Kids in the Hall Alum Scott Thompson on Hannibal and Why Being Gay Is Now Boring
On NBC’s Silence of The Lambs prequel Hannibal, which airs Thursdays at 10 p.m., Scott Thompson plays a forensic investigator who says creepy things like “supplication is the most common form of prayer,” while standing over a gutted cadaver. Thompson is best known, of course, as a troupe member of the Canadian cult sketch-comedy show The Kids in the Hall, which ran on HBO from 1989 to 1995. Portraying characters like Buddy Cole, the lisping gay bar owner, Thompson wasn’t just the only gay guy in the village, he was one of the first gay men out on television, period. And what a cool gay he was. Vulture met Thompson for a coffee and spoke to him about Anthony Hopkins’s Hannibal, Kids memories, and why being a gay man today is sort of boring.
With Anthony Hopkins’s Lecter, you could imagine him being a psychiatrist one would go to. But Mads Mikkelsen's is like Nosferatu crossed with a Nazi; I like him on the show, but he’s such a creep, no one would ever see him as a shrink.
I think he’s amazing, better than Hopkins.
Well, Hopkins became so ingrained in popular culture: “I can smell your cunt.”
You’re not talking to me? Because I douched today.
How did you get involved with the show?
I auditioned! I was thinking my career is over. After Kids in the Hall and The Larry Sanders Show, I got stereotyped and couldn’t do anything but the boring gay character and I didn’t want to do that. And then the world changed. It drastically changed. It’s bewildering to me. It’s breathtaking.
Growing up, you were really the only gay man I saw on TV. Now that's not the case. It seems like there is nothing to rebel against anymore. The seediness and subculture element of being gay is receding.
This whole marriage thing, I mean I understand it and I’m for it, but my heart isn’t in it. For my generation, it was just staying alive. Gay marriage never crossed my mind! Lesbians hoisted it upon us. I don’t know how a young gay guy can rebel any longer. When I was young, homosexuals were interesting and flawed. They were artists and hung out in cafés and were like Jean Genet, Gore Vidal, and James Baldwin. They were underground and shaping culture. The ones you heard about were the very gifted. The ones who were regular folks were married and in the closet and had their sex in parks. Now all the regular folks are gay and we don’t seem as interesting any longer. I guess that’s progress. I wouldn’t want to have to go back to the time where I had to hide everything.
But you never did!
I didn’t, but I paid a very high price. Physical, psychic, spiritual. I’ve had a great career, but not for the last ten years. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t want to play these neutered gay guys. I’m an actor — I can play anybody. On Kids in the Hall I played everybody. But people forgot about that. The great gay parts I wasn’t allowed to have. I couldn’t be in To Wong Foo or Jeffrey. I almost got cast in As Good As It Gets and it went to Greg Kinnear and he was nominated for an Oscar. They never would have given that to a gay person. Now they would. I think. I hope.
How did you get involved with Kids in the Hall?
I wanted to be a dramatic actor and be funny on talk shows. One night a friend took me to a midnight show of Kids in the Hall in Toronto ... I told my friend, “I’m going to be in that group.” I knew. I said, “They need me.” I had no idea how I knew that. I threw doughnuts at them. They taped doughnuts under the seats for some reason — I don’t remember why — so I whipped doughnuts at them. I had to be noticed. Later that night I introduced myself to them. I was doing theater for improvisation and they came and saw me perform. I used to be nutty and wear pearls and pantsuits and glue cigarettes to my ear and have spiked hair. I would wear overalls with no underwear and you could see everything. They were intrigued and asked me to do a guest spot with them and I never left. I arrived with tons of wigs and dresses. My advice to anybody is: Make yourself indispensable. I made myself useful and I wouldn’t let go; they couldn’t get rid of me. The moment I was in, I swallowed the key. It was love at first sight and it was my path and what I was supposed to do. I married four straight men. For five years we never spoke after the disaster that was Brain Candy [the Kids’ notorious 1996 flop].
