MargaretCho was born Dec. 5, 1968 and raised inSan Francisco. “It was different than any other place on Earth,” she says. “I grew up and went to grammar school on Haight Street during the ’70s. There were old hippies, ex-druggies, burnouts from the ’60s, drag queens, and Chinese people. To say it was a melting pot – that’s the least of it. It was a really confusing, enlightening, wonderful time.”Her grandfather was a Methodist minister who ran an orphanage in Seoul during the Korean War. Ignoring the traditions of her patriarchal culture, her mother bravely resisted an arranged marriage in Korea and married Margaret’s father who writes joke books – in Korean. “Books like 1001 Jokes for Public Speakers – real corny stuff,” Cho says. “I guess we’re in the same line of work. But we don’t understand each other that way. I don’t know why the things he says are funny and the same for him.”What Margaret did know is that she didn’t love being a kid. Racing toward adulthood to escape bullying, she began writing jokes for stand up at 14 and professionally performing at age 16. Getting picked on, and feeling disenfranchised, is a subject that’s very near to Margaret’s heart. She has become a sort of “Patron Saint” for Outsiders, speaking for them when they are not able to speak for themselves. “Being bullied influenced my adult life because I grew up too fast. I was in such a hurry to escape that I cheated myself out of a childhood. I didn’t want to go to school any more, didn’t want to be around those people any more. I want to use what happened to me to help other kids.”Soon after starting her Stand Up career, Margaret won a comedy contest where first prize was opening for Jerry Seinfeld. She moved to Los Angeles in the early ’90s and, still in her early twenties, hit the college circuit, where she immediately became the most booked act in the market and garnered a nomination for “Campus Comedian of The Year.” She performed over 300 concerts within two years. Arsenio Hall introduced her to late night audiences, Bob Hope put her on a prime time special and, seemingly overnight, Margaret Cho became a national celebrity.Her groundbreaking, controversial, and short-lived ABC sitcom, All-American Girl (1994) soon followed. Oddly, while chosen because of who she was – a non-conformist Korean American woman with liberal views – the powers-that-be then decided they wanted her to “tone it down” for the show. Challenging Margaret’s feelings for both who she was and how she looked, she soon realized that though she was an Executive Producer, it was a battle she would not win. “For fear of being too “ethnic,” the show got so watered down for television that by the end, it was completely lacking in the essence of what I am and what I do.”The experience was a traumatic one, bringing up unresolved feelings left over from childhood, and Margaret developed an eating disorder as a response to criticism about her body. She was so obsessive in her goal to try to be what she thought others wanted, she landed in the hospital with kidney failure. Through out a period of self-abuse, Margaret continued performing to sold-out audiences across the country in comedy clubs, theaters, and on college campuses, working to channel her anger in to something more positive.“Drunk With Power” is Margaret’s first comedy CD – recorded live in San Francisco in 1996. The material is classic “Cho” and is reflective of Margaret’s life up to that time. In her own, unique style, Margaret is able to put a hilarious spin on those events – positive and not so positive – that shaped her life.
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