Comedienne, author, actress, activist, singer-songwriter, fashion designer: Perhaps the only thing Margaret Cho doesn’t do is mince her words. As a female, Korean-American artist and activist, the tattooed, tough-talking Cho has won fans and honors by defying gender, racial and sexual stereotypes at every step, always irreverently, always happy to make the establishment squirm. We figured that made her just right for one of our Warholian questionnaires: No doubt Andy would have admired Cho’s uncanny ability to work both inside and outside the Hollywood celebrity mill — and to wield an unflattering mirror when things get garish. Andy famously painted celebrities and car wrecks. Cho explains why today’s best Warholian subjects are a little bit of both.
What was your first Warholian moment, and when did you first encounter him?
Seeing the book Edie in my father’s bookstore, and wanting to read it but being scared of it, too like it was going to be too sad or too adult. It was actually very moving, and strangely familiar. Also, I got very into the Velvet Underground then, and into photos of The Factory, so I came to Warhol through other artists and mediums.
What or who would be Andy’s muse if he were alive today?
He would have plenty, like JWOWW, or Charles Ramsay, or even Antoine Dodson. All the stars of [RuPaul’s] Drag Race, Courtney Love, me (hopefully), Winona Ryder, Amanda Bynes, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber even. Perhaps Johnny Weir, Kathy Griffin — those manifestations of fame that exude glamour, excess, chance, brilliance, pathos and youth.
What are your latest cultural obsessions?
I love podcasting and do one weekly with Jim Short. We call it “Monsters of Talk” and it feels Warholian to me, as we get deep into the culture of the people we interview: comedians, actors, rockstars, poets, everyone.
What would you consider Warhol’s most memorable quote or anthem?
That we would all be famous for 15 minutes, which i think is very literal. Or that fame has a way of touching everyone in the world, which is quite true — and wonderful.
If you could collaborate with Andy on a project, what would it be?
Films. I love his movies, and the Factory stars. Also, I would have loved to be in the bands he loved, or a muse like Nico.
Dream dinner-party: you, Warhol, and…?
Me, Warhol and DURAN DURAN!
Imagine Warhol had a Twitter account. What kind of thing might he say in 140 characters or less?
“who wants tomato soup? #printsavailable” or @elizabethtaylor can i paint you 4 times? #howaboutonetimeandichangethecolors
Whose portrait would Andy most want to do now?
Whitney Houston? or Amanda Bynes. Or possibly Britney
Soup can or Coke bottle?
I am forever about the soup can
Drag every day or only on special occasions?
Drag every day unless it becomes a drag
See and bid on Christie’s gay pride-themed collection of Warhol’s drawings and photographs, “For Members Only: Eyes on the Guise,” on sale in an exclusive online auction, June 13-27.