Margaret Cho talks hosting the New Now Next Honors and (maybe) getting high with her mom
Margaret Cho plus drag queens are a match made in gay heaven. The comedian, musician, and Fashion Police panelist hosted the annual New Now Next Honors, which will air tonight at 10 p.m. on Logo.
Throughout the show, Cho and a panel of pop culture experts — including yours truly — will tell you all about 2016’s hottest new TV, movies, music, and fashion. Celebrity guests including Nia Vardalos and Meghan Trainor will be on hand to help celebrate. Plus, probably most importantly, gag-worthy details about Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race will be RuVealed. (Check back on EW.com for exclusive bios and photos of the new queens.) Before Monday’s show, EW caught up with Cho about the festivities and plans for her new weed-themed Amazon series, Highland.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s the craziest thing you can share about the show tonight?
I wanted to do a whole sketch about Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan with Bianca Del Rio. We’re going to do a very elaborate sketch about how I was jealous that Bianca was hosting these awards, so I arranged for her to get kneecapped by somebody. It was very dramatic. Bianca and I are old friends, so we really laughed.
You shared on Twitter a few months ago that you shaved your head. What’s the state of your hair as of the New Now Next Honors’ airing?
I’m serving you a Kris Jenner. I’m so serving Kris Jenner. It’s short hair with that mom swoop, which is what I’m thoroughly enjoying right now. When you don’t have hair, you can kind of put on any persona, as with drag. But I never thought about the versatility of it until I actually shaved my head.
So the NNNH is all about celebrating the present and future in the culture — what new developments in pop culture are you most encouraged by?
Well, what’s really encouraging is that we’re not taking any s— from white people! That’s what’s really exciting for someone who’s been about racial equality and diversity for so long. It’s just like a revolution, how people of color are dealing with what we’ve been handed. We’re not accepting racism anymore, accepting exclusion anymore.
Social media has really helped in that regard, right?
Now it’s so easy for people to have a voice, like with Jada Pinkett Smith putting out that video about boycotting the Oscars. You can put something out on social media and have it be a legitimate press release, a legitimate response. You don’t have to wait for the other channels of communication. Before, we used to have to wait. Information got disseminated much slower. Before we had to make, like, zines. Those were like the Internet of the ’90s.
You’re a surprising but fabulous choice for Fashion Police. What new perspective are you going to bring?
I embrace eccentrics, and I love originality and weirdos and people who have their own aesthetic and style. I’m an unlikely choice for a fashion critic, but that probably makes me the best choice. I celebrate the underdog as much as I can.
It’s nice to have a red-carpet expert who won’t automatically trash someone who’s doing something interesting, like a Björk type.
No, it’s the best! I wish she would make more movies so we’d see her on the red carpet more. She’s not that kind of artist — it’s a really special thing for someone like her to do red carpet. I would love to see more artists take risks and do weird stuff. My favorite fashion moment recently was probably Miley Cyrus for the VMAs this year, which was so weird. Jeremy Scott is so weird, and this weird Rubix Cube fashion is so appealing to me. It doesn’t even look like a dress. It’s the best! That’s where I will be putting my accolades — on somebody really weird and doing what they do, whether that’s Jeremy Scott or Vivienne Westwood. Those are the designers that I like.
It’s been around 20 years since All American Girl, your first TV show, and now there are plans for your show Highland on Amazon, which is a format that didn’t exist back then. Do you feel like you’ve come full circle in a sense?
For sure! I think the world is ready now, and we’re seeing different kinds of families and different representations of ourselves out there. For Korean-Americans, we continually are looking at the world through the frame of our families, because our families have such a hold on how we see everything and how we live. It seems like the right way to tell stories.
Is Highland autobiographical at all?
Parts of it are. There are definitely parts of the characters that I understand and are taken from people around me and certainly in this world of marijuana, which is a huge deal in California. You’re seeing a lot of people getting wealthy very quickly from this whole industry. It’s a story about that. It’s like the Karhashians.
It would be amazing if we got to see your mother, who’s such a character in your comedy, get high with you.
My parents told me that they smoked pot once in the ’60s and they didn’t like it. Well, I don’t think my mom will do it again in real life, but definitely in the imagining of this show we’ll do it.
It was cool seeing Amy Schumer say that you were a huge influence on her. Do you like being kind of the veteran to up-and-coming comedians?
Yeah! It’s so Korean of me, I love being an elder. I love being that ajumma — that’s totally a very Asian thing, and I really appreciate being considered the master.