I liked Brain Candy!
Me too! But our lives fell apart. There was a lot of tragedy around that movie, marriages broke up and my brother committed suicide. It was ugly. It took a long time to heal.
Where do you live now?
I lived in L.A. for years, but I got sick with cancer and returned to Toronto in 2009.
Oh god. Was it karma for making fun of cancer in Brain Candy?
It was karma for something. I had non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Did you go back to Toronto for the free health care?
Yeah. One day I was fine, the next day I had pain. They fixed me. I had chemo and radiation and all that shit and it took a while to recover. That’s when I started to really concentrate on standup. I was like, I’m really not afraid of anything any more. Cancer resets everything if you’re lucky to make it. I went, If I come back I’m going to attack this career in a different way and be grateful and joyful. I’m going to get onstage and be who I am, a performer, and not worry about people stereotyping me or not getting my due. Let go of all that bullshit.
Where is Hannibal filmed? In Canada?
I wanna go to Montreal.
Montreal is wonderful. It is so sexy. There are sex clubs and bath houses and French-Canadians have kilometers of foreskin.
[quote] Well, Hopkins became so ingrained in popular culture: “I can smell your cunt.”
Anthony Hopkins is an actor. The character he played was Hannibal Lector. Hannibal Lector did not say, "I can smell your cunt."
Too bad the show's not getting good reviews, though.
Your sexuality is boring? Join the club.
Ugh, more "I'm not unique anymore" whining.
Thompson is a DLer, isn't he?
He's right though. They never would have given "As Good as it Gets" to a real life gay.
He makes no sense when he says when I was young and compares himself to Gore Vidal and James Baldwin who are not only dead but WAY older than him.
*Thompson* says it was between him and Kinnear. Well Kinnear was better looking, he looked more like a star, and he's a decent actor. I think they just went with the actor with greater magnetism. Thompson's just a comic character actor, he wasn't destined for anything like Kinnear's career.
Kilometers of foreskin. Yum!
People don't realize how much hatred there was even just a few years ago. I had some corporate jobs where I was the only "out" person and other people used to discuss amongst themselves thinking up other reasons why I was held back in my career because of course in their minds there was no real homophobia. In one they decided I didn't "dress for success" even though I wore the same clothes, even a little nicer, than what everyone else did. In the second, they decided it was my fault for going to X city after graduation. One of the champions of this theory was a boss who when the department expanded hired five people to a new job description higher than mine. All five were my exact age and grew up with a five mile radius of me (a compliment to my work ethic I think, which was attributed not to me but the town I grew up in). All were hired at a higher salary, and all were straight (well, one was closeted but they didn't know it). And all were fired when it turned out they were not better and smarter than me. In truth, it was all homophobic games.
One of the most frightening things about Silence of the Lambs is that Lecter was a brilliant psychiatrist who was fully functional in the world of the ordinary. The more outlandish his murders where in subsequent movies, the less scary he was. He got away with his original murders because he wasn't a scary, creepy boogeyman. Clarice opens up to him, despite herself. And she seems very clumsy next to him ... As she should. She is starting her career and he is an old pro at his.
It's not until he gets locked up that he gets too creepy to pass for a brilliant, successful psychiatrist who no one suspects is a murderer. So showing all these prequels of Lecter as a smouldering creep just doesn't work.
Oops, that was too much. Actually only three of them grew up near me although some other people were hired at my level who also grew up near me.
But all five were my exact age, which was older than my boss'.
I don't disagree with him re: gay culture. I am engaged so I am very much for marriage. I just wish there was as much diversity within LGBT culture as their is in straight culture. I appreciate cutting edge culture and people who push boundaries, and when we've been reduced to only people who look like "Modern Family" being OK, that dulls the edges.
I see him at the baths all the time. Nice guy.
I loved brain candy. It hurts that they hate it.
Scott is SO nice, and SO real! He has given me more laughs than I can count. He shares a pedestal(and a special place in my heart) with Lily Tomlin.
