Interview: Scott Thompson of ‘Kids in the Hall’ Performs at Suffolk Theater July 19

Comedian, actor and writer Scott Thompson makes his first-ever Long Island appearance on July 19—he’ll perform his stand-up act during Suffolk Theater’s Hamptons LGBT Comedy Festival.

SCOTT THOMPSON’S JULY 19 APPEARANCE AT SUFFOLK THEATER HAS BEEN CANCELED

Thompson, who is known for appearing on the iconic sketch comedy series The Kids in the Hall from 1988–1994, chatted with Dan’s Papers about The Kids in the Hall, his graphic novel series, his comedy and more.

What does your stand-up act focus on?
Right now…it’s hard to say! [The comedy] goes all over the place—sex, Hannibal, cancer, travel, race, the fact that I’ve never been to Long Island…

You play Dr. Jimmy Price on NBC’s Hannibal series. How’s that been?
I’ve been thrilled by the way people have reacted. I love the series. I’m glad it’s where it’s at right now. Maybe this year people will actually start watching it! Right now [the viewers are] super-fanatics and critics. People don’t know what to expect from it. They can’t imagine a show like that is on NBC right now. We’re conditioned to believe good television is only possible on cable.

Were you a fan of the movies and books before the show?
Not really. I think Silence of the Lambs is great, but I’m not a gore guy. I like horror, but it’s certainly not my main genre. My main genre is science fiction.

Your interest in science fiction shows in your graphic novel, Husk: The Hollow Planet. Did this start out as a graphic novel, or was it a movie or TV show pitch?
First, I thought it would make a great film. But after pitching it around, I thought, “Nobody’s going to make this movie. I’m not big enough.” And I had to get it out. For me, I have certain ideas that I need to do and it doesn’t matter whether the public wants to buy it or not! It keeps me happy as a creative person. It’s actually a trilogy; the second book should come out this year.

Has being openly gay made your career more difficult?
Yes. I don’t know how well I dealt with it, to be honest. I was actually surprised by the level of resistance [when I came out]. It really threw me, how much it held me back, how much of a box people insisted I stay in. I was naive—when The Kids in the Hall finished, I assumed I’d be allowed to have an actual, real comedy career. “This guy can play anything!” That’s not how it played out. Basically, I became the go-to gay role model.

You’ve mentioned you don’t like playing gay characters that are defined by being gay, or that exist to make a point.
Yes, and I’m proud of that. That was hard to resist the past 15 years. Gay characters became more like agents of change. They had to move an agenda forward. To me, that’s not art. Change is up to politicians, not necessarily artists, [which is a view] I’ve received nothing but blowback for. I think gay characters should be allowed to be more three-dimensional. It’s ridiculous—I think people must sleep with pitchforks under their pillows. Now, though, things have changed. For example, more gay characters are allowed to be villains. I’ve waited a long time for that.

You’ve infused a lot of very serious topics into your comedy, such as your brother’s passing. How do you find the humor in some of these situations?
My brother’s suicide haunted me for a long time. I had a period in my life where a lot of crappy things happened. Then I had cancer. I do a lot of comedy about cancer right now; it’s my only response. I think eventually, in your life, whatever happens to you becomes fodder for comedy. Eventually, everything can be funny.

Scott Thompson performs at the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead on Saturday, July 19.  Mehran Khaghani and Erin Judge will open.  Admission is $40. The bar and restaurant open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Purchase tickets at suffolktheater.com. For Thompson’s podcast, go to scottfreepodcast.com.

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