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Charged Cho 

Comedian brings her self-described depravity to Atlanta

What a difference an election cycle makes for comedian Margaret Cho. Four years ago, she was "disinvited" to the Democratic National Convention (and, soon after, accurately comparing John Kerry to Lord of the Rings' Ent tree characters). Now she's an Obama girl and proud of it — and not just because he's the most liberal candidate in the mix.

"[When people] try to put qualifications about how ethnic he is, that is sooo familiar territory for me," says Cho, whose Korean heritage has been both a professional blessing and curse. "It's something that I've been navigating myself for many years. That attitude like, 'Are you a proper representation of your own culture?' – that there has to be a proper or qualifying characteristic that makes you qualified to represent yourself."

The native San Franciscan and open bisexual was primed to speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention until the "thanks, but no thanks" from the Dems.

"I think this was sort of around the time when ... gay marriage was a huge issue," she recalls. "At that point they didn't want to invite controversy. I was disinvited, and asked not to come. It's too bad, too. I think the Democratic Party is really important, and really much better off now. Less that culture of fear now. But at that point it was pretty important."

Cho's comedy has become as politically charged as it has raunchy, which makes her Beautiful Tour stop on Saturday at the Tabernacle so intriguing, considering that she promises her most raunchy material yet. This, from the woman who on the 2004 Assassin Tour said first lady Laura Bush's vagina must smell like Lysol.

"That's why it's funny to people to be that hardcore and yet I'm gonna be 40," she says. "And I'm excited that I've gotten to this level of depravity, which is great. And it's very fun."

Perhaps taking a cue from another comedic heroine in the gay community, Kathy Griffin, Cho returns to a regular TV gig for the first time since her ill-fated "All-American Girl," with "The Cho Show," premiering Aug. 21 on VH1. "This definitely gives me more freedom," says Cho, whose first show was canceled amid issues with both her weight and ethnicity. "Back then in network television, you could hardly say anything. This show is really easy. It's hot. It's exciting."

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