Like a breath of ironic fresh air, Scott Thompson, best known for his part in the quirky "Kids in the Hall" sketch comedy series, brought laughter and ridiculousness to UB's Center for the Arts Friday.
As Thompson entered the CFA from the back entrance doors, the audience heard muttering intermingled with swearing, as he made his way toward the stage. Finding comedy in even the most routine things, Thompson addressed an usher on his way toward the stage.
"Are you really an usher or do you just dress like one because it looks so damn sexy?" said Thompson.
Outfitted with an upholstered chair, a table with wigged mannequin heads and a coat rack, the stage resembled an elderly woman's living room. Thompson sashayed onstage to transform into his first character: a grandmother who encompasses the oddest characteristics of innumerable grandmothers.
Grandma doesn't like Oprah because there is "too much hugging." As she spoke of her doctor's new cure for cancer, the audience got a taste of what was to come, at which point many realized this was not going to be a family oriented show.
Thompson changed back to his regular persona, talking about growing up in Canada and how much he loved Buffalo while relating all of the city's worst qualities, garnering laughter from a crowd that could relate to what he was saying.
He spoke of the students performing in the other events at the CFA that night, seeing them as very young and optimistic although he "just [doesn't] have the heart to say 'none of you will make it.'"
Thompson had a one-man show slated to open in New York City on Sept. 18, and was scheduled to arrive for rehearsals on Sept. 12. Thompson treated the events of Sept. 11 flippantly. As he talked about the war with Afghanistan, including his theory on Osama bin Laden's sexual preference, he said he related to the nation's drive to eliminate its enemy.
"I'm a soldier in the war against bad comedy: kill Adam Sandler," Thompson exclaimed.
He then gave his top 10 list of how his life has changed since Sept. 11, including the fact that he no longer travels domestically with marijuana. Thompson also spoke of the trip he took with his brother to New York City after the tragedy, told as if they were Canadians "just off the turnip truck."
Thompson revived some characters that most of the audience were familiar with from "Kids in the Hall," the first being Queen Elizabeth playing on a double entendre involving bare-backing. The Queen informed the audience that royal law specified that she not have fun anymore.
Other characters included Francesca Fiore, singing a song about a young girl and the love she lost in a fire in the cookie factory she worked in illegally. Buddy Cole, a favorite among the cult "Kids" following, was met with the most enthusiasm from the audience.
Entering from a side entrance to the beat of Arabian music, Thompson (as Cole) swaggered to the stage in a full-length burka. He removed his facial scarf to reveal Cole's character, who loves traveling in drag in the Middle East and regales the audience with tales of his sexual encounters with Saddam Hussein's son, and later Saddam himself.
Other characters included a "New Yawk grief counselor," not unlike the Linda Richman character from "Saturday Night Live." The charismatic social worker was able to take a "broken little bird" from the audience and cured his inner problems. A lewd French-Canadian character, complete with mullet and T-shirt and underwear ensemble, also made an appearance.
Thompson truly "bared it all," stripping down to his underwear between costume changes and inserting numerous personal anecdotes into his sarcastic humor. While the informal and conversational show unnerved some in attendance, Thompson's persona alone made the show a success among the already converted.