Comedienne, actor and singer Margaret Cho is in Vancouver for a performance Saturday at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The show includes new standup material and songs from Cho Dependant, her new album that was released Tuesday. Cho’s five-month tour began Thursday in Portland.
Tell me about the album. What did you go through making it?
I wanted to write a comedy record that was also really good music. I thought the right thing to do was to get somebody who could really make music help me. I asked the people that I knew that were fantastic musicians. We both had an idea of how we wanted to do it. They knew better than I did about the music part, and I knew better about the comedy part. So it worked perfectly.
Who did you collaborate with?
Tegan and Sara and A.C. Newman, from Vancouver. Those are my Vancouver peeps. I also worked with Patty Griffin and Fiona Apple, Andrew Bird, Grant-Lee Phillips, Garrison Starr — all sorts of different people — Ani DiFranco, Rachael Yamagata. It was a hugely rewarding and exciting project. Everybody had a different approach to writing and it was about learning their rhythm and how they were doing it.
Is there a theme?
The reason it is called Cho Dependent is because it is about addiction. The song that I did with Tegan and Sara is all about interventions. The second song, Calling In Stoned, is about calling in sick, but you’re actually calling in stoned. It’s drugs, but it’s about addictions to people and addictions to ideas and how we are dependant on things.
Tell me about your tattoos?
I have many. I am very tattooed. I’m tattooed all over my stomach and my back and arms and my legs. I don’t have any space left actually because the acting jobs I get are very conservative and I have to cover them up. I’ve been tattooing for the past six years and I really love it. It is addictive, but I know I have to stop. There’s a built-in end because I don’t have any more skin.
A lot of your work has a message behind it, why is that important?
I’m a person who needs a message because I’m so much of a minority in so many ways. I’m Asian American. I’m a woman. I’m queer. All those different identities are very important to who I am. I definitely believe that it is something good to talk about.