Controversy concerns knock Cho from benefit

Boston GLBT event rejects comic's 'brutal' perf

The ladies on the left are taking their knocks. First Whoopi Goldberg and Linda Ronstadt. Now Margaret Cho.

The standup comedian has been “uninvited” to perform Monday in Boston for a political benefit called Unity 2004. In a switch, the openly bisexual performer has been disinvited by the Human Rights Commission, a gay political group. Monday’s event is hosted by 12 GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) orgs, one of which is HRC.

“The event is designed to be about the unity of the community behind John Kerry,” an HRC spokesman said. “We had invited Cho. When we asked about her material, we were told it would be a ‘brutal performance,’ which we didn’t think was in the spirit of what we were doing. We didn’t want to censor Margaret.”

Cho’s manager, Karen Taussig, paraphrased. “If five minutes of Whoopi Goldberg has created a firestorm, an hour of Margaret Cho is going to be brutal. The right is going to come after Margaret, and it doesn’t matter what she says.”

The comedian was prepared to preview material from her new State of Emergency tour at Unity 2004.

On the Cho Web site, Taussig released the following statement:

“I am not surprised at the reversal in light of how the Kerry campaign distanced itself from Whoopi’s routine in response to the unrelenting media hype and Republican criticism. It’s Whoopi’s job as a comedian to say things that are sometimes shocking. I wish they could have backed her up. Dennis Miller can make gay jokes about (Sens.) Kerry and Edwards at a recent Bush rally in Wisconsin to a complete absence of media scrutiny. No one demanded a tape of that event or alleged that his comments as a comedian might reflect poorly on Bush.”

Unity 2004 is not related to the Democratic Party or the Kerry campaign.

Boston’s loss is Gotham’s gain. Cho launches her State of Emergency show Aug. 28 at the Apollo Theater as part of the Imagine Festival.

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