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Margaret Cho shares her thoughts on cancel culture in comedy

Margaret Cho
via Mythical Kitchen

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    Comedian Margaret Cho shared her thoughts on cancel culture and the power of language in a new YouTube video released Tuesday. 

    The 54-year-old comedian was on food show “Mythical Kitchen” to indulge in her dream last meal — which included a saag paneer burrito and dolsot bibimbap, among other things — and chat with chef and host Josh Scherer. During the interview, during which she also reminisced about the late Robin Williams, Scherer asked Cho about cancel culture as an Asian and queer comic. 

    Cho replied that it’s “great” since it shows people are judging comedy as “being so important.”

     We’re realizing how valuable comedy and comedians are which is why people get offended. You can’t say anything. But no, you can if you have skill around it, but you have to understand comedians have so much power because language has so much power and jokes stick in the mind. They kind of become these mantras of how we’re going to feel about society.

    She went on to emphasize that humor shouldn’t dehumanize certain groups of people. 

    When you do jokes that essentially dehumanize people or certain groups of people, therein is the problem, therein is the cut. We have marginalized communities that don’t need to be cut down, they need to be brought up. I think that also we have an acceptance around apology, or we allow people to learn. So I think it’s just worth trying to understand that language is fair and you have to be more skillful. 

    Cho concluded by pointing out that comedy is about the unexpected. 

    I think what it is, is the intent behind it. If you have this intention to explain your own point of view, I think that’s always going to be noble. The thing about comedy, you have to give it an unexpected twist. So comedy is really not necessarily what we think is funny, but what it is that we didn’t know was coming. So that’s the best way to sort of view comedy is the unexpected experience.

    The Emmy-nominated comedian and actor will kick off her “Live & Livid” tour on Feb. 18 in Vancouver, Canada, and play over 20 shows across North America, concluding in Irvine, California, in September.


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