My favorite kid in the hall.
When I saw the first KITH special on HBO, I busted a gut for days when Buddy Cole said "you know that feeling you get when you don't know if it's going to be a shit or a fart but you let her rip anyway?"
That was an inside joke among my circle of friends at the time...we lived for Kids in the Hall.
Oh, this asshole again! He called out the gay victims of bullying, saying that they need to man up and stop whining. Fuck this pos! He's Canadian. Try being gay in the United States, asshole, with the religious fundies all over the place!
'Kids in the Hall' Comic to Bullied Youth: 'Grow a Pair'
“Here’s the thing: The world is not kind to us; it never really will be. The gay male is always going to be at the bottom. I believe the things that happened to me as a child scarred me terribly, and I wish somebody would have helped me with some of the things that happened. But you have to fight back. So much of these bullying campaigns are part of the trend that we were just talking about—the recasting of gay men as eternal victims and it’s like, fight back! Fathers should start teaching the boys how to punch. He does that to you, here’s what you do: You fucking punch him in the face.”
Comedian/Kids in the Hall alum Scott Thompson, discussing the failures of the It Gets Better campaign, in PrideSource
Thompson on women:
Straight women feminize gay men because they hate themselves, and because they’re afraid to pick on straight men.
He's right. When gay men became mainstream and urban/urbane tokens, they have ceased to be interesting.
Culture will suffer because of it.
Sometimes he's right, and sometimes he's wrong, but he's unreadable in your format, OP.
Thanks r21-23, not only does he blame the victim, he's blaming children specifically, for their victimization. Totally unacceptable. They don't deserve it and now some attention if finally being paid to how gay kids are abused by the school system.
Thompson's just a desperate, flailing, never-was saying obnoxious, inflammatory crap for attention.
He was the best Kids In The Hall actor, though; I could never even take Dave Foley seriously when he wasn't playing a woman.
oh for god's sake R26 he didn't say kids should be bullied or there should be no laws against it....he just said we should fight back ... he's a comic not Martin Luther King ... and yet he did more for gay visibility than you ever will
Slightly off topic, but since we are sort of discussing the TV show "Hannibal" and Mads Mikkelson, you should check out his movie, The Hunt. He was amazing in it.
r28, his advice is totally unrealistic and insulting, similar to Nancy Reagan thinking she'd solved the drug problem with her vapid "Just Say No" campaign. He can't make it on talent, so he tries to get some attention by being an obnoxious contrarian.
R30, wouldn't it be useful for everyone, especially people more likely to be bullied or abused in one way or another, to learn basic self-defense like knowing how to throw a proper punch?
The kids who can fight back do, the ones who aren't going to be tough no matter what shouldn't be told they just need to "grow a pair." Thompson knew the comment was inflammatory, he chose to play with fire and can't complain about getting burnt now.
again R28, you need a healthy dose of perspective.
No one had ever seriously interviewed Scott about policy. Nor was he giving serious advice, serious commentary on anti-bullying laws, or endorsing bullying.
He was (1) being interviewed about his comedy act (2) specifically said he couldn't fight back as a kid, and (3) was talking about his prior comments about the It Gets Better campaign as giving false hope. AGAIN this was not policy commentary, it's an interview about his comedy routine and media campaigns
Scott and the Kids took on bullying repeatedly as comedians - e.g., in the "Running Faggot" sketch, in the sketch where played a bully being told off by a gay vampire and on and on. He and the Kids made a huge cultural impact in talking about homophobia. He specifically explained how comedians deal with issues in comedy the way we can't in the real world.
If Scott had been asked about laws punishing bullies and said what he said, we'd have a different argument, but he didn't. He wasn't commenting on law at all.
So read the interview, have some perspective and stop
being so overwrought about this. Grow a pair.
Marriage isn't love, suckers.
You should never give up outsider status. No one cool does.
30 Helens agree ... gay culture is neutered.
30 Helens ... agree!
For all you Scott Thompson haters, he has a pot belly.
