New Times: Tell me about the Assassin Tour.
Margaret Cho: It's about shooting down old ideas or negativity.... It's a difficult time historically right now, with the political atmosphere and also the natural disasters. It's just sort of about trying to put some positive energy on things to put some joy into living again.
How did you become an advocate for gay marriage?
To me it makes sense because it's really what America is about. This whole idea of freedom and equality is invalid if it's not available unilaterally. And the problem with gay marriage issues is that people who oppose [it] are not paying attention ... if they don't believe in gay marriage, then they can't believe in freedom because then they're putting limits on what needs to be essentially free.
You've posed for an American Library Association "Read" poster. How do you feel about being a role model for young adults?
I think that's really cool. I didn't think about it in that way; to me it was more to promote the book that I'm publishing for Damien Echols who is a death-row inmate in Arkansas who's really innocent. It's insane how he's lived through this terrible trial and [been] in jail for over eleven years ... he's symbolic of the problems with the justice system. He's an incredible writer, so that was a way to feature his writing, and also because I'm such a big reader myself.
What have you been reading lately?
I've been really obsessed with ancient Rome. I love Nero; he's such an interesting leader, so I've been reading ... about [him] and accounts of ancient life. I love history. There's another book called Blood and Splendor [by Daniel Myerson], and it's all about dictators ... [in] the film that I'm working on, the character is very influenced by dictators throughout history, so I wrote the character specifically to reflect my own interest.
And that's Bam Bam and Celeste?
Yes. That's a film that I wrote and I'm starring in. It's kind of this fairy tale about these two kids who have left their hometown to explore the world ... it's kind of like a fag and fag hag Dumb and Dumber.
How does it feel being a gay icon?
It's cool! It's something that I never really anticipated or expected. It never occurred to me that was possible, but it's great. I'm really excited by that because it means so much.