Margaret Cho's at it again. Notorious C.H.O., her second concert film (shot on digital video), picks up where I'm the One That I Want left off. And it's as amazing as ever to hear what comes out of this woman's mouth. Last time, she took us through her struggles with booze, drugs, body image and Asian stereotypes. This time, she zeroes in on colonic irrigations, menstruation, cunnilingus, fisting and, last but not least, that ever-elusive source of pleasure, the G-spot. "It just sounds like I'm trying to unlock my car door with a coat hanger," Cho says when recalling the elaborate instructions friends have given her for finding it.
The movie opens and closes with waves of self-congratulation ' Cho's fans (was there a straight person among them?) telling the camera how hilarious she is and how much she means to them. Not only is this pushy, it's unnecessary, because you don't have to listen to her for more than five minutes to realize that she's both hilarious and meaningful. Lots of comedians have taken us through their digestive and reproductive tracts as a means of shocking and amusing us. But Cho has a way of connecting her fantastic voyage with the journeys the rest of us are on. I mean, who can't identify with being fisted by an exceptionally short lesbian?
Cho does such a wonderful job of pantomiming this particular sex act that you can imagine Richard Pryor wishing he'd thought of it first. Like Pryor, Cho finds the fault lines between expression and repression and then goes after them with a jackhammer. After paying lip service to Sept. 11 and its aftermath, she mentions that she spent a lot of time in New York this year, "giving blow jobs to rescue workers." (Lip service, indeed.) And she has a very funny spiel on what it would be like if men had periods. Although Gloria Steinem got there first, Cho makes it all her own. "They would be using old socks, coffee filters," Cho says about her blood brothers, "and their apartment would look like a murder scene."
Although she has a tendency to repeat punchlines, Ã la Jay Leno, Cho gets laugh after laugh by first setting us up with a serious discussion of, say, gay marriage and then knocking us over with a line like the following passionate declaration: "We need to recognize that a government that would deny a gay man bridal registry is a fascist state." Though a het-leaning bisexual, Cho identifies totally with gay men, claiming to have learned everything she knows about sex from them. "I don't know if I'm a bottom because it turns me on or because I'm lazy," she confesses, a comment that should reverberate in same-sex bedrooms all over the country. As for Cho, she may be lazy in bed; on stage, she's a real tiger.