Margaret Cho: Notorious C.H.O. (2002) Poster

(2002 TV Special)

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Cho vents again, and it's a hoot.
FeverDog11 October 2003
This is an edited version of what I wrote about NOTORIOUS C.H.O. when it was in theatrical release:

Last night I had a choice between this comedy and the new AUSTIN POWERS, and since I didn't feel like fighting for my seat, I decided on the unrated concert film. Good call, since I laughed my ass off at a late screening of Margaret Cho's latest politically-incorrect raunch-fest.

Hear the Cho-ster riff on Scottish gay bars, personal ads, leather slings, masters and slaves, her patriotic efforts at Ground Zero (where she lost her gag reflex), and an array of kinks inappropriate to summarize here.

And I don't know what was going on with her bosom, but it was popping out all over - I couldn't look at anything else.

Ninety percent of the show was sex, sex, sex. She talked a lot about Hollywood, her childhood and Asian culture in her previous concert film I'M THE ONE THAT I WANT, so this time she concentrated on more salacious material (like, say, how her ideal same-gender lover would help her find her G-spot and would look like John Goodman).

When asked if this was similar to THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY, I said that I'd compare it to Eddie Murphy's RAW. If you're not into its humor, it'd be so unbelievably vulgar and offensive. But if you have a affinity for jokes about oral sex, then step on up.

So, watch the video with Mom and Pop. When I saw this in the theatre, there was an animated short preceding it that urges Blacks and Asians to become friendly through their shared hatred of white people. Trust me, it's funny. (Is this on the DVD?)

8/10
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6/10
She puts on a lobster-bib and goes to town...
moonspinner5528 February 2007
Sexual truths exposed with great good humor from one of our most gifted stand-up comics, an Asian-American comedienne with more funny faces than most comedy performers put together. At times, Margaret Cho is too good (you're aware of the practiced segues into another string of jokes after a particular theme is exhausted), but when Cho gets a head of steam going, you don't want her to stop. The live audience is wildly appreciative, which only makes the pauses between punchlines longer, and occasionally she overworks or overextends a gag, but there's always something funnier waiting down the line. Cho's expressive mouth and pretty cheekbones are great equipment for mimicry, and several of her stories are fall-over hilarious. *** from ****
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8/10
Tells it like it T.I.Is
gaystereotype17 April 2003
True, she goes slowly. True, she repeats herself unnecessarily. But her truths about sex are hilarious and true. To hear it from a Korean woman is a delight. Clearly taking from the inspired Black comedic hugeness, she represents the American melting pot at its best. Her ability to make a white audience laugh at Asian attitudes towards sex is another cultural treasure. Way to go Margaret!
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Margaret Cho shines again in another concert film!
zijman-111 July 2002
I love Notorious C.H.O.!!! If you liked "I'm the One that I want" then check this one out. There's more over the top raunchy sex jokes which makes it way better than her first effort. Truly not for the faint of heart but FUNNY AS HELL!!I love Margaret's insightful jokes about sex and family. I know Margaret is known for her "Mommy" jokes but I'm glad it was kept at a minimal this time around and the ones she did use were so F&%$ing funny!! A great concert film that not only is funny but has a message from the heart. (Unzips mask) YOU GO MARGARET CHO!!!!!!!:)
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Can't remember when I laughed so hard
NRastro11 October 2002
I didn't see her first movie, and I'd always thought Margaret Cho was funny when I saw her on network TV, but nothing prepared me for this. A lot of my laughter came from pure shock value. She'd start on a topic and I'd think, "she's not really going to go THERE, is she?" -- and she goes RIGHT there.

Raunchy is definitely the word that fits, but I think what I felt was the glee that accompanies hearing taboos busted right and left. On top of that, when she chooses to get into more impassioned and serious territory, she is mesmerizing. (But don't worry -- she doesn't stay serious for long!)

Her comedy writing is solid, her delivery and timing are razor sharp, and the structure of the routine is impeccable.

I think I'll probably see this movie again in the theater while I can.
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These comments are baffling
matt_mcl15 October 2003
Okay, it was somewhat less funny than I'm the One that I Want, but that's like being stupider than Einstein. I laughed so hard I felt like I was going to herniate; and her final speech was one of the most inspiring things I've heard. Everything I want in Cho. I can't wait to see her next one.
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7/10
Fabulous as always, and even funnier than the first one
memnova5 November 2002
Be warned: Margaret Cho is not for the prim or proper. If you don't find jokes about eating pussy funny, then this movie is definitely not the right one for you. For those of us of find it totally hilarious, I guarantee her routine will make you laugh until you cry. I personally think it's funnier than the first one, but then again she does fewer impressions of her mother (ARE YOU GAY??) in this one, which is a minus.
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8/10
Honest raunch.
soanim8ed4 September 2002
Margaret Cho is raunchy. Not a bad thing necessarily especially since she is so extraordinarily honest about herself and the observations she makes about sex, relationship, family and self-love (yes, both kinds). The Notorious C.H.O. is more of a platform for her call to arms for tolerance and living without fear.

