Actress/Musician/Comedian Margaret Cho is set to release her second music album titled “American Myth” on April 29th. The album is the follow up to her 2010 debut release “Cho Dependent” which help add musician to the artists already impressive skill set. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Margaret recently about the new album, her current project with Amazon.com and about just what happened at The Stress Factory on March 26th.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on your new music album “American Myth”
Margaret Cho: I always write music as it’s something I enjoy and is a part of my life. I worked on a majority of the album with Garrison Starr who is a really great artist and someone I have worked with before. She came down to right with me while I was living in Atlanta and I also had a few sketches of songs that I had done on my own. This is the first record where I actually did all the melodies and composed the pieces. I had never done that in the past which made things really exciting. I think the album is really beautiful.
AL: A lot of the song lyrics seem to be very personal. Can you tell us about writing from that perspective?
MC: A lot of the songs on the album deal with loss and compassion. They deal with a lot of human emotions. The songs are very anthemic as I appreciate a good rock anthem. I also did a memorial song on this album titled “Anna Nicole” which is about Anna Nicole Smith. We recently shot a video for this song as well which feature a variety of Anna Nicole impersonators running around a castle. This will be the third video for a song off the new album as I also did videos for “Come With Me” and “Kill My Rapist”. It was a lot of fun running around a castle filled with hundreds of Anna Nicole impersonators.
AL: What was it about releasing a music album that was more appealing than say a new comedy album from your recently aired comedy special?
MC: The stand show album will be coming out as part of the DVD release of the special. That’s something that will generally always come out. The music album is a very different undertaking. It is something that is very personal to me. Stand Up comedy is also very personal but music is a different part of my work.
AL: Over the past few years you have become very involved with bringing attention to homelessness in various cities here in the U.S. Can you tell us how you got involved in that?
MC: The “Be Robin” events are kind of a way for me to honor the life of Robin Williams and to be an advocate for the homeless population. We have events going on all the time in lots of different cities. I can’t always be at the events because of my schedule but we try to have them whenever I have the chance. They end up just being these big, crazy, fun events. There is actually a documentary about this as well which has been sort of a way for us to bring closure to the grief caused from his passing.
AL: What other projects are you currently working on?
MC: I am working on a pilot for Amazon right now called “Highlands”. The show is a comedy/drama about an Asian-American family involved in the marijuana business. I am working with Liz Sarnoff who has worked on “Lost” and “Deadwood”. She is a real genius. We just finished the script and start shooting soon. Everyone at Amazon has been really wonderful as they let the artist be themselves. They have really given a lot of creative freedom to the project which I feel has been priceless.
AL: You have quite a few live dates lined up can you tell us about those and also give us an update on the recent incident that occurred during your show at
MC: I will be in Detroit during the middle of April and then in Nashville at the beginning of May. As for what happened recently at the Stress Factory Comedy Club I speak about a lot of personal things in my shows. I talk about rape and sexual abuse because I feel it’s important to discuss those things. We are living in an age where as a survivor you don’t have to stay silent. That sometimes can be very confrontational to people and an audience. It can be very upsetting. Some jokes are meant to make you laugh while others are to make you think. As comedians we try to wake people up so there is this weird thing when people get angry but that’s part of the great arc of comedy. I am going to be going back to the Stress Factory for a makeup show with those who were there. I want to do a reenactment of what happened and talk to the audience members about why they got upset. (Laughs) It would be fun to bring in Dr. Phil to moderate. I love comedy so much and don’t want to hurt it or the Stress Factory as it is a really important venue in that it’s an independent club owned by comedians. The place is like a dojo and holy to me so I want to invite everyone back and to work this out. We will buy them dinner and drinks and allow them to have a conversation with one another. I think it could be very funny.