Margaret Cho, Notorious C.H.O.

Like all inspired artists of stand-up comedy, Margaret Cho is an equal-opportunity egomaniac. As a bisexual Korean-American woman with an eating disorder, she presents herself as an upstart heroine of the dispossessed, yet she tweaks piety as explosively as Richard Pryor or Lily Tomlin did. She’s not a victim of anything except, perhaps, her own appetites.

In Notorious C.H.O., a concert film shot in Seattle at the end of last year, Cho, with a melodious Valley Girl voice just this side of sarcastic, goes beyond the confessional; showcasing her own follies, she’s gleefully, blasphemously invasive. For 95 often hilarious minutes, she riffs on the diciness of colonics, on straight versus gay personal ads, on how men would act if they had periods, and on the perils of a certain outré sexual practice (”I felt like one of the Muppets!”). As always, however, her greatest comic creation remains her own mother, who is brought to life as a blinkered queen of Old World innocence whose sputteringly obtuse Korean accent is like a joyful scream with hiccups.

Notorious C.H.O.
  • Movie
  • 95 minutes