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Tom Rhodes Radio Smart Camp


Tom Rhodes Radio Smart Camp is a festival of ideas, knowledge, stories, books & adventures.

I have been a comedian for more than 30 years. I travel the world doing comedy. I almost drowned in Thailand, got maced in Paris and had my own Late Night Talkshow in the Netherlands. Whenever I can I will share my adventures with you on this Tom Rhodes Radio Smart Camp podcast.

Sep 25, 2014

This episode was recorded in San Francisco.

I first met Margaret Cho when I moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s and because we both developed and came up together she is a friend that I am always cheering for and who I will always be loyal too. I could go for years without seeing Margaret but when we do it is like we never lost a minute together. I have been communicating with her for the past few years about trying to record an episode of this podcast with her but our schedules have not allowed us to make that happen. A few weeks ago when I was in Los Angeles I asked Margaret if she would be in town and she said that she was going to go San Francisco for Comedy Day in Golden Gate park because this year it was dedicated to Robin Williams.

Because of Margaret I bought a last minute plane ticket to fly up for it.

Comedy Day is a yearly free comedy concert in the park every year that the city of San Francisco puts on. I had not been to one since the late 1990s and neither had Margaret. It was so much fun to see so many old friends from the San Francisco comedy scene of the 1990s. Deservedly so Margaret is an adored icon and watching her being appreciated makes my heart happy. She is the perfect San Francisco comedian, raised in the city by book store owning parents, an intelligent, funny Asian woman who represents and defends the gay and lesbian community. Margaret has been busting heads in the comedy world for many years and not many comedians ever attain the universal love and appeal that she has.

This conversation was recorded the day after Comedy Day in Margaret's Union Square hotel room. We had enjoyed comedy Day immensely laughing our heads off together, my favorite moment was having Margaret sit right up front under the stage and scream her head off laughing at me. I also learned that she was very close to Joan Rivers and that she is still very tore up over her recent death. 

Margaret and I also were both given our our sitcoms around the same time and they both only lasted for one season. My reaction to my sitcom ending was to plunge myself into drugs and alcohol but Margaret wrote a brilliant one person show called 'I'm the one that I want'. Seeing that show in New York City gave me great inspiration at that time when I needed it. Margaret's career has been so successful because she continuously works her ass off. In this conversation we talk about our sitcom experiences and the mountain of pressure you have on you when you are the star of your own network television show.

Margaret Cho has championed countless civil rights causes and has supreme knowledge on many different topics, especially stand up comedy. In this conversation Margaret tells me about Joan Rivers' funeral and the best laugh she had with Joan. We also talk about Korea and the Korean pop culture domination of the planet. I've been to Korea twice in the past 2 years and I'm excited for Margaret to go there just because it will produce another brilliant special for her. We talk about our immigrant mother's and Margaret tells me about her quest to learn the Korean language. She teaches me about the highlights of Korean cinema. The trilogy of movies 'Old Boy', 'Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance'.

She we had this talk I watched 'Old Boy' and I highly recommend this mind-blowing movie. Since the day I met her, Margaret has turned me on to cool things. She tells me about the Rue De Temple, the best place to shop in Paris. She gives me the best world wide travel tips she has learned and I tell her the importance of a successful comedian having nice luggage. 

This episode happened because Margaret suggested that I come up to San Francisco at the last minute. After the joy of having this conversation we went to the panhandle and got stoned before she took me to a guitar store on Haight street. After the guitar store we ate fat gorgeous San Francisco burritos and then Margaret called me an Uber that took me to the airport. It was a perfect 24 hours in San Francisco and this episode is the result of this. 

She is the Joan of Arc Samurai warrior of comedy and it is my pleasure to present to you now, the one and only Margaret Cho!

Intro song: Cutting Room (Hot Pants) – Oceanliners

End song: Teenage Fanclub & Jad Fair - Crush on You

San Francisco, September 2014