My first comedy review. Despite how stilted it was. it’d be nice if this could be a thing now. There’s only one way to get better, right?
If there was any doubt to Margaret Cho’s years of experience, she put it to rest right away. In championing the success of the recent Asian-American focused sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, she blamed her own 90s sitcom All American Girl for putting Asian-American representation back a few years. With an audience now a few generations removed, they were perfect targets for a set stacked with satire of racial prejudice, sexual orientation and celebrity excess. Headlining the Toronto SheDot Festival at the Danforth Music Hall her shots didn’t just hit the mark, they killed.
Gifted with a magnetic physicality, her performance pulled the audience right to the punch each time. Whether this involved demonstrating the proper decorum for dinner on Eggplant Friday or trying to pretend you’re enjoying a meal that clearly isn’t your favourite, the result was ripples of laughter throughout the crowd. A bisexual advocate, Margaret wasn’t afraid to skew towards heavy shades of blue. Questioning the derogatory nomenclature of “faghags”, she suggested viable alternatives. The politics of a gal finding a gay boyfriend were explained, as we were taught the important technique of how to properly fart in front of rock stars.
A few names were dropped, but she picked them up without dragging on. She mentioned the difficulty of losing both her “comedy parents”- Robin Williams and Joan Rivers- last year. She shared the obstacles of continuing Robin’s devotion to the homeless, while pitching a perfect Joan Rivers impression for a truly marketable Fashion Police spin off. Not one to waste a crowd, she closed out the festival with a musical ode to the trials and tribulations of dating with plump lips.
With no dull moments, Margaret well proved her clout as the festival headliner. There was a natural flow to her set, unimpeded by a few impromptu surprises. If her jokes failed to hit their mark, you probably weren’t listening.