"[The joke] crawls inside the stereotype. It is like a fortune cookie"
In an NPR interview, Margaret Cho discussed her comedy about Asian women and their relationship with white men.
NPR played a clip from Cho’s comedy stand-up titled Fresh Off The Bloat to a live studio audience – a third of which “laughed comfortably” whilst the rest “looked around to see if it’s ok”.
Explaining the joke, Cho said it’s a commentary on social value from her perspective.
“I think as an Asian American woman, we’re really fetishized by white culture and white men in particular,” she said. “And so there’s this thing that we sort of gain power through having relationships with white men.”
“And that kind of thing is like … our own value pales in comparison to the value of whiteness. So that’s really what the joke is trying to say and trying to talk about.
“[The joke] crawls inside the stereotype,” she added. “It is like a fortune cookie.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Cho highlighted the importance of challenging comedians, which will result in an improved society.
“I think you have to be adaptable. Like, I think that it’s really great to be challenged as a comedian, and it’s really about skill,” she said. “I think that this ultimately will make our society better, it’ll make our world better, because we’ve ignored these questions for so long that it’s a good time to catch up.”
The 51-year-old comedian then discussed “cancel culture” and how she “invented cancellation”.
Cancel culture is when a celebrity is boycotted for sharing an popular opinion.
“I was cancelled in 1994, so I’m kind of safe? Like, I was cancelled so long ago, it’s like: I invented the cancellation,” she said.
“I started the cancellation. So I mean, that to me is like — there are so many factors that go into that, and so to me, it’s very fascinating. Some people are cancelled, it’s a long time coming — a real long time coming.”