Eric D. Snider

Notorious C.H.O.

Movie Review

Notorious C.H.O.

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: A-

Released: July 3, 2002

 

Directed by:

Cast:

Fans of comedienne Margaret Cho will find it no surprise that her latest concert film, "Notorious C.H.O.," is candid, earthy and gloriously funny.

Her very first joke relates to her post-Sept. 11 activities and cannot be printed in a PG-rated newspaper. From there she tells one hilarious story after another, most of them dealing with sex, sexuality or sexiness. Or some combination of the three.

She professes a fondness for gay men, by whom she has always been surrounded and who make up a large part of her cultishly enthusiastic fan base. She also has a witty disregard for straight men, except as sexual objects; her withering impression of how men would act if they had menstrual cycles is hysterical and insightful. ("They would NEVER stop talking about it" is her thesis.)

Her signature bit is her impression of her Korean-born mother, whom we see in clips before the show begins: Yep, it turns out, Margaret's impression is dead-on. She also derives considerable glee from revealing family secrets and telling stories that the other parties have asked her not to tell.

It's all part of her don't-give-a-damn persona, and her casual delight in busting taboos and defying expectations. That her language is so vulgar stops being shocking after a while, but one never stops noticing how different she is from what the stereotypes tell us about Asian women and female comics. She is at the top of her game, and this show, with all its underlying pain and overlying comic flair, is documentary evidence of that.

Grade: A-

Rated R, very frequent harsh profanity and abundant graphic sexual dialogue.

1 hr., 35 min.

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