San Diego Pride’s Stand-Up Stoners! Interview with Margaret Cho & Selene Luna

By Marc Emmelmann

Selene Luna (pronounced “sel-ena”not “celine”) is a burlesque legend, an activist for LGBT equality and marijuana legalization, and an actress/comedienne extraordinaire. Ms. Luna is less than four feet tall, pretty, and has a passionate personality to boot! Her mouth is loud, sometimes crude, and San Diego gets to hear her latest comedy set at San Diego Pride on July 16th at Balboa Park.  Selene is opening for another special someone, namely the one and only Margaret Cho. Margaret is a veteran stoner and LGBT activist too. She is one of the strongest veteran voices for gay rights in pop culture. Her stand-up comedy is some of the best in the world. Margaret is a master of facial expressions and awkward silences. If you’ve never been Cho-gasmed in the past, get ready for some hot and sweaty oh la la!  Her set is from her National Cho Dependent Tour, which she is currently still on. Get ready to laugh, cry, toot, hoot, holler and maybe pee your pants a little.

–SELENE LUNA–
(Photo by MMX GIAPhoto)

When did you find out you were coming to San Diego Pride? What was your reaction to the news?
I found out a month ago. Marg and I share the same manager. It’s no accident we’re with the same people. Marg had a slot to use me and I just love working for her, it’s SO much fun. It’s been quite a while since we teamed up. It’s always a good time with her.

Tell me about your previous San Diego rendezvous?
My very first burlesque performance was in San Diego at Street Scene! I was dancing with Velvet Hammer Burlesque, who brought back a burlesque movement in the early ‘90s.
What is your professional life like these days?  What’s paying the bills?
It’s so up and down. It’s a constant rollercoaster. It’s the real typical life of an artist. Even if you have huge commercial success, you still never know where your next meal is coming from. I’m at the low end of things (No pun intended). I’m on an upswing right now booking as many stand-up gigs as possible; it’s my main thing. I’m nurturing my stand-up career. I’m competitive mostly with myself, and the challenge is what drives me to do stand-up. You never know if you are going to kill or bomb. I’m sick and twisted…I love the torture!  I also do burlesque, my own solo shows, and basically whatever I can get my hands on. I hope my passion comes off in a positive and informative way.

Can you tell me about your journey as a pot activist and how your comic persona became involved? Which came first?
The pot lifestyle came first. I’m a lifestyle smoker and have been smoking my entire adult life. When I got into showbiz, it provided me a platform to talk about things I believed in. I never hesitated, I’m passionate about it and I’ve always thought I had nothing to lose. I am, I guess, a disabled person.  As it is, I’m already freaky looking. I just don’t care what people think; it won’t affect my career. Why should I be all delicate with my image? Why not talk about things I’m actually passionate about, not just what I look like.

Sativa or Indica?
Daytime would be sativa and nighttime would be indica. But, I rarely smoke in the daytime; I have to get shit done. I have a household rule – I don’t smoke before 7pm, and once business hours are closed, I don’t respond to emails or answer the phone. That’s my ‘me’ time!

Joint, Pipe, Bong or Vaporizer?
All of the above; however, a joint is my #1 go-to. It’s a very relaxing ritualistic thing – the rolling of the joint and the pride you feel when it’s perfectly rolled. It’s like when you cook a dinner or bake a cake, the whole process is enjoyable.

Do you use marijuana as a part of the creative process?
I’ve taken cues from George Carlin. I write completely sober just because I have to. Then, I edit stoned. That’s exactly what George Carlin would do. It’s easy to cut the fat at that point.

Do you have any favorite funny people that keep YOU laughing? Do you have any favorite comedy shows?
That’s all I have are funny people in my life. If there is no humor in you, we are not going to get along. Nadia Ginsberg, Jackie Beet and my good buddy Mario Diaz – they’re my showbiz family. We crack each other up. My favorite comedies are stoner animations like South Park and Family Guy. I also like Curb Your Enthusiasm. I loooove Larry David.

Are you passionate about other political issues besides marriage equality and cannabis reform?
I’m passionate about various social issues, but politically, these are my passion projects. What if this county didn’t allow little people to get married? That’s why I relate to the gay community. Their orientation was not a choice just as much as my body was not my choice. It baffles me that this country is not giving every single taxpayer the quality they deserve. If I was gay, I don’t think I’d pay my taxes! This is like giving your typical American citizen the right to vote. As much as this country is based as a Christian country, discrimination is not a Christian value.  From my own experience, they are first to judge. This bl

ows my mind because it’s really a hate movement.

