Margaret Cho is on Vulture’s Good One podcast this week to promote her appearance in FX’s Hysterical, the upcoming documentary on women in comedy (trailer here). During the conversation she talked about the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and also her own regrets about her “non-acknowledgment of the generation before” her. Which she came to realise because of the way the current generation of Asian comedians consistently cite her as an inspiration and recognise her role in opening up doors for them. She mentions Ali Wong and Ken Jeong who in turn are now in a position to create opportunities for others. Like Canadian comic Andrea Jin who’s just released a new comedy album, Grandma’s Girl – you can read more about Andrea here. When I interviewed her a couple of weeks ago, she singled out Ali Wong as her comedy hero. And, by the way, she loves BTS. I’ll be doing her podcast, I F****d Up with Andrea Jin next week just to talk about BTS.
Of course when we consider Margaret Cho’s legacy and the growing community of Asians in comedy, we’re seeing one of her descendants every week on Saturday Night Live in Bowen Yang, the show’s first fully Asian cast member. Which was once a dream Oscar nominee Steven Yeun had because his entry, before getting into drama, was improv. But, as he told Variety:
“I didn’t see a pathway through Second City to get to SNL, probably because there was nobody in front of me to lead the way. I was also thinking, who could I even play in popular culture that wasn’t an accented foreigner? What’s been nice about recontextualizing that moment is to see what Bowen Yang is doing now on SNL. He’s not playing a stereotype, he’s owning the multitudes of what Asian Americans can be or how Asian people are seen. I think that’s the thing that I wasn’t aware of or maybe brave enough to contend with at the time.”
When is Steven going to host SNL?! It’s time!
But, to go back to Margaret, you can see how the family tree of Asians in comedy has been growing – slowly, yes, but it’s been growing. Margaret half-jokes that these are her “children”:
“Oh, they’re all my children. I love that. I love them, and I love that they’re doing so many different things. To me it’s very alive. Comedy is a very living, breathing art form. When you can see what you’ve done translates into future generations, it’s really empowering.”
Here’s another name you’ll start hearing more and more: Atsuko Okatsuka who goes viral often and went viral again a few days ago for this tweet:
Tried to impress Grandma but she shot me down hard pic.twitter.com/kPHmmwkaQa— Atsuko Okatsuka (@AtsukoComedy) March 22, 2021
Margaret joined Atsuko on her podcast Let’s Go, Atsuko last August where they discussed one of my favourite subjects: Korean dramas!
For more on Atsuko, check out her Interview Magazine profile from last November.
To listen to Margaret on Vulture’s Good One podcast, click here.
Yours in gossip,