There were waves of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen clad in feather boas patiently waiting their turn to take snapshots of themselves in front of the marquee bearing the name of Margaret Cho at the Chicago Theater last Saturday evening.
After picking up the tickets at will call, a beeline to the bar became necessary; both to celebrate and calm any meet and greet-related nerves — wineteeth.com.
Our show opener was a good-humored bartender who informed us we could take anything in the theater but her. Rude! John Roberts was up next, accompanied by a table filled with wigs, each portraying a different character (ranging from his mother to Pee Wee Herman). One highlight was an impression of a lesbian reading a poem to her girlfriend (I believe her name was Running Boots, Burning Bush — something to that effect) at a spoken word event, which was followed by a fantastic impression of Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life.
Ms. Cho entered the stage wearing an assortment of spandex and discussing the trials and tribulations of being a reality television star. She may not have won best dancer, but she was voted “most pronounced camel toe. “ One might assume that the most difficult part of being a contestant on Dancing with the Stars were the grueling hours in the studio, but Margaret’s case it was sharing the experience with her mother, who insisted on being by her side throughout rehearsals, performances and numerous discussions about the poor “BOLTON MICHAEL." But really, Cho could have performed for 48 hours in a cat carrier doing only impressions of her mother and I would have left the theatre a happy camper.
There was no "It will get better" moment, but the recent violence and tragedies in the LGBTQ community certainly impacted her performance. Margaret touted the many virtues of everyday gay life, such as gay men’s ability to rollerblade everywhere and the Grindr application (which if you are out of the APP loop, is an application that tells you how many gay men are within a 50 foot radius). Cho noted how certain locales — off-Broadway performances, Inline Skate Festivals, and her shows — must make Grindr blow up from over-activity. (Side note: If you happen to be checking Grindr while someone is inside of you, do you think the APP will inform you?)
Margaret Cho has a good voice and it lends itself well to the musical variations her songs require, from country to rap. She has been coached by the folks at American Idol and admits to drinking olive oil before her shows, to coat her throat and as a bonus her butthole as well. Olive oil makes you s-t, or as Cho explains, “shoot your pants.” The show was peppered with musical comedy musings about crazy first loves: “I’m sorry I hit you with that brick, d–ks," and, of course, “My Puss," an entire song devoted to Margaret’s mother’s singing about how her "puss" has a MySpace page is pretty much a dream come true. Online now!
The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus made a special appearance late in the evening, and there was not a dry eye in the house, as they belted out “Your D–k” in unison. Imagine performing with over one hundred back up singers, decked out in khakis and polo shirts in every color of the rainbow. Dreams really do come true. Though I must say that, after learning that this is a common occurrence on this tour, my local pride felt slightly unwarranted. But, she won my heart back when she took the time to individually pose for a picture with each and every individual chorus member.
Margret’s humble nature was further revealed when she half left the stage and came back for her encore, explaining that she does not want to re-enter just to see the crowd filing out. “You guys? Hey, guys? Where did everybody go?” Don’t worry Cho Cho, we’re not going anywhere.