Of Vaudevilles all Atomic, Cabbages and Dragqueens
I don't believe in a God, but I like to think that if one ever did exist that they would have to be logical, understanding, and have a sense of humour.
by Mike Delamont
The original idea for God Is A Scottish Drag Queen began in 2006 at a monthly cabaret called Atomic Vaudeville. In this particular episode of SNL style sketch comedy, Jesus would be fighting against Satan in a traditional “battle of the bands”. We liked the idea that God was a man in a dress who never made mention of it. On our first night I wore a bright red wig and some sunglasses along with my floral power suit that I still use today, and I spoke with a dense and aggressive English accent. Some folks laughed, but the reaction was far less than what we had hoped it would be. Myself and the character's co-creator Jacob Richmond (Creator of LegoLand, Qualities of Zero, and Ride the Cