He wrote the book on it. (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)
Scott Thompson of The Kids in the Hall fame closed a three-night stand at Joe's Pub in NYC Sunday night with Aprés le Déluge: The Buddy Cole Monologues, an interesting, aggressive set that rounded up pieces from the acerbic, terminally flamboyant character's entire existence.
Some of the older monologues retained their humor in spite of feeling dated, including once-savage quips about HIV (“First, they said it was from poppers, so I didn't worry because I never used them. Then they said it was in semen. That gave me pause.”), but others felt more relevant than ever, and his newer pieces soared and scored.
As he began his take on #MeToo, he wryly noted that some would say he'd already gone too far on the topic, even before he started talking. Buddy Cole — born too far.
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Thompson's outrageous and outrage-filled Cole is one of many swishy queens in comedy, and looking around at the audience of youngish, straightish people (gays, too, but not as many as I'd presumed), one had to wonder if a lot of the enjoyment was from watching a simpering queen rather than truly understanding that Cole is a reclaiming of faggotry, not the gay version of Stepin Fetchit, and is therefore pretty fucking bad-ass and, dare we say, post-progressive. Cole may be a type, but his nasty edge and unapologetically unhelpful embrace of soft morals and hard drugs give him more teeth than Mr. Pangborn, the Men on Film girls and Dina Martina combined. That means he isn't going to be for everyone — his particularly bitter rants about #MeToo, trans children and millennials who expect to be treated with respect, and his character's flippant use of 'N-word please' will either make you guffaw or gasp.
This ain't Marc Maron, people!
That valley between the chuckle and the tongue-cluck was where Thompson was at his best, and where he was visibly most energized — mocking the sacred in search of uncomfy truth. For example, after saying that gay men and lesbians getting along is like those unusual animal friendships you see in Facebook videos, Cole gleefully trashed Hannah Gadsby's acclaimed Nanette as so much “boo-hoo,” scoring with his best line of the night:
If I wanted a lecture from a lesbian, I'd do a line of coke in front of a security guard at a Pride event.
It's funny because it's you.
Thompson closed the evening with a special performance of the monologue that got him his Kids in the Hall troupe gig. It's still funny as hell: