By JACKIE MOE
Media queen Margaret Cho has returned to the podcast platform after a six year hiatus and she’s inviting all of her famous (and some not-so-famous) friends to join her for fun and intimate conversations.
“The Margaret Cho” launched July 17 and has already released episodes with “Queer Eye” host Jonathan Van Ness, tattoo and makeup artist superstar Kat Von D, actress Katie Malia and TV host and comedian Michael Yo. Presented by new female-led podcast network Earios, in partnership with Acast, episodes drop every Tuesday — with 36 episodes per season.
The Grammy and Emmy Award-nominated actress, comedian, author and LGBT activist said there are no topics she will shy away from in her conversations, but her main goal is to just have fun. Cho chatted with us about her newest venture into the podcast world.
How do you feel your podcast is unique from other interview format podcasts?
Well, I really love when you get through to somebody from a different context. Like when I was younger, I would listen to my mom having lunch with her friends and I would like, crawl under the table and listen to their conversations. And all these moms were talking to each other and they were not moms in their conversation. They were talking about different things and their lives. I just think it’s really great to listen in on somebody who’s talking that’s not the part of them that you necessarily know publicly. It’s a kind of intimacy that I feel I can get with people. A lot of the guests that I have on are really good friends of mine. So I like to try to get to a different side of a personality if I can — that’s my goal.
What inspired you to launch “The Margaret Cho”?
Well, I’ve done a podcast in the past, in 2012 and 2013, and I really enjoyed it. It was a different time for podcasting, so it was a very different experience, but I always really enjoyed it and I wanted to get back to it. It’s a good way to supplement some of the other things that I do with comedy and producing and writing and putting together other things. And I listen to podcasts a lot. So it just seemed like the rational thing to kind of get into because I’ve had experience there and it’s a medium that I really avidly use as a consumer.
Do you have any podcasts heroes that you look up to?
I really love “My Favorite Murder.” Karen Kiilgariff is a friend of mine from the 1980s, you know, from childhood. So we have known each other for many, many years. And so it really is like listening to your friend talking on the phone. Like it’s like a very familiar thing. And I really love true crime, which is an interest that I’ve had all through my life. And somehow it’s kind of caught up with society, like “Armchair Sleuths,” and it gets very interesting how we can examine society through crime and how women are disproportionately suffering from crimes, especially from their partners or from abuse. And there’s so many things that you realize looking at crime statistics, crime stories and how the stories really tell a story about society. There’s another one that’s similar to my favorite record, which is “RedHanded,” a British podcast, which is also two women talking and it’s just really interesting, it’s a really good one. So those are my favorites you should check out if you haven’t.
Where do you generally record?
It actually really depends on (where I am). Sometimes I’ll be recording in New York and I’ll work in a studio there. But I’m the most comfortable recording from home. I think that’s my ideal, so I’ll probably do more from my house.
What challenges have you faced so far?
I think it’s just scheduling everybody, you know? Everybody that I want to talk to is really busy. Especially somebody like Kat (Kat Von D) or Jonathan Van Ness, who is our first guest. They’re always on the go. Kat just had a baby and they’re like getting their house ready, and then they’re like doing all of this press stuff, because she’s releasing a new shoe line. And then Jonathan is on the comedy tour and also filming “Queer Eye” and of course “Game of Thrones” just ended. So there was like so much activity on both of their parts; so it was hard to figure out when we could do it. So actually sitting and talking, that time is precious and I think that’s sort of reflected in the show. We make a lot of sacrifices so we actually can get together and talk. So it’s a nice thing that we can use it in the podcast.
Since you’re being recorded for a large audience, does it feel like someone else is in the room with you when you are having these one-on-one casual conversations?
There’s certainly something to that, but also as a comedian that’s something we’re always kind of really conscious of. Especially nowadays with the way that we talk about comedy and we talk about jokes, you kind of have to be very careful or really sensor what you’re doing or saying. I feel like that’s sort of naturally there in comedy. Just kind of thinking about what is being said and what that would reflect on, and the impact of that; it’s just something that you’re conscious of I think.
What do you hope to achieve with your podcast?
I think that I just want to have something that I would like to listen to, you know? That I would really be interested in. It’s sort of like paying it back for all of the times that I have really been entertained by podcasts. Just to be able to throw my own hat into the ring with my own perspective; I think it’s really fun. So that’s kind of my goal. I want to participate in this world and make something that you can listen to for several hours a day.
Do you ever listen to your own podcasts?
Yeah and it’s funny because it’s like, I’ll be listening and then hear something and be like, “Oh god, I forgot that.” Like I really do forget! And then I have a lot of them from the first podcast I did that I really, really like but I completely forgot about. There’s so many things that I remember later after listening to it. So it’s really fun.
I cringe when I have to hear my voice on recording, so I’m always curious if podcasters listen to their episodes and if they feel the same way.
Oh, I know, I hate my voice. It’s so annoying and embarrassing, but then you’ve got to get over it because you’re putting it out. So yeah I know exactly that feeling. I hate, hate, hate it. But it’s like you sort of have to get over it, because no matter what, you have to listen to make sure it’s right. You know? But yeah, it sucks. (laughs)
What has been your most memorable moments so far?
I think it’s just like being able to just witness the rise of Jonathan’s career and being a part of it, and helping him along the way. You know, he’s really special and that for me has been really fulfilling. So I think that’s really remarkable. We just really got started. So we have lots of episodes still that need to be recorded that are coming in. Lots of guests that I’m really excited about. So I’m really, really thrilled about that.
Any future guests in particular that you’d like to share?
Yes! I’m excited, we’ll be doing Quentin Tarantino and Diablo Cody, and Amy Landecker from “Transparent” who I love. And so there’s so many different people coming on that I’m really thrilled about that. So diverse. Oh, and Trixie Mattel, which is great. I love Trixie. It’s just all really exciting. I love it.
Episodes can be found on Apple, Stitcher, Acast, Spotify or wherever you subscribe to podcasts. Listen here to a trailer of the show.