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June 22, 2004
Margaret Cho: The Funniest Human Being in the History of the Universe
There is an entire cottage industry of not-funny comics. These are comics -- often female -- who are simply not funny at all, but who subsist on "clapper" material, material which is not actually funny but the sentiment of which is approved by the left-wing audience and thus garners appreciative, You Tell 'Em Girlfriend claps.
It's pretty easy to get claps. It's hard to get actual laughs. So some not-funny comics just specialize in the former.
The Clapper Hall of Fame contains such luminaries as Judy Gold, Jeneane Garafalo, and of course the reigning Queen of Courtesy Claps, Margaret Cho.
The leftist douchebag writing the article seems to hint that in fact Margarat Cho is not-funny with this near-admission:
The funniest part of a Cho gag is neither the setup nor the punch line, but that in-between moment when the audience is left in suspension, wondering what kind of character will emerge to take over her voice and body.
Ah. So the best part of a Margaret Cho show isn't when she's actually talking or telling jokes. It's when she's got her mouth shut, and you're filled with the tantalizing hope that This joke might actually turn out to be funny.
Then she tells the joke, and the frisson of comedic promise is dashed, dashed and shattered like a ceramic bong dropping to the floor out of Andy Dick's drunkenly-gesticulating hands.
Talk about damning with faint praise. The best part of 95% of movies is the opening credits, when you're filled with anticipation that this might actually be an enjoyable, smartly-made movie. And then the actual movie begins, ruining everthing.
But Margaret Cho is going with what works for her:
With each successive tour, Cho extends the length of these liminal moments, and a viewer new to her comedy will no doubt think, "Jeez, this woman's timing is really off."
If I had her act, I'd extend my periods of absolute silence as well.
Thanks, sort of, to Martin, who tipped me to the latest leftist praise of Margaret Cho's splendidly humor-free act. First I have to read about the imminent threat of nuclear terrorism, then I have to read that Margaret Cho is still slaying them in San Fransisco and Key West.
Thanks, guys. I think I'm going to duck into the garage and hang myself now.
Update: The admissions continue:
A disquisition on the paucity of role models available to Asian-American women treads familiar ground ("Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond") but ends in a hilarious impression of a Japanimation character: "I don't want to model myself after Hello Kitty," Cho pouts. "She has no mouth. Hello Kitty can't even say hi back to you after you say 'Hello, Kitty!' "
Now, I know what you're thinking: Those jokes aren't funny. In fact, I would dispute they are actually jokes at all.
The reviewer-- who, once again, thinks Cho is screamingly funny -- seems to realize that these jokes aren't funny, but tries to explain that they are hysterically funny despite being not-funny:
See? No dice. Cho's humor is not about jokes per se, and quoting her out of context, you lose the blank, puckered kitten face that makes this moment work.
Ah. Not about jokes "per se." More about making funny faces, which, let's face it, is no difficult trick if you have a face resembling Margaret Cho's.
I understand the Elephant Man will be at Caroline's next weekend. He's just going to discuss the living hell that is his life as a horrifically-twisted walking monster, but he'll be "punching it up" by occasionally sticking out his tongue and winking with his one good eye.
He also has a killer bit about the difference between dog-people and cat-people.
It Gets Better and Better:
True, Cho is increasingly subject to random bursts of hyper-sincere political monologuing ("How dare they ask you to die for your country, yet not allow you to be who you are?") that some viewers will find offensive, others courageous, and many, just plain dull.
Really? I had no idea.
Now this just plain dull comic you're talking about -- this is the one you claim to be hysterically funny, right?
But the odd soapbox rant seems a fair price to pay for 75 minutes in the company of this uniquely gifted and exceptionally honest performer, who appears to have been born to stand in front of thousands of people and speak the unspeakable: "I look at children and feel nothing," she deadpans in a subversive bit about her lack of maternal instincts. "I ovulate sand."
Yes, that is unspeakable indeed. No comic before Cho has ever stated that she despises children, especially other people's children.
I mean, it's not as if you can walk into the Laff-Shack any day of the week and find a hack comic telling the crowd that he thinks children ought to fly in the cargo compartment of a passenger jet. It's not as if Greg Giraldo, for example, does do 90% of his act about how much he hates his wife and kids and considers the travel associated with stand-up comedy to be its greatest selling point. (Giraldo is funny, by the way. I'm not calling him hack.)
Oh, no. Margaret Cho is the first comic telling her largely twenty-something, gay and/or single-and-without-children audience that she just doesn't like children and doesn't intend to have them. And it's very brave to say this to a largely twenty-something, gay and/or single-and-without-children audience, because when you tell them how much of a pain in the ass kids are, they'll get really, really angry about that. Twenty-something, gay and/or single-without-children people just adore children.
So, she's the first to boldy go down this unspeakable road. The first, at least, if you don't count W.C. Fields.
The courage that's on display here is truly inspiring.
Next up: Margaret Cho shocks America by stating without reservation that she decidedly does not enjoy the peanuts they give you on airplanes. She will then cause a national outrage by observing that you get eight hot-dogs in a pack, but ten hot dog rolls in a pack.
What. Is the deal. With that.
This Has Got to Be the Most Inadvertantly Honest Leftist I've Ever Read Update: Hobgoblin points out a line I can't believe I missed. Describing Cho's act, this idiot writes:
"...the sweaty, outsized immediacy of live performance...."
Spot fricking on.
I'm beginning to think this writer is a Republican mole. I cannot begin to trash Cho as completely as this "Cho fan" has managed.
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