A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] Abraham Riseman at Vulture on Scott Thompson and Buddy Cole

Vulture‘s Abraham Riesman has a wonderful long interview with Scott Thompson about arguably his most famous character, the flamboyant and out Buddy Cole.

Buddy Cole doesn’t care about what you think of him. Played by actor-comedian Scott Thompson, Buddy’s one of the most famous characters to come out of the Canadian sketch-comedy troupe the Kids in the Hall, and he’s provocation made manifest. Buddy is a world-weary gay man, utterly unafraid to offer his dry takes on the most incendiary topics. For about 30 years, Thompson has been creating and performing monologues as Buddy for stage and screen appearances, and though the character’s effeminate mannerisms and cultural interests are influenced by generations of gay performers like Paul Lynde and Liberace, Buddy was something unique: He was explicitly sexual.

Thompson felt that those queer forebears in comedy history had been, as he puts it, “castrated” — they could be cheeky and suggestive, but they weren’t allowed to actually be textually gay, and god forbid they should actually talk about having sex with men. Thompson wanted to build a figure who stepped over that line, much as he himself had done by being openly gay on television many years before Ellen DeGeneres’s famed coming-out. Buddy became a staple for Thompson not only on the show but in the Kids’ periodic reunion tours, a mock autobiography, a brief correspondent gig on The Colbert Report, and a series of video blogs.

Thompson’s had a rocky few years in the recent past, having battled lymphoma, as well as seeing his most recent high-profile role, as CSI Jimmy Price on Hannibal, cut short when the show was abruptly canceled. Nevertheless, he’s pressing on and contemplating a return to his most iconic character. Vulture included Buddy’s Kids in the Hall monologue about racism and stereotypes in our new list of 100 jokes that changed comedy, and we caught up with Thompson to talk about why the monologue only works if a gay man is delivering it, how he feels that he’s never developed a gay following, and the subtext of Buddy’s experiences with AIDS.

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Written by Randy McDonald

February 13, 2017 at 11:00 pm

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