Cho, like Sandra Bernhard, is a familiar personality: the smart, self-deprecating girl from high school who articulates the woes of being outside the norm, indulging in the pleasures of not having to play it straight. Also interviewed are the proud but sheepish Cho parents who thrill to their daughter's sudden popularity, while perhaps still cringing on the inside as she describes the hunt for her G-spot. The new, raunchier C.H.O. claims to have styled her bald sexual confessions on the larger-than-life personas of rap stars like L'il Kim and Eve. She combines that bad girl drag with savvy, shrewd observations that puncture cultural absurdities like the L.A. trend for colon irrigation.
Combining salty chutzpah and vulnerable difference politics, Cho takes her audience on a ride familiar from any number of Vegas schmaltz acts. There are jokes, and then, my friend, there are tears as comic highs ride shotgun with gloomy but inspirational "healing." But the pace, and yuks, tend to fizzle when Cho reveals her sensitive side in strained moments of "sharing" that are as contrived as any Flamingo lounge number.
Cho, like Bernhard, is a gender rebel who struts her bisexuality on Notorious C.H.O., focusing comic naughty bits on the labor-intensive work of muff-diving, the politics of S&M sex clubs and her fondness for bull dykes who look like John Goodman. In a moment of dramatic wish-fulfillment, a bull dyke who does look shockingly like Goodman is interviewed post-performance offering to show Cho a good time, proving the fans for Notorious C.H.O are not only devout, they are also generous with their time.
Cho's comedy is an anecdotal form that produces fewer belly laughs than "ain't life funny?" smirks. The comedian captures the absurdity in certain gender conventions, such as the proposition: What if guys menstruated? Cho's impersonation of a stoner guy discussing his period is spot-on and shows her talent for getting inside the quirky personas of characters without making them into repetitive shtick.
With a microphone, some hydrating bottles of water and her perky cleavage as her only props, Cho brings back some old favorites: the helium-cadences and old country wit-and-wisdom of her Mama Cho (including a hilarious camel-riding incident) and the comedian's trademark slutty free-to-be-you-and-me lifestyle. Some features of the act have, perhaps, grown a little stale since Cho's first performance film, I'm the One That I Want, but chances are fans won't care a lick.
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