Elevate Difference

Margaret Cho’s Beautiful Tour

Organized by Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho’s Beautiful Tour, which began in February 2008, is still scheduled to visit a number of lucky locations throughout the United States. As usual, Cho’s brand of feminist, LGBTQ, activist, and politicized humor was hilarious, raunchy, and thought-provoking. Unlike so much of the comedy gracing television screens lately, Cho continues to infuse her comedy with cutting edge analysis of race, gender, body image, and sexuality. From uproarious imitations of Paris Hilton to advice prompted by Britney Spears lack-of-underwear-in-public fiasco (Cho warned “don’t let people take pictures of your pussy”), to a narrative about the difficulties of travelling with one’s Hitachi Magic Wand in tow, to the wonderful “Eat Me Out” song that closed the show, Cho’s humor engaged not only with contemporary popular culture, but also with pressing issues of feminist concern.

The sustained focus on the female body and body image was hardly surprising given the name of the tour. However, Cho went beyond her common refrain of “I’m so fucking beautiful,” in order to offer comedic analysis of everything from anal bleaching to tattoos. Cho often relates the story of the deejay who asked her in an on-air interview what she would do if she woke up one day and she were beautiful. Her take on this insulting question never fails to pack a punch. This time around, Cho countered the paradigm upheld by the deejay’s question, and by wider American culture, as an insidious narrative prompting not only body hatred, but also hatred of non-white bodies, non-hetero bodies, and non-normative bodies of all types.

Cho’s message about beauty is ultimately about feeling beautiful about oneself not because one is able to fit cultural norms or play to the normative gaze, but rather, because one should realize that we are all, too put it in her terms, so fucking beautiful.

Written by: Professor What If, October 7th 2008

Awesome review. I saw Margaret Cho doing her burlesque and standup in NYC. It's wonderful that she's doing so much work around body image.