She touches on the attack on New York and at the time of the taping was probably one of the first jokes made after 9/11. And she campaigns for all people who are minorities whether based on race, sexual orientation, body type, social status, etc. to stop believing in all the ad campaigns and prejudices and start loving themselves to hilarious effect.

Unfortunately, this doesn't come close to the bravery of I'm The One That I Want. No where in Notorious does she come close to the depth of soul-searching and honest reflection of herself as she did in I'm The One, which in itself is a hard act to follow.

Notorious C.H.O. is more frivolity and less substance, but that's just fine this time around. With all the chaos in the world that Cho mentions it's wonderful to just sit back and have someone this talented keep you stitches for 90 minutes.
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Good lord!!
wumingzi17 August 2002
It's hard to give an objective review of one of Margaret Cho's shows/movies. I personally think she is a brilliant comic. Good timing, rapier-sharp wit, broadly physical in execution.

As anyone who has seen "I'm the One That I Want" can attest, she is also waaaay over the top.

So here we are with another Cho flick. As usual, it's just the audience, Margaret, and two bottles of water. As usual, the humor is grotesque. Aunt Millie not only won't get the joke, she'll leave the room in horror before you even get to the punchline. Her loss.

Did I like it better than the first? Yes, but with a caveat.

I saw "I'm the One That I Want" at home, on videotape. I saw "The Notorious C.H.O." in a movie theater, in Seattle (where the show was filmed), with 100 other Cho fans all laughing, yelling, and stomping their feet louder as the jokes got raunchier and raunchier.

Don't wait for the video. Go see it in a movie theater. The group effect is theraputic by itself. Hey, the show ain't bad either.
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6/10
A mixed bag, but definitely has its moments
lemon_magic31 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Cho needs to develop some more before she can be considered a top flight stand up performer. IMO She relies too much on the radical-underdog persona to get easy laughs and knee-jerk acclaim from minority and gay communities and not enough on timing and delivery. ("Oh, she's talking about lesbian sexual urges, honey! She's one of US, so she MUST be funny!!") And all her political and social stances are so reflexively radical-liberal and anti-establishment that she actually comes across as less of a complete person that many of her comedic contemporaries. (It's another example of that age old gay dilemma where the MOST IMPORTANT THING about a gay person is that they ARE gay...which tends to filter out almost everything else of importance about them.)

On the other hand, as a Korean woman involved for a time in the making of a Hollywood sitcom and driven by the immense pressure to anorexia, drug abuse, and near self destruction, you have to admit that she comes by her angst and anger honestly. It's hard to imagine a more unhealthy and alienating situation, and she has been very frank and candid about her experiences, none of which I would willingly endure for twice the money she was offered. So I am not overly impressed by her material or her delivery - she's not nearly as funny as she thinks she is - but I do like and respect her as a person.

Much of the sexually oriented material is far too raunchy for a younger audience...but I will say that her recounting of her mother's tale of her father's first exposure to a possible gay encounter is worth the cost of a rental all by itself. My (then) girlfriend and I repeated the punchline (with her mother's inflections) dozens of times in our casuals conversations for weeks after seeing "Notorious C.H.O.".

Worth seeing to expand your horizons a bit, but not for the easily offended or the politically or sexually conservative.
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Hilarious
GorgeousBitch29 January 2004
I saw this when it premiered a couple weeks ago on Showtime, and I loved it. I have satellite so it was shown twice. I watched the east coast premiere, taped the west coast showing, and watched the tape again the next day. The male period and her S&M bar experience were the best. I don't think I ever truly stopped laughing.
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10/10
My intro to Margaret
teddy_bear_from_texas22 April 2003
I picked up this DVD because my Fametracker friends have always raved about her brilliance. I've never seen Margaret in action before watching the DVD and I was pleased, to say the least. The only reason I wasn't guffawing was because my mom was in the next room and had already decided that this was a horrible movie for me to be watching so I couldn't act like I actually *enjoyed* it. Jeff Foxworthy's more Mommy's speed.

On the plus side, I swear my abdomen got firmer. Go me!

