Standup comic Cho continues her reinvention as mouthy leftist radical, with mixed results.
Most comedians make a big show of being politically incorrect, trying their best to outrage what little rectitude is left in today’s jaded audiences, and few have been more successful at it than Cho. A potty-mouthed Korean-American worshipper of drag queens and trash pop culture, she’s taken an act based on shock value and impressions (mostly of her mother) and refined it over the years into a self-actualizing ritual of rage and rebellion directed at anyone who would try to define or limit her. Unfortunately, what can seem hilarious and liberating onstage frequently looks pedantic and whiny on the page. Her book certainly aspires to be more than the usual quick-and-dirty collection of warmed-over stage material padded with lots of white space and large typefaces. Refashioning herself into a political radical, the author eschews “people are stupid” complaints in favor of rants about the white male power structure, the idiocy of the media, George W. Bush and his cronies and on and on. In fact, rants are pretty much all she offers, running from topic to topic in no particular order. Her kamikaze approach, akin to that of Aaron McGruder’s faux-radical Boondocks comic strip, can work for a few pages at a stretch, but it doesn’t add up to much in the end. Here and there, Cho gets off a zinger, but for every good line, there’s plenty of blatantly obvious blather and the occasional shopworn accusation, such as calling Bill Cosby an Uncle Tom.
More or less a transcript from an Air America show on the verge of being cancelled.