrants, and everybody is welcome.”
After much applause, she sang a few songs from her music album Cho Dependent, and was joined onstage by opening act John Roberts for “My Puss,” a riotous back-and-forth (sample lyric: “My puss, is fine so I flaunt it/Your puss, is so old that it’s haunted”).
Her final number, after 90 minutes onstage, was the song “Your Dick,” which included a surprise appearance from the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus. Sixty men in formal black tuxes, all swaying side to side and singing behind Cho (herself wearing a glittery silver dress with a glittery red neckline), seemed oddly epic.
After the show, Cho took photos with the chorus and did a meet and greet with about 20 lucky fans — and us. We asked about her tattoos (she has several large designs all over her body), and got a brief tour of her sleeves.