Stephen Colbert and Margaret Cho talked about racist jokes — and who can tell them — during Monday night’s “Late Show.”
Cho told a story about a time when she helped chase a friend’s escaped dog across four lanes of traffic, and she joked that drivers must have thought she was hungry — which drew laughs and then groans from the audience.
“I’m Korean,” Cho said, by way of explanation.
Colbert asked the comedian about political correctness, saying that was a joke that he — as a white person — couldn’t have told.
“No — and I’m delighted, because I’m so happy to make racist jokes, because I can,” Cho said. “I grew up in the era where it was all Asian driver jokes, so I would come onstage, and I would say, ‘My name is Margaret Cho, and I drive very well.’ People would be taken aback, because they would realize, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize I was racist this whole time.'”
She said audiences have become more aware of their own prejudices as they hear from more diverse comedians.
“Do you think it might just be better if everybody just started with a baseline of, I’m just going to assume I’m racist when I’m talking about a race that isn’t mine?” Colbert asked. “Because I don’t know what that experience is like, and I have presuppositions about what it is like to be someone of another race or the behavior of another race. If I think of a person as part of a race and as not of an individual.”
Yes, Cho agreed.
“Hi, Stephen Colbert — probably racist,” the host introduced himself.
Cho told Colbert that he shouldn’t worry so much about being racist.
“What’s really annoying is that nobody really cared about race until white people got involved, and now all we do is talk about race,” Cho said. “It’s like, all the white fragility is so annoying. You’ve got to walk on eggshells around white people. It was so much easier –“
“Oh, white people, walk on eggshells — that is so racist,” Colbert said. “Why? Because we’re white and eggs are white? You’ve got a problem.”
“Maybe I’m the racist,” Cho said. “I’m just saying it was much easier before when we just had to walk on their back.”
Watch the entire segment posted online by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: