Margaret Cho shines light on social issues through comedy (Exclusive Interview)

“Margaret Cho shines light on social issues through comedy”
Interview by Michael Aaron Gallagher of StayFamous.Net

Margaret Cho

Now in its third season, “Drop Dead Diva,” the one-hour comedic drama on Lifetime, tells the story of Jane, a model who dies and returns to life in the body of a plus-sized attorney.

Comedienne Margaret Cho, who plays Teri Lee (Jane’s assistant) recently talked to me about her character on the series, and the show’s role in addressing current social issues.

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Now that you’ve had a chance to settle into this role, do you see your character differently than when you began the series and read that first script?”

Margaret Cho: “I think what’s great about it is that I’ve never actually played a character for this long. I’ve done films and I’ve done pilots and I’ve done series but never longer than a year. So to complete the third year of playing this character, I feel like I know a lot more about her and how to play her and it helps me a lot as an actor also working with the incredible Brooke Elliot who is really one of the greatest actors on television out there today. You know, I’ve learned so much from her.”

“And so I think what’s great is to be around all these talented people and learning so much. That’s what really informs me, more than my own idea of what the character is – it’s interacting with these other great, fantastic performers that’s helped me grow.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Who’s been the most memorable guest star (for you)?”

Drop Dead Diva: The Complete Second SeasonMargaret Cho: “My favorite has been Kathy Griffin because she’s my friend. She is in many ways a mentor as I am her mentor. You know, there is a lot of affection and a lot of history. We both come from stand-up comedy and we both have learned a lot from each other. You know, I’ve known Kathy since she was throwing her famous Christmas party at her studio apartment in Santa Monica and now she’s such a famous person. But it’s so funny because she hasn’t changed at all and I don’t think I have really either.”

“So I just adore having her as part of this world. I think she fits in very well. She comes in to play Kim’s older sister, Jenna Kasswell. And she just does such a fantastic job and we have such a good time together and I absolutely love her and I hope that she will come back….”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “How do you feel about comedy being a vehicle for social change and what do you see your role as a television actress and comedian in bringing awareness to some of those issues?”

From left, April Bowlby, Ben Feldman, Margaret Cho, Brooke Elliott, Jackson Hurst,
Kate Levering and Josh Stamberg star in season three of Lifetime Television’s
hit series “Drop Dead Diva,” airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Photo by Kevin Lynch.

Margaret Cho: “Comedy I think is actually one of the most effective agents for social change and you see in television this is very true when you think about people like Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert but also in our show where we deal with a lot of social issues that are very important.”

“Coming up is an episode about the gay prom which was a real thing that happened really not far from where we shoot ‘Drop Dead Diva’ in the South, where these two young women wanted to go to the prom together and the prom was canceled because the school didn’t want to support a same-sex couple going to prom. And this was such a heartbreaking story in the news and so we did a show about it and it was really powerful.”

“And on that show Wanda Sykes who was heavily involved in that case and publicizing it played a judge on the show and also one of the girls who was actually the girl just trying to go to the prom with her girlfriend, Constance, came and played a bailiff.”

“So we had a lot of really great moments in that episode and I thought it was a really great show of support for gay pride which is an issue that I am constantly, constantly, constantly promoting. And it just makes me feel good that we got to do that and so I feel like comedy – television comedy and comedy in general is a really important avenue… a venue, to change society and to grow. And I’m so proud that we got to do that.”

To watch new clips from “Drop Dead Diva” visit http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/drop-dead-diva or to purchase the show on DVD click here (Season 1) or (Season 2).

“Margaret Cho shines light on social issues through comedy”
Copyright © 2011 by Michael Aaron Gallagher
Photographs courtesy of Lifetime Television Network

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