GLAAD now says not to use the term “homosexual” anymore? Do you agree?
I haven’t even heard about that. I, um, I, I, I’m stumped. I didn’t know the word ‘homosexual’ was offensive. I don’t get it, I’ve never heard of this. I talk about it in my show; that political correctness has gone beyond that. This guilty liberal movement, like with the word midget. When I was much younger and angry, I was on a campaign to end the use of the word midget, but I’ve changed. Your character must be stronger than a stupid word. I think that’s more important than fighting over some word.

How can NUG readers help cannabis reform?
The way to help, and this probably sounds so obvious, is instead of responding with anger, respond with information, and have your facts together on how to come back at somebody. ‘I just want to get high’ does not cut the mustard. You want to explain why. Example: the reason I stand for marijuana is that science finds it is less harmful than tobacco and alcohol, and don’t get me started on prescription med icine.

Is there anything you would like to add?
On Saturday night, I’m having a release party for my very first music video/dance club single at Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood.

SeleneLuna.com is where I do my whoring.

–MARGARET CHO–

Margaret Cho Photo: Pixie Vision Productions

Do you have any nicknames? What are your favorites?
Magrat, Marg, Maggie (per Kathy Griffin) and Moran, my Korean name, M-Cho and MC! Everyone has their own nickname. If I’m close to someone, they will have their own way of addressing me.

Have you ever been featured in a cannabis publication before?
I’m sure I have been, but I’m such a stoner I forgot.

So I heard you quit the ganja back in 2010, what gives? And were you smoking sativas or indicas?
I quit all the time! I quit and I come back. I quit and I come back. I quit drinking and come back too. I love the freedom to be able to do whatever I want. I’ve definitely smoked a lot of pot, but I quit often. I’m working, traveling and being so busy that I can forget to start smoking pot. One time I didn’t buy a lighter, so I didn’t smoke for a whole year. I prefer indicas, definitely. I get a lot of relief and joy from it. And also, I’m an insomniac; it’s a major help with that.  I also really like edibles. I have a card in CA and the edibles available commercially are much too strong! They put me out!

You are headlining San Diego Pride, are you excited? What’s your relationship to SD Pride? How does it compare to LA Pride or San Fran Pride?
I love SD Pride; it’s such a major Pride celebration. I love the city; my parents live there. I spend a lot of time there when I’m with my family. I’ve been going to gay prides for 30 years. San Diego is the most conservative city compared to LA or San Francisco, and that’s why it’s so important to have a communal voice and a communal moment in a really conservative city.

Is it true you have a ‘stoners’ bit in your set, something about stoners being the true Christians and good Samaritans?
It really has to do with if you’re traveling and you can’t get weed. When stoners know you can’t get weed, they’ll help you out. Stoners are the true people of God!

Is it true that you’ve officiated gay weddings before?
I was given the title of Marriage Commissioner to marry gay couples when Gay Marriage was legal, right before Prop. 8.  I‘ve officiated in Massachusetts and look forward to doing it again all over the country. We are really focused on marriage equality and I think it’s going to happen soon; I’m excited about it.

What are your favorite TV shows or comedies?
I love Jersey Shore, which is a popular show on my tour bus that is filled with other stand-up comics as we drive thru the night. My favorite comedy is a film from the ‘80s about the ’60s in London called, Withnail & I.

Who inspires you the most in terms of other comedians who really make YOU laugh?
I love Kathy Griffin, Joan Rivers, Selene Luna, Rosie O’Donnell, and Chris Rock.

You got your start in comedy by getting involved with your high school’s improv comedy group in San Francisco. Do you have a story to share about high school improv in San Fran?
I was doing comedy with Sam Rockwell, who is a very successful actor now. We did Sunset Comedy Clubs and were so young, BUT our teacher signed us up. We were way underage, but it was a supervised thing. I’m grateful for our teacher taking us there and introducing us to that world. I feel most joyous and comfortable there. I love comedy and other comics.

What is your recipe for a good life?
Just enjoy your work and the time that we have on earth. That’s when you can really enjoy your life and do whatever it takes to do that. To me, my work is playtime too. It involves social aspects and I’m friends with everyone I work with. It’s fun. I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to structure my life that way.

You look so young. What is your secret to feeling and looking great?
I work out like a maniac, which is hard. It gets harder when you get older. The older you get, the more you have to exercise to feel good and keep everything working.

Any last words to our readers?
People should come, hang out, smoke a bowl and party – it’s Pride!  My DVD of Cho Dependent will be out soon, so look for that on margaretcho.com. I’ll also be on tour in Australia, Scotland and England. I’m going to be around. Come Party!

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