Fire Island is full of “gorgeous queer joy”, says star Margaret Cho. 

The Emmy-nominated trailblazer, whose iconic credits include All American Girl, Drop Dead Diva and 30 Rock, stars in the upcoming gay rom-com as Erin; the “gay elder” and “mom” to the gang who annually hosts them at her Fire Island condo. 

Although Erin was originally written as a man, Cho reached out and requested a part in the film, which resulted in writer and star Joel Kim Booster revamping the character and their background.

“They were trying to figure out where I would fit in, because they really wanted to put me in the movie,” she reveals in the brand new issue of GAY TIMES.

Cho commends Booster for his script, saying she has “never seen” an Asian-American film like Fire Island about “coming to cope with your identity in the context of family, in the context of trying to hide your gayness or exist within white society as an Asian-American gay.”

“That is so unexplored in any sort of media,” Cho continues. “So, we have a rare glimpse into these lives that are really their universal themes, but also so invisible in mainstream society.”

Fire Island also stars Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, Zane Phillips, Torian Miller, Tomás Matos and Nick Adams.

Directed by Ahn, the comedy follows Noah (Booster), Howie (Yang) and their eclectic circle on their annual trip to the famous gay escape destination off the southern shore of Long Island.

For its celebration of LGBTQ+ culture and exclusion of queer trauma elements, Fire Island has received near universal critical acclaim.

Cho jokes that films centering on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and homophobia are the “primary colours” of queer cinema, while stressing the need for more colours in our “palette” that showcase queer joy.

“You need to have the subtlety of the lavender, the grey, the hot red of these underwear parties. Everybody’s naked in the movie – except me, even I’m wearing a bikini, so that’s saying a lot,” she explains. 

“It’s very sexual without making it unwholesome. There is no judgement about the sluttiness. The sluttiness is actually a value, because we value experience over this false idea of what purity is.

It really lets everybody in on the secret that being gay is better! That’s why people are just scared of it, because it’s better!” 

Reminiscing on filming last summer, Cho says the entire cast “laughed throughout the entire experience” and became “really close” friends.

“It was all gorgeous queer joy. We laughed everyday,” she remembers. 

“Everyday outside of my trailer, it was Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang doing different monologues of Tiffany Pollard from I Love New York or Real Housewives, like full renditions of Real Housewives scenes, full monologues.

“It’s very, very much that. Full dance sequences. There was a lot of screaming. We just really had the best time. We just laughed and screamed and we loved it.” 

You can read our full interview with Margaret Cho and the cast of Fire Island via the GAY TIMES app, Apple News+Readly, and Flipster.

The new issue of GAY TIMES also features interviews with Big Mouth’s resident lovebug Brandon Kyle Goodman, Hacks star Mark Indelicato and the cast of Prime Video’s The Wilds.