Unfortunately, her bit playing a North Korean journalist and army general certainly did not advance the cause of Asian American representation.
Reaction on Twitter from Asian Americans was largely negative.
— Steve Lee (@SLee214) January 12, 2015
— Brian Yang (@briflys) January 12, 2015
This is embarrassing. Never found Margaret Cho funny.
— Hyun E. Love 김현 (@HyunINC) January 12, 2015
But as acts like this tend to do, it divided the populace with several coming to her defense. Cho has built up some good will in the Asian American community over the years, and she cashed in on it last night.
I also have met margaret cho so this is kinda personal and I know how hard she tries to raise awareness for asian-americans & lgbtq ppl
— エマ姉ちゃん (@LatterDayOtaku) January 12, 2015
Even the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund while criticizing her, clearly didn’t want to send Cho to the dogs.
— AsianAmericanLegal (@aaldef) January 12, 2015
Among Asian Americans, the blog You Offend Me, You Offend My Family has been most vocal so far in its support of Cho’s Golden Globe performance, but even that support had its qualifiers.
Here’s what Philip wrote:
I personally thought Cho was as good as she could be within the context of a show like the Golden Globes which I don’t think is the best fit for her brand of humor (there were many on social media who applauded her performance as well and saying she resurfaced every stereotype we fought against is a bit of hyperbole). And it’s not as if Cho playing a North Korean in a Tina Fey project is unprecedented, after all, Cho played the then-North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il on multiple episodes of Fey’s 30 Rock. But with the definite lack of Asians on tonight’s broadcast, besides a couple of quick shots of some random faces in the audience, it didn’t help that the only prominent Asian featured was a send-up of the “foreign enemy.” Come on, Hollywood Foreign Press, would it have killed you to get someone like John Cho or Lucy Liu to hand out one of the “lesser” TV awards?
Personally, I’ve always been uncomfortable with actors, even Asian American ones, playing up Asian accents for laughs. We are still perceived as foreigners in a country many of us were born in and many more have adopted as their own. These sorts of sketches only entrench the image of Asian Americans as foreigners even more.
If you missed Cho’s act on the Golden Globes, you can get a taste of it below.
What did you think?