So yeah, go out and rent the DVD. And don't forget the grocery store short.
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Hilarious!
ajkenyon815 November 2002
I was lucky enough to see this performance at the Paramount Theater in Seattle while it was being filmed, and when I came out my stomach muscles were sore from laughing. Not something for small children to see - many of the jokes are very explicit - but the whole show is a riot. Definitely recommended for Cho fans.
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10/10
Better than the first
karen-1455 August 2002
I liked this one better than I'm The One That I Want. They're both great though. Margaret is the Richard Pryor of this generation. If you're a woman, person of color or anyone who is not a white man, Margaret may be the ONLY voice out there for us. Thank you Margaret.
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10/10
Better than the first
karen-1455 August 2002
I liked this one better that I'm The One That I Want. They're both great though. Margaret is the Richard Pryor of this generation. If you're a woman, person of color or anyone who is not a white man, Margaret may be the ONLY voice out there for us. Thank you Margaret.
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Hilarious, edgy concert film works
chris_1976_z30 July 2002
Margaret Cho broke a boundary when she became the first Asian or person of Asian heritage to have a lead in an American network sitcom and she does it again in her new concert film "The Notorious Cho." Whether it's her trip to an S&M club, her talking about getting carpal tunnel and t.m.j. at the same time (no I won't tell you how!), or a certain act involving a short lesbian, you may be taken by surprise. Her no holds barred act reminds me of the Richard Pryor concert film "Live on The Sunset Strip" as there is an element of danger in both as you never know where they may go next. Nothing is off limits. Anthrax, menstruation, her "assistance" at ground zero and the act with the short lesbian all walk a find line that may challenge the comfort zone of some. Margaret's 90 minute bawdy, no holds barred stand up routine is a riot and manages to shock at times but also can be touching. You will laugh as she describes her drag queen best friends in high school who perform on a counter top at an ice cream shop and wince as you laugh later as she describes how they have become her guardian angels in death.

Her parents are interviewed early in the film and beam with pride at their daughter's accomplishments. Fans of hers know that her impression of her mother is one of her funniest and most memorable characters and may think her candid impressions may not be appreciated by her Korean born mother. It does not appear to be the case and like any mother with a wildly talented and successful child, she is both proud and thankful. So thankful, Margaret reports, that she has been known to go into the bathrooms at venues and thank patrons for attending! Jim Carrey is know for his masterful contorted "rubber face" comedic expressions, but Margaret is his equal. Her hunched and twisted expressions are an integral part of the act as are her masterfully timed reactions. No one is better. From her self reported days as a youth dreaming about show biz and perhaps, becoming an extra on "MASH," to her stage incarnation as the one and only asian american, queerish, woman who has battled eating disorders, she provides a voice that is unique and very funny in the seemingly ever whitening, think the WB network, entertainment world.

Opening Friday August 2nd in Boston at the Landmark Kendall Square
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Laughed my stomach out! =)
Kryzak14 July 2002
I finally got to see "I'm the One that I Want" a few weeks ago before Notorious C.H.O. came out on film (I saw it live in SF last year). I actually felt that Notorious C.H.O. was a funnier show, though I'm the One that I Want was more meaningful and insightful. Margaret doesn't pause as much in C.H.O. than ITOTIW, so things flow a bit smoother. All in all, a must catch if you don't mind raunchy jokes and love Ms. CHO!
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Even better than her first film.
docmarla7 July 2002
Wall to wall laughs -- I had trouble hearing the next line sometimes 'cause the audience was still laughing at the last one. I felt as if I was actually at her concert. After the show we all kept repeating punchlines and laughing over and over. My cheeks still hurt. Don't walk in late -- there's an animated short before the film starts that also stars Margaret.
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5/10
Adequate, though disappointing.
Cinesnatch12 August 2003
Margaret Cho returns to the stand-up circuit with a filmed documentation of her 2001-2002 tour, specifically in Seattle. Though not side-splittingly funny, there are plenty of impressions (ditzy L.A. blonde, straight truck-driver types and, yes, even her immortalized mother) and personal stories (life in L.A. and her mother's camel ride in Israel) that make this somewhat satisfying. Though there isn't an overt political agenda, there is a sentimentality which lingers that I'm not normally accustomed to with Cho. It should be said, however, the leg filmed during that particular circuit was a few months after September 11th, which, unfortunately, sucked up almost every last bit of audacity in the comedy world at the time. There are some behind the scenes stuff that includes the two wonderful people that brought her into this world. 5/10
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5/10
C.reative H.umor O.mitted
JZvezda12 March 2003
Before I dice this show to ribbons I would just like to say that I am a huge card-carrying Margaretphile. Even still after seeing this. Now on with the dicing...

Beef #1-- The intro-segment was cute for about 60 seconds and then the damn thing just refused to crawl off and die. The interviews with Cho's family & friends weren't revealing enough to be interesting, nor inspired enough to be jocular. It's like, okay...we get the point already: Queens really dig Margaret Cho. Big newsflash there! The entirely overlong intro quickly becomes a tiresome chore, where instead of being amused, enlightened, or remotely interested... you just feel compelled to locate your DVD remote and pounce on the FF key. Just start the effin' show already. Yeesh.

