Preview: Scott Thompson brings his "too hot to handle" lounge lizard to the Rodeo

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When comedian Scott Thompson performs at this year’s High Performance Rodeo, he will be girded for battle and promises to take no prisoners.

Thompson will present King, his new stand-up show featuring lounge lizard Buddy Cole, in the Martha Cohen Theatre on Jan. 18-21. It will feature monologues he’s been writing for the past 18 months, plus several he wrote for the Amazon Prime eight-episode revival season of Kids in the Hall in 2022. Those monologues never aired.

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“Buddy was too hot for Amazon to handle. I loved doing the Amazon series, and am proud of it, but all this new censorship is getting really scary. It’s not just the religious right anymore, but the secular left that is targeting the LGBTQ+ community, and the community itself is equally at fault, so Buddy has been called back into battle. He has always been my greatest warrior, because, with him, I feel safe to say even the most outrageous things, and I’m talking aim at all of them,” says Thompson.

For those people who might be offended by some of the show’s content, Thompson says, “If you don’t like it, deal with it. That’s your problem, not mine.”

The well-known comedian and actor who starred in the comedy troupe Kids in the Hall already tested most of the material and happily reports, “If an audience laughs, and jumps to their feet at the end, you know you’re winning the war. Amazon won the battle, but I’m winning the war.

“I know there are things in the show that will make some people uncomfortable, but they’re meant to. It’s what Buddy has always been all about, but, pound for pound, King has more honest laughs in it than anything I’ve done before. Comedy has always terrified people in power, and it’s beginning to unsettle others as well.”

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Expect Scott Thompson’s alter-ego Buddy Cole to be more outrageous and provocative in the new show, King, at High Performance Rodeo. cal

His character Buddy, with his ever-present cigarette, martini glass and wicked disdainful sneer, has been a part of Thompson’s theatrical life for more than 40 years.

“I had just finished university and wasn’t openly gay. I didn’t want the abuse that often went with being a gay performer so I hid behind my characters. Buddy was my first super gay voice. Initially, he was a vampire, sort of inspired by Lestat from Interview with the Vampire. He’s no longer a vampire, but he carries the confidence of a vampire. He knows you can’t hurt him. You certainly can’t rattle him.”

For Thompson, Buddy is like Ronnie Burkett’s puppets or drag queens. They’re a mask the comedian hides behind that allows him to say the most scandalous, flamboyant, boundary-pushing things.

“Straight men, in particular, are afraid of the effeminate male and it’s easier for them if the male is playing a character or is in drag. This is the reason we have no openly gay comedians. Buddy does all the talking for me which means you might be able to silence me on camera, but you can’t shut me up on stage.”

Joining Thompson in the first week of the 2024 High Performance Rodeo is Calgary comedian Carisa Hendrix whose alter ego, Lucy Darling, is also a world-renowned magician. Indulgence, her comedy and magic show, runs in the Big Secret Theatre Jan. 17-20. With Apres Lucy, on Jan. 17, 18 and 20, Hendrix offers a close-up magic and comedy show for 25 people.

The Storyville Mosquito, which runs Jan. 17, 18 and 19 at the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, is a family show that features miniature sets, live puppetry, captivating cinematography, and a live performance by Kid Koala and a string trio.

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks presents the world premiere of Olio, a collection of the company’s latest works, at the DJD Dance Centre Jan. 18-20 and again Jan. 23-27.

For more information about all the shows at this year’s Rodeo, check out oyr.org/hprodeo.com or pick up a brochure at the Rabbit’s box office on the second floor of Arts Commons.

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