In these uncertain times, everyone needs a buddy they can call on — so Scott Thompson is answering that call. Revitalizing his beloved Kids in the Hall character Buddy Cole, the Canadian-born actor will be bringing a series of monologues, aptly titled “Après Le Déluge: The Buddy Cole Monologues,” to Somerville’s ONCE Ballroom for a trio of shows April 5 through April 7.
The monologues, which can really only be effectively delivered in the vain of Cole’s signature snark and sass, will cover issues and events from the time he made his last appearance on the Kids in the Hall finale in 1994 to the current day, and Thompson is looking forward to what lies ahead for the latest re-incarnation of his ground-breaking alter-ego.
“I’m feeling great about this,” Thompson tells Vanyaland. “It’s a real thrill to be doing Buddy again. It’s very exciting, because I love to be on stage, and we’re in a very perfect time for Buddy Cole right now.”
Thompson recently moved back to the states after relocating home to Canada eight years ago, where he polished his stand-up skills with the intention of returning to California once he was ready to strut his fine-tuned material. When he made his return, Thompson realized that being Buddy Cole gave him a bit more freedom to say what he truly felt on stage, without much of a filter.
“When I came back, and started doing more stand-up, things were going really well,” he adds. “But I found that I really missed Buddy, and I also discovered that there were things I would say on stage that would make people very uncomfortable, whereas if Buddy were saying it, he would probably get away with it.”
It was that discomfort in his audience that brought Thompson to the decision to fully resurrect Buddy Cole, and the fact that he knew that Buddy could give scathing insight to the political climate did not escape Thompson’s mind.
“We are in a really polarizing time right now, much like it was during the heyday of Kids in the Hall, and Buddy is a character who could say anything,” says Thompson. “There is so much stuff that I’ve written for him that no one has seen, because I’m always writing for Buddy, and there came a point where I just thought it would be great to go back to those monologues, and sort of trace the last 23 years of history through Buddy Cole.”
While it’s Thompson’s passion to be on stage as an entertainer, and ultimately to keep the spirit of Buddy Cole alive and vibrant as ever, as an openly gay man, he also feels somewhat of a responsibility to use Cole as a conduit for the voice of the LGBT community, especially in today’s social and political climate, when Thompson knows Cole can handle certain situations with a cooler head.
“Buddy has been around for a long time, so he’s seen a lot of changes in the way things are,” Thompson reflects. “Like, there was one time where I was on stage and I said ‘faggot’, and some girl in the front row called me out on it, so I got into it with her, and all I could think was ‘how fucking dare you lecture me on this,’ and while I admittedly did not handle that well, I know that if it were Buddy on that stage, he would just eviscerate her in a comedic way, and kept a cool head the whole time.”
The chance to bring Buddy Cole back to the stage is a triumph of sorts for Thompson, who has come face to face with a number of personal tribulations “after the flood” (French translation: “après le déluge”) of Kids in the Hall, including a terrorist attack on his home in 2000, a cancer diagnosis in 2009, and financial troubles in connection with the cancer treatments he couldn’t afford in the states.
To come back from that and continue with their passion can be a mountainous feat for anybody, and Thompson was no exception, having hit rock bottom, both creatively and mentally. But the reason to come back to the stage, with Buddy Cole in tow, was pretty simple — he really didn’t have a choice.
“I’m the kind of person that if I’m not creating, I’m not happy,” Thompson admits. “Once I got better, and started going to stand-up clubs, to essentially re-invent myself, I got my mojo back, because I just love performing. Even if I’m not going to gain success from this, I’m till going to keep doing this, because that’s how I’m built.”
APRÈS LE DÉLUGE: THE BUDDY COLE MONOLOGUES :: Thursday, April 5 to Saturday, April 7 at ONCE Ballroom, 165 Highland Ave. in Somerville, MA :: 6:15 p.m., all ages, $20 :: Advance tickets: Night 1 + Night 2 [Night 3 is sold out] :: ONCE event page :: Facebook event page :: Featured SCott Thompson photo via Guinivan PR