Korean-American comedian Margaret Cho vividly recalls performing her stand up routines above her parents bookstore at age 17. Since then Cho has taken her comedy too much higher levels and translated that talent to the big screen as well as television. With her distinctive style and powerful wit Margaret has a tremendous effect on audiences by stimulating their thought process and more importantly making them laugh. When it comes to stand up, Margaret has never been one to stand still. She is constantly working on her performance and she is currently in the middle of a large-scale tour appearing in clubs and theaters around the country. Amidst her hectic tour schedule, Cho has also recently co-starred in John Woos action thriller "Face Off" which also stars John Travolta and Nick Cage.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Margaret Cho would later derive a good deal of material from her upbringing as a second generation Korean-American raised in a somewhat liberal, yet religious household. "My father writes Korean books like 1,001 Jokes for Public Speakers-real corny stuff, says Cho, whose grandfather, a Methodist minister, ran an orphanage in Seoul during the Korean War. Her parents encouraged her to learn voice, dance and piano, but stopped short of endorsing her foray into childrens theater at age thirteen. Undaunted, Cho pursued the theatrical life and armed with an Ophelia soliloquy from Hamlet, auditioned and gained admission to San Franciscos arduous High School of the Performing Arts. Although Cho perceived little overt racism at the institution, "I was never the star of any productions, I was always the Danny Aiello type."
That stereotyping became more defined for Cho after her matriculation into San Francisco State Universitys theater program in 1988, where she soon found roles limited for Asian performers.
She had hoped to continue her acting studies at Julliard or Yale, but instead her frustration led Cho to be Rose & Thistle, a comedy club built, coincidentally, on top of her parents bookstore where Cho worked part-time. "On my break I would go upstairs and do a set", she recalls. "My parents were less than thrilled."
In 1991, after honing her act at such San Francisco comedy houses as The Improv, The Punchline and Holy City Zoo, Cho became the west coast division champion of the U.S. College Comedy Competition and found herself on the bill in Daytona Beach with Jerry Seinfeld, who encouraged Cho to continue writing solid material and refining the uniqueness of her act. Eventually relocating to Los Angeles in 1992, Cho began to accumulate television credits on A&Es "Evening at the Improv", Foxs "Comic Strip Live", MTVs "Half-Hour Comedy hour", "VH-1 Comedy Spotlight", Lifetimes "Six Comics In Search of A Generation," NBCs "Bob Hope Special" and that most coveted of talent shows, "Star Search". In 1993, Cho was the most-booked comedian on the college circuit, touring to over 200 colleges and leading to a nomination as the Best Campus Comedian by the National Association of Campus Activities. She won the 1994 American Comedy Award for "Best Female Stand-Up" and was named Hot Stand-Up by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Fall of 94 Cho made history as the first Korean-American to star in her own sitcom. ABCs "All American Girl" focused on the generational and cultural conflicts between Margaret and her traditional Korean family. Chos other television credits include her brilliant 1994 HBO 1/2 Hour Comedy Special, which received a Cable ACE Award nomination for Best Comedy Special, Showtimes "A Pair of Jokers" in which Cho shared the stage with Bobby Collins, host of the Lifetime special "Girls Night Out" and a cameo role in a Robert Townsend pilot. Where as Margaret is already a highly regarded veteran of comedy, she has made countless appearances on every network stand up show as well as The Late Show with David Letterman and NBCs The Tonight Show. Chos voice has also been heard on the animated series "Itsy Bitsy Spider" as well as HBOs recent adaptation of "The Princess and the Pea" for "Happily Ever After; Fairy Tales for Every Child" a series of ethnically diverse animated fairy tales, in which Cho was the voice of the Queen, Uh-Muh-Ni.
Chos recent film projects include a leading dramatic role in writer/director Randal Kleisers gay-themed feature film "Its My Party", starring Eric Roberts. In this MGM release Cho plays the best friend of a man who discovers that he is dying of AIDS (Roberts) and throws a party for himself. Margaret also stars alongside Janeane Garofalo in "Sweethearts" which was the toast of last years Sundance Film Festival and is scheduled for nation wide theatrical release this summer. Additionally, Cho delivers a seem-bursting performance as a deranged karaoke club owner in the Linda Perry production of "Pink as the Day She was Born". On as equally a comedic ground, Margaret took to the streets of South Central LA where she portrayed a Chinese exchange student in the hysterical "Fakin D Funk".
With her first taste of stardom, Cho is now living out a few of her best-kept childhood fantasies. "Everybody in high school was so outgoing and precocious. I was the quiet kid who never fit in to any cliques", recalls Cho who recently joined the Camelot of comic orders, the Friars Club, where she takes great pleasure in smoking a stogie (and maybe even splitting a reuben) with such comedy legends as Milton Berle, a fan of her work. Margarets work can now be heard on her newly released comedy CD entitled "Drunk With Power" available on Uproar Records.