Review: “Margaret Cho – Beautiful” (Stand-Up Comedy DVD)

2015 Artwork Margaret Cho Beautiful Review sketch

A couple of months ago, I discovered Margaret Cho on Youtube and I just couldn’t stop watching clips from her shows. Seriously, she’s hilarious.

So, when I saw that one of her DVDs was surprisingly cheap on Amazon, I just had to get it. That DVD was of a show that she filmed in 2008 called “Beautiful”.

This is the first time that I’ve reviewed a stand-up comedy DVD, so I’m not quite sure how to do this – but this review will probably contains SPOILERS.

“Beautiful” was filmed before both the 2008 US presidential election and the disastrous proposition eight vote in California and, like a lot of stand-up comedy DVDs, it begins with short interviews with Margaret Cho and with members of the audience waiting for the show to begin.

Although this segment isn’t very funny, it is still wonderfully uplifting and cool – since Margaret Cho talks about beauty for a while and many of the audience members are wonderfully happy (and occasionally very cute) couples. Seriously, it’s worth getting the DVD for this segment alone.

As for the show itself, although Margaret Cho talks about politics a little bit (and has a couple of hilarious routines about Srarh Palin and John McCain), most of the show is about both her sex life and about sex in general – and, yes, she has a wonderfully hilarious and occasionally cynical turn of phrase when it comes to finding different ways to describe various body parts.

The show then ends with Cho singing a song, then there’s lots of joyously wonderful backstage footage and audience interviews that plays during the credits. In addition to this, Amanda Palmer’s “Leeds United” plays in the background over the credits – which, if you’re an Amanda Palmer fan – is a wonderful bonus.

One of the first things I will say was that, when I ordered the DVD last November, Amazon lied to me! I’m being serious – the UK DVD cover image on their site had a giant red “18 certificate” on it. And, well, I thought, “this will be brilliantly outrageous!

So, imagine my disappointment when the DVD arrived and there was a wimpy little “15 certificate” on the cover instead. And then, as if to rub salt into the wound, it had the words “live and uncut” in large letters on the back.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a show for the prudish by any stretch of the imagination. But, well, there’s an immature part of my mind that still, even in my twenties, feels wonderfully rebellious when I watch an “18 rated” DVD. So, through no fault of Margaret Cho’s, I felt slightly disappointed before I even watched the DVD.

Anyway, going back to what I said about this not being a show for the prudish – I mean it. Most of “Beautiful” is about sex and this is both one of the show’s greatest strengths and one of it’s greatest weaknesses. Although a lot of the risque jokes are extremely imaginative and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, there are just slightly too many of them.

No, I’m not being a “Daily Mail” and/or “Guardian”-reading prude when I say that there are too many sex jokes in “Beautiful”. I’m saying it because there isn’t really enough variety in the show.

When you watch a two-minute Youtube clip of Margaret Cho talking about sex, it’s incredibly funny. But, when you watch eighty minutes of it, it starts to get – for want of a much better word – slightly boring.

So, I wish she’d broken it up a bit and talked about other stuff occasionally. Risque comedy is funniest when it’s unexpected and shocking, not when you can easily predict what the next joke will be about.

Still, saying this, she manages to talk about this one subject in a variety of interesting and imaginative ways. But this is still a DVD that is best enjoyed in short instalments rather than all at once.

Even though the subject matter of Cho’s jokes in “Beautiful” gets a little bit repetitive, her delivery is absolutely brilliant and this is certainly one of those comedy shows that has to be watched rather than just listened to. Plus, well, Margaret Cho is just an incredibly cool person too and there’s loads of LGBT-related stuff in this show too – which was quite refreshing to watch.

So, although – as I said- this is a DVD that is best watched in short instalments, “Beauitful” is still an incredibly fun, uplifting and feel-good show. In retrospect, I should have probably ordered “Assassin” instead, but I still quite liked this show.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get between three and four.

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