Beef #2: Material-- Clearly the weakest she's had to work with to date. If "I'm The One That You Want" is a pair of Manolo Blahniks, then "Notorious C.H.O." is a pair of rubber slingback-wedges from a Rite-Aid clearance aisle. Raunch earns a few free laughs just for the brazen act of taking on the topic. After that, it has to earn the laughs on it's own and it just barely got a few minor chuckles from me. Perhaps it was funnier in person, it usually is.

Beef #3: Delivery-- Welcome to Margaret Cho's pause-a-thon. She never used to do this so blatantly. It's as if someone told her that the longer she pauses between each joke, the funnier the joke becomes. Uh uh. It's just annoying. And ineffective, unless the effect she's going for is built-up anticipation towards the next spectacularly-funny joke, which unfortunately never comes. So therefore, it's just ineffective and annoying. C'mon Margaret! Don't they teach that in Stand-Up 101?

LUV the box-cover though.
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4/10
Disappointing
Desslar17 March 2003
After seeing the rating on IMDB I had high expectations, but this was an uninspired performance to say the least. She can break all the "taboos" she wants (quite frankly most of them have already been shattered many times over), but one needs good jokes to succeed at stand-up. Cliched punchlines followed by long pauses made for a tedious viewing.
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2/10
very poor material
todd10077 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
i rented "notorious cho" because i enjoy stand up comedy so much. i had not had much exposure to cho before renting "notorious", but i reasoned that anyone who reportedly delves into sex with as much zest as cho does, there had to be quite a few laughs to be had. it was not even close. first, cho shows up for the concert dressed like she is going to paint her garage or give her dog a bath. we see her parents dressed very nicely giving a short impromptu interview about margaret as a child, but they seem to be the only members of the cho family who have a sense that good appearance can be helpful when doing video. i understand that cho is making a statement to deliberately be sloppy so that she does not feel she has to conform to anyone's standards but her own, but it does not work. she seems like she is going for a garafoloesque presentation, but she ends up just looking like a frumpy middle aged overweight Asian woman who is too lazy to change out of the clothes that she used to go grocery shopping in. second, cho's delivery is poor at best. she never picks a tempo to bring her audience into her stories. she talks spastically for short periods, followed by long long long long long long pauses. (im sorry, did it seem like i was adding too many "longs"? my sense dragging out a single idea is pretty close to what cho does) and she repeats her punchline over and over and over and over and over and over (if i write "and over" ten more times i can catch up with cho) finally, her material is awful. she mocks her mother with the contempt and malice that you commonly find in four graders teasing fat kids. she seemingly tells each story to mock anything and anyone that is not gay and then tries for laughs after the fact. her stories are so flat and uninspired by comedy that you understand in short order that cho is really just telling her audience stories that are developed just to make the non-gay community seem stupid and boring. like a fifth grade girl who makes herself feel better by degrading all that she is not, cho repeatedly bashes all that is not gay orientated. yeah, its that monotonous. view this only if your only other choice is "you got served"
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3/10
woof
jgj133 September 2004
yikes! very unfortunate. Worst collapse of talent since Wordsworth?

Diminished range. Diminished style. Unending pauses. Unconnected routines. Uninteresting lectures.

Actually, the jokes were unfunny in exactly the same way that the west coast is boring.

I'm pretty sure that the only way to fix this is for her to spend like five years on the island of Manhattan.

It's so bad that I began to wonder if she was ever funny. I wanted to go review the older material (which is really very very good) just to be sure...but then I stopped caring.
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4/10
Don't you have to be funny to be a comedian?
Special Kaye17 August 2003
I didn't laugh once, and I may have did a half chuckle for a split second. It's quite obvious that if it weren't for the gay community, she would not be nearly as popular. I went to an open mic night at a comedy club just a few weeks ago, and many of those comedians were 1st timers, and were a lot funnier than Cho. So if you watch a lot of stand-up comedy, or are just more sophisticated than most when it comes to humor, be prepared to see one of the worst comedians you have ever seen.
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3/10
Sold Out to Niche Audience
popgun93 January 2003
Cho is a brilliant and insightful comedienne with a remarkable history. Then, Notorious C.H.O. reveals a selling out to stay in the limelight by pandering to a freaky demented audience (clearly depicted at start of show as they enter the Paramount). Staying alive in this business is hard, and if tailoring raunch to a twisted niche fanbase is what it takes to keep a comic in the public eye, it's hard to criticize. Beats the hell out of being an extra on MASH. Somehow, though, the messages and humor could be delivered in a more broadly palatable manner. I really adore her, saw her in the Village years ago, I just feel like I'm losing her.
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