Margaret Cho on sex, Good Vibrations–and San Francisco’s answer to the 49ers leaving town

Pub date November 17, 2006
WriterSarah Phelan
SectionSF Blog

By Sarah Phelan

There’s something deliciously violent about stand-up comedian Margaret Cho’s voice. Even when she picks up the phone in her hotel room in Philadelphia and says, “Hell-low? This is Margaret,” in that familiar Cho twang, you feel the tigress at the end of the line.
OK, maybe I’m just projecting. Because let’s face it: to call Margaret is to risk ending up as fodder in her next comedy act, especially if you have a British accent and work for the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
But that’s OK, because I love this bitch, and I’m glad that Good Vibrations, San Francisco’s legendary retailer and distributor of sex toys and sex education, gave me an excuse to interview her by appointing her to be on their Board of Directors.
“I did it for the free vibrators,” jokes Cho, by way of explaining the Good Vibrations gig. “Seriously, I worked a long time ago at another sex store, Stormy Leather, in the retail store. Before it was just a leather company, making dildo harnesses and clothes and S&M gear, and then it opened a retail store. In fact, I think that was my last daytime job, other than stand-up comedy. Through working there, I learned about Good Vibrations, the sisters’ store, which had a different location, but with the same ideas and philosophies about women and sexuality that help empower us and learn. And I bought a lot of stuff at Good Vibrations. I love Carol Queen and I love the diversity of the people who work there. It’s very much my crowd, my queer friends, lovers and people I know. It’s so familiar. The people who work there are my cup of tea. I enjoy just hanging out there.”
Asked about the thumping the Republicans got in the November 2006 election, Cho laughs. “I’m glad. It only took a couple of all-time gay scandals to turn it around. It was about time. It should have happened a lot sooner. Homophobia is something that worked in our favor this time. Americans are so homophobic. They realize that Republicans could be closet gays –and so they don’t want to vote Republican any more. That’s fine right now. If it works in our favor, it’s gotta be OK. Hopefully, it will lead to people understanding the queer culture more, and at least there’s been some shift in balance.”
In light of the news that the 49ers want to leave San Francisco and SF Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier wants to form a sports commission to keep teams in town, I asked Cho if she could think of any sports that might work better for our city, like competitive gay brunching, perhaps, as recently defined by the Bay Guardian’s cultural editor Marke B.?
.“How about a really bad-ass lesbian softball league,” suggests Cho. “No holds barred. Armed with weapons. Something violent, really empowering and kick-ass.”