Emmy- and Grammy-nominated entertainer Margaret Cho has never been one to shy away from sticking up for members of the LGBTQ+ population. Her latest tour is no deviation.
However, Cho says she decided to be less blunt about the issues plaguing that community with her latest show, “Live and Livid,” which comes to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, March 2.
“It’s really indicative of this time where we have this rise in white Christian nationalism, and that’s really hideous and scary, along with the attack on drag queens,” Cho says. “Drag is really the place where, I think, in the queer community we experience a lot of joy and a lot of celebration, so that’s a very scary thing. That, along with all the racism that’s happening and the fighting for our rights to exist, there’s a lot to say.”
Because of this, her latest show focuses on the challenges and how the population will make it through these trying times.
“It’s all based on where we are in the queer community, where we are as women and as people of color who are just trying to figure out how we will survive this onslaught on our rights, on our real freedoms and on our personhood. And how do we cope with it?” she says.
Her answer to how to cope with these problems is laughter.
“Humor is a way to cope with trauma and difficult experiences with hope, and it’s always going to be a great way of coping,” Cho says. “I’m really about finding a way to find some light through the darkness of it. It’s tough, but it’s really important.”
Cho says she also believes that this is a pillar upon which the institution of comedy was founded.
“Comedy is an outsider art form, and it’s more of a proletariat art form,” she says. “(Comedy is) more just about where you’re coming from. Whether it’s from a place punching up or punching down, you always want to lift up communities that are marginalized and you want to punch down at the establishment — which I think is much more valuable.”
Cho emphasizes that her show is not exclusive to members of the LGBTQ+ population.
“We can all laugh, and we can all get into this,” Cho says. “Fighting for the rights of the queer community does not mean that you have to be queer to do so.
“The A in LGBTQIA stands for allies and allies are essential to our survival.”
Cho says she strives to maintain a balance between being comedy and serious issues.
“It’s always about trying to find that balance, because I’m still an entertainer, and it’s still about laughing, which is essential to life,” she says.
The intimate Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts allows her to have these conversations and forge a bond with her audience, she says.
“It’s so important to have that community, and it’s so important to have that connection,” Cho says. “I really love it, and I think it’s really necessary for me. … Especially now as an older person where comedy is really exciting and still challenging, I’m really thrilled to be able to still do it.”
Through her show, Cho wants to spark activism and build a sense of community while inspiring fans.
“I just hope they find hope and a sense of renewal that they can take on whatever is happening and we can survive as a queer community,” Cho says.
Margaret Cho: Live and Livid!
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2
WHERE: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second Street, Scottsdale
COST: Tickets start at $39