Assassins [1995]

Margaret Cho gives new meaning to the phrase "blue states" with this typically profane and provocative concert performance that takes dead aim at all things right-wing. Recorded in May 2005, in enemy territory (Washington, D.C.), Assassin is a timely state of the dis-union, as Cho weighs in on gay marriage, the pope, Terry Schiavo, Abu Ghraib, sexual politics, and other hot-button topics. Cho may see herself as a comic assassin, but she is no sniper taking potshots from the cover of the grassy knoll. She puts herself out there. She tells a mostly unprintable story about how she was unwittingly tapped to perform for a group of Republican hotel owners. ("They didn't know who they were getting," she recalls. "It was the worst blind date ever."). The nation is so polarized between left and right, Cho laments, but she doesn't exactly help matters much with statements such as "These Christian groups have lost their minds" and "If you're not a feminist you should kill yourself," or her comment on the red states/blue states map: "That's convenient. Now we have a color-coded map to where all the stupid people are." While not as accessible as I'm the One That I Want, Assassin is less preachy than Cho's more recent concert films. But it is no less impassioned, and she is more than willing to answer the rallying cry of her fiercely devoted fans who, she riffs at one point, seem to look to her like some Asian superhero: "Margaret--do something!" --Donald Liebenson

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