Queen Margaret

By Amita Parashar

Originally published on Advocate.com July 09 2009 11:00 PM ET

Margaret Cho is on location in Georgia, which she says is a bit queer. Known for her hysterically irreverent routines -- often featuring her struggle with body image -- in her new TV series she plays girl friday to Jane (Brooke Elliott), a plus-size lawyer who has the brains but lacks the confidence to succeed in her competitive firm. In the first episode Jane dies and her body is inhabited by the soul of a vapid aspiring model. Cho's character, Teri, is responsible for guiding Jane through the discovery of her new life.

In real life Cho is constantly rediscovering herself, including a new foray into music (her band is called Fag and Hag). She discusses her homophobic gym war and why she should be Miss California.

Advocate.com:How is Peachtree City, Ga., treating you?Margaret Cho: Well, I'm a little disturbed. I have to go to the gym; I have to live here in the city. And it's a nice little town, and everybody's really nice. But at the gym I'm having a big fight, an invisible fight, with people. You know Focus on the Family, the James Dobson organization? They're really hideous. They have all the magazines out on the rack at the gym, and I think this is really disturbing. Every time I go to the gym I bring a bunch of other magazines and stack them so nobody can see them. The problem is now, every time I come back, they're all separated again. So now I go to the gym and I wear anti-Prop. 8 propaganda T-shirts or have girls making out on my shirts. So that's my own way of fighting it. That's a small problem -- well, it's a huge problem, but it's an interesting cultural situation to be out here; it's different.

April Bowlby and Margaret Cho DROP DEAD DIVA X390 (LIFETIME) | ADVOCATE.COM

Changing Georgia one gym at a time. I think so. I think so.

Tell me about the show. Drop Dead Diva is kind of a like a Freaky Friday. [The main character] wakes up in a different body. I'm really loving. I love Brooke Elliott, who's the star -- she's such a talent. It's my job to give her an assignment every week.

Is it odd to be playing such a "nice" character? Although I've been acting a long time alongside doing stand-up, I really enjoy taking a brief vacation from what I do normally.

Has Hollywood changed since All-American Girl ? Well, now there are some more Asian people on TV. There's me. And Sandra Oh. So that makes a difference.

Actually, I was really excited about the success of Slumdog Millionaire, just expanding the idea of what Hollywood is. If you look at Bollywood, it's such a huge industry, but it doesn't reach our multiplexes.

How's married life?I love married life. I've been married for a while, but I think getting married really showed me how important it was for this right to be available for gays and lesbians. After I got married, I was just so happy and I realized that was the right thing for me. Having a family was my destiny. We should be allowed to have families as queers. We should be able to have that right. I think it completes us.

Josh Stamberg, Brooke Elliott and Margaret Cho DROP DEAD DIVA X390 (LIFETIME) | ADVOCATE.COM

Did you go to Dinah Shore? I did, it was great! I performed. I didn't really get to stay very long, I had to leave right away to do a gig somewhere else.

What do you think of former Miss California Carrie Prejean?I just think she's disgusting. I really hate that she represented California in a twisted way, and it's really wrong. To me, I should be Miss California, or Mrs. California. I think it's gross that the right wing are using this dumb girl -- she's straight-up stupid. It's so pathetic that you would choose someone so fucking dumb to represent your dumb cause. To me, she's just the problem and also what their downfall is. It's a dumb argument -- it just shows how shallow and stupid their whole thing is. I come at it from straight-up disgust.

What are you watching now?I was super into watching reality last year, but I've been working so much I haven't really been watching anything. The only shows I've been focusing on are Austin City Limits and the Elvis Costello show.

And you're making your own foray into music?I've been writing songs with different people -- Patty Griffin, John Brion -- people that I really love and I've been friends with for a long time. These are great collaborators, I'll probably begin recording in November or December next year. My record is coming out next year; it's going to be half stuff I've done over the year. For example, "Eat Me Out," which I did in my show last year, is a big gospel salute to cunnilingus, which is so ridiculous. I guess it's comedy, I don't know. My hero is Weird Al Yankovic. I'm following in his impressively musical footsteps.