I grew up in San Francisco in the 70s. My parents owned a gay bookstore in the middle of the gaybourhood and so asked all the gay men to babysit me. I was raised by drag queens. My father thought that would be the best thing for me and it was!
You’ve previously described 70’s San Fran as a melting pot.
San Francisco is a very liberal and multicultural city, and also has a very prominent and powerful gay community. It’s literally where gay politics has its roots, with Harvey Milk and so many others who fought for equal rights for our community. There are many different ethnic communities there, so their influences are numerous. But I think of San Francisco as being the gay Mecca of the world.
When did you realize you made people laugh?
It was something I learned early on. I realized I could manipulate people and get my way if I got them to laugh first. It was the shortest route to power.
You got an early break opening for Jerry Seinfield.
I lied my way into a college comedy competition and ended up winning a slot to open for Jerry. He told me I should quit school and do comedy full time. Of course I was already a dropout so I was ahead of the game
I think we are fairly similar although I’ve never worked in an office or worn any sort of wide leg pant which Teri does all the time. Other than that we are the same.
You’ve written a bestselling book, recorded Grammy nominated albums, appeared in Hollywood movies and been the star of several TV shows… what’s next?
I’m working on a new album of majestic Beatles-esque songs about being Asian. It’s called the yellow album.
So what’s “Cho dependant” all about?
It’s about addiction to all sorts of things – drugs, love, music, power. I’m so grateful to all my wonderful collaborators – Tegan and Sara, Ben Lee, Fiona Apple, Ani Difranco. I’m so blessed.
Tell us about your work with the LGBT Community. You’ve won several community awards.
I want to work for my community as much as I can. I’m so proud of where we have come in such a short time but there’s much more to be done.
Do you see yourself as a role model?
No more of a hole model.
Have you been to Edinburgh before? What do you think of the Scots?
I came to the Fringe 10 years ago and I loved it! Can’t wait to return!
You know lots of famous people. Who do you most admire?
I love Joan Rivers!
How do you think Barack Obama is doing?
I’m happy with him for turning over don’t ask don’t tell and I want him to do more for gay rights.
What is the biggest audience who’ve performed to live?
I’m not even sure! Maybe wearing the rainbow gay pride dress on ‘Dancing with the Stars’? That’s 23 million viewers!
Did you enjoy ‘Dancing with the Stars’?
Yes but people say I was robbed which I don’t think is true! Like how? Someone broke into my home and left me $200,000?
Sum yourself up in three words.
Big old bitch