So... did you catch the Golden Globe Awards? Hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual bash was the usual mostly white, self-congratulatory celebrity affair... punctuated by a rather uncomfortable recurring bit involving Margaret Cho as a North Korean official.
Golden Globes: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Margaret Cho Joke About Sony Hack
There were going to be jokes about North Korea. The controversy around The Interview and the fallout from the Sony hacking scandal were the biggest Hollywood stories of the year. They couldn't not joke about it. Among other jabs, the hosts joked that they were gathered to honor "all of the movies that North Korea was okay with."
They also took a moment to introduce North Korean journalist Cho Yun Ja -- played by a solemn, over-powdered Margaret Cho -- contributor for Movies Wow! magazine, and the newest member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who took her moment get a photo with the venerable Meryl Streep.
Let me state that I worship Margaret Cho and her comedy, and I thought this first bit wasn't all that bad. (Wait, was that a Benedict Cumberbatch photobomb?) Margaret has been enlisted to do the North Korea stuff before, with a funny turn as late dictator Kim Jong Il on 30 Rock (for which she earned an Emmy nomination).
But when General Cho returned for more state-sponsored moments later on in the show, it just got really tiring, really fast. I wouldn't call it racist, as many have declared, but it was hella uncomfortable.
The schtick was made weirder by the fact that these award shows are always painfully devoid of any sort of Asian American representation. Whether it's an awards show or an action flick, in typical fashion, the only Asians allowed in this industry joint are relegated to do the North Korea gags. (Except Saturday Night Live, which has no problem with regularly slapping some yellowface on Bobby Moynihan for a North Korea sketch.)
We get it, Hollywood. North Korea is a real-life cartoony villain. There is much to criticize and lampoon about the North Korean regime. But a little too often, it comes off as a great excuse for funny accents. It's interesting how Hollywood conversations are still so eager to pin the Sony hack on North Korean villainy, even though experts widely believe it was likely an inside job. I guess it just makes for a better story.
General Cho signed off last night's festivities by declaring, "Show over. I host next year." Hmm....
Fey and Poehler have declared that this was their third and final time hosting the Golden Globes. Thank you for your service, ladies. Now, to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a suggestion: how about bringing back Margaret Cho as her actual fabulous self to host the Golden Globes next year? She would kick much ass.
More here: Margaret Cho Skewers North Korea at the Golden Globes