Catching Up With Scott Thompson
By Ned Ehrbar
Scott Thompson's been on a bit of a bumpy road. After rising to prominence as a member of The Kids in the Hall, the actor, comedian, and writer found his career stalling. Then, in 2009, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stomach cancer. Now cancer-free, Thompson is mounting a comeback, with a new Kids in the Hall series and a graphic novel, Husk: The Hollow Planet, starring one of his Kids in the Hall characters, which he previewed in San Diego at Comic-Con. Out caught up with Thompson to chat about Comic-Con, why he decided to pen a graphic novel, and why sometimes gays can be each others' -- and their own -- worst enemies.
Out: How's your first Comic-Con been?
Scott Thompson: Oh, it's been fantastic. I'm having a great time. But honestly, I think it's gotten a little too big. There's certain things that I go, 'What the hell are they doing here? Really?'
Well... Burn Notice? Lego? MythBusters?
What made you decide to write a graphic novel?
Originally I thought I was going to make it a novel, and then I went, 'Well, let's see, this may not be a novel. Let's do it as a screenplay.' It took me a couple of years to write that. And then I started to peddle it around with my naivete, thinking, 'Oh yeah, people are going to make a $200-million picture starring an obscure gay comedian from Canada. Yeah, that's how Hollywood works!'
I don't know if I'd say obscure...
I'm not obscure. Cult. How about cult? I'm not Will Ferrell, do you know what I mean? I'm not Jack Black. Plus at the time my career was really on the up-and-up, and I just kind of assumed in the arrogance of the first blush of fame that maybe this would continue that way. But life slapped me around a little bit. I was also a little na've thinking I'd be able to escape the stereotype box. And I found that that wasn't possible. Maybe at the time it wasn't possible. So I decided -- and this was 10 years ago -- I went, 'You know, no one seems to want to let me play anything. They just want to make me these boring gay characters. How do I get out of this?' So I looked at my canon of characters and I went, 'Who do I play that couldn't be straighter?' And I went, Danny Husk.
What do you think you took away, lesson-wise, from "life slapping you around"?
Oh man, that's a good one. That also comes in with cancer. The making of things is the joy, not the end product. And no one deserves anything. When people say to me now after my rough time, 'You deserve this.' I go, 'Well I don't really.' That's what screwed me up before, thinking that I deserve to have a major movie career and I deserve to be carried around on a litter by thousands of gay men because I was first. I deserve all this. But the truth is, that's not how life works.
You mentioned about problems with casting. There was Ramin Setoodeh's Newsweek editorial about out actors recently. Any reaction to that?
I'm not remotely surprised that he was a gay writer. Not remotely. In fact, I knew he had to be a gay writer because -- at the risk of skirting bitterness -- my experience has been that the people that have hurt me the most, that have tried to stop me the most, have been gay men. And that's a terrible thing to realize. And the worst gay man in my way was me.
And why is that?
Enemies in the mirror. And I think that goes for every minority. Stop blaming whitey, stop blaming the straight man, stop blaming the United States, whatever. The enemy's you.
Do you think the entertainment industry has changed much since then?
Well, yeah, to a point. I mean, there is not a single openly gay actor that has a major career, except for Neil Patrick Harris. But he came out well into his career.
There are a few younger actors who are starting out out.
Maybe they have a chance. Yeah, they do. I wish them well. I hope they can do it. I think there's definitely a double standard with male and female homosexuality. I mean, it is much easier for women than men. The male homosexual is much more feared and loathed than the female homosexual.