Comedian Margaret Cho
Margaret Cho arrives at the Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 23. Cho is back on tour; her stand-up comedy act Mother will visit York on Wednesday, Oct. 10. (EMMYS.COM photo)

Hey, you.

Yes, you.

Margaret Cho wants to have a word with you.

Well, several words, really, but the 43-year-old actress and stand-up comedian is thinking of one in particular: "Mother."

It's the title of her new comedy tour, which stops in York for a show Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.

"I'm not necessarily a mother type, but I definitely think we just regard women as that after a certain age," Cho says in a recent interview. She comes across as a pleasant, earnest, thoughtful woman on the phone; it's on stage where she lets loose with the mature-audiences-only comedy that showcases the thoughts she's thinking about so deeply.

"I'd written some really dirty jokes and I thought it would be cool to have a show titled that, because mothers can be such a sacred thing," she says.

Cho's own mother has been a frequent presence in her comedy for years, but fans shouldn't assume the jokes in "Mother" will sound familiar.

"It's all new material and it's a lot of work, so I'm proud of that," Cho says. "I always try to be better and try to create more exciting work as I go on."

What's it about? Mothers are a jumping-off point for Cho's commentary on a number of political, social and cultural issues, but she promises "Mother" isn't a show about scaring the norms.


"I think it's pretty political, but it's also like personal and political too," she says. "It's talking about my own views and the story of my family's immigration and making it political."

For Cho, cultural and political expectations come not only from being a woman -- and not a mother -- but also from being Korean-American. In terms of gender and racial politics, it helps her remain an individual voice among big-name comedians.

"I don't know that has been a negative thing, either; it has set me apart," she says. "Your uniqueness is a good thing also."

Despite the raunchiness of the jokes, "Mother" is a show for "people who are discerning in their comedy," Cho says -- people who can appreciate nuance and navigate the personal and the political with a willingness to laugh and learn. Does it start a conversation we should all be having on important issues?

"I hope so," Cho says. "That's been my intention all throughout my work -- to bring in a different point of view and something that I haven't seen before."

The conversation is one that begins in the space between the stage and the audience, as the comedian talks to new fans on every tour stop.

"I've done a lot more interacting with the audience in the last few years, and it's something that I really love doing," she says. "I'm really looking forward to it."

Cho at the Strand

Comedian Margaret Cho brings "Mother" to York at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, in the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St., York.

The show challenges the sacred notion of motherhood, taking an edgy and untraditional view of what it means to be a mother, and is suitable for mature audiences.

Tickets are $35-$45. Discounted student tickets are $18 by phone.

For more information about the show, call (717) 846-1111 or visit

For more information about Cho, visit

Cho on her Emmy nomination

When she's not on tour, Margaret Cho is busy acting. She's a series regular on "Drop Dead Diva," a Lifetime drama now in its fifth season, and she received an Emmy nomination for her guest spot on the NBC comedy "30 Rock."

Cho did a bit of gender-bending for the show, which had her playing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and his son, Kim Jong-un.

"It was great," she says of being on the sitcom. "It's so weird to go and play a man."

Being nominated for an Emmy was "really exciting," she says. "I'm really proud, and I love the show."

The Emmy for guest actress in a comedy series ended up in the hands of Kathy Bates for her stint on "Two and a Half Men."

-- Reach Mel Barber at