Notorious C.H.O.

Notorious C.H.O.
Film review by: Witney Seibold



            There is a brief moment near the end of Margaret Cho’s new concert film “Notorious C.H.O.” that can sum her up pretty well. As she is emerging from the
Seattle theater where she just finished her hysterical and insightful on-stage rant, she is greeted by a mob of her eccentric fans. Drag queens, bull dykes, fag-hags, and mama’s boys mass around her in a throng of appreciation. The expression on her face is one of surprise and exasperation. It’s almost as if she can’t believe she is loved so much.

            And so it is with the woman herself. She is smart. She is funny. She addresses sex with such frankness that it might be considered vulgar, were she not so correct. She has starred in two of her own concert films now. She is loved. Yet, she is still struggling with self-esteem. She cannot believe that she commands such a large cult. While her last film, “I’m the One That I Want,” tackled her self-image crisis head-on with real pain and biting humor, and even offered words of love and support to all fellow low-esteem sufferers, she never claimed to be cured. She is constantly struggling like the rest of us. Only she does so with a nasty joke, a funny impersonation, and a satisfied grin. It’s inspiring.

            Notorious C.H.O. is, I must mention, dirty. Since her shows revolve around self-image, most of the humor is about her body and her sex life. So she, with no aplomb, charges into stories of extreme sexual encounters and kinky experiments that would make Larry Flynt blush. Only, with her, we’re not being treated to a vicarious pornographic thrill. We’re being educated. We’re getting a light and human insight into sex that every sex-ed class in the country has been trying to capture, with no shred of success. Her stories reconnect sex to the self. It may be course language, but it’s a lesson every teenager needs.

            You may still be struggling like us all, Ms. Cho, but you can take comfort in that you have done a good job. You are loved.

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 10:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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