Saw it myself at the baths. And he is cut.
r33, he has a podcast where he spouts this nonsense. He's blaming the victim. Go fuck yourself. You're probably Thompson himself. A gay kid surrounding by 20 homophobes is not going to be able to defend himself, and most teachers and principals have issues with homosexuality themselves. Kids are killing themselves, and he's telling them to "grow a pair." "Grow a pair" is what people say to kids that are wimps. It's the "stop whining, you pussy."
[quote]Too bad the show's not getting good reviews, though.
That's a damn lie.
The show isn't getting great ratings though, unfortunately.
Learning how to 'throw a punch' would not have saved Matthew Shepherd. Bigots never attack one-on-one because they're cowards. They gang up on people. Thompson was clearly not picked on if he doesn't understand that.
I'm so tired of dinosaurs complaining that gay people are 'less interesting'. It's co-dependent thinking. That somehow living in fear and acting out dysfunctionally because of self-loathing, is more 'interesting' than just being able to be free. He's trapped in a closet mentally and doesn't realize it. Acting out is not freedom.
you're pathetic, r38.
As I wrote the first time, if you actually bother to read the interview, he says he's not talking about realism - he says he couldn't have defended himself. He's talking about it in the context of comedy and NOT saying there should be no laws or that bullies shouldn't be punished.
You're twisting what he's saying, which is only that we shouldn't have to take it. And if you cough up this podcast, you will be proven wrong again - show us the text where he says bullies shouldn't be punished, or kids shouldn't be protected.
Even his body of work as a comedian for 30 years says he's not the blame the victim type.
Saying I'm Scott shows what kind of paranoid little world you live in.
You're too o
Troll-dar R38 and you can see the loser oozing off the screen.
You and R40 should form a club.
Where did he say bullies should be allowed to bully? Or that every kid can defend himself?
The above posters are correct. He's a comic.
You humorless hysterics are the classic irrational victim.
R41= blah blah blah. He said what he said, and the meaning is self evident. You're an idiot.
R42 is an even bigger moron. Self-loathing creeps who think that 'humor' trumps critical thinking skills. You're basically the gay version of the people who think Anne Coulter is great because she's 'funny', and that anyone who criticizes her 'doesn't get it'. But we DO get it. She and Scott are two narcissistic idiots who think that they are brilliant rather than just antiquated and tiresome.
Yes, r42, PLEASE TROLL-DAR ME!
[quote]you're pathetic, [R38].
and you're a self-loathing piece of shit!
Too bad Scott is a nobody. If he was, Dan Savage would have ripped him a new one, shutting him up forever. Scott would probably start crying. He was attacking the "It Gets Better" campaign. You should listen to his shitty podcast.
I love how people make excuses for self-loathing shitbags because they're fans of their work. So many gays will gladly throw themselves under the bus. How many times have we heard the classic: "But he's hot."? We won't be hearing that one because Scott is ugly inside and out.
But look, they're defending this idiot because they're every bit as self-loathing.
The mental illness on DL continues.
I was out at age 18. I've been at pride marches and have worked for Lambda. Self-loathing I am not.
Nor is Scott Thompson. He was out in the 80s BEFORE most every other gay celebrity was. He had guts.
I loathe Anne Coulter. And if she and Scott Thompson are comparable, you are a lunatic.
You throw around words like self-loathing and are attacking a comic for things he didn't say.
You're mentally ill.
Really difficult to read that OP. Can't tell where the question stops and the answers begin. Please don't post in such a shitty way.
R46...you're a psychiatrist now, as well?
You're a dinosaur, just like Thompson. A pathetic dinosaur who still thinks that the gay ghetto is edgy. We're not "mentally ill", you're just a relic. Get yourself bronzed.
R46 is correct, R48 is worthless.
And an ageist, know-nothing prick.
R48 eats piles of maggot infested shit.
R48, I apologize for my prior comment.
I just read this article about you and hadn't realized you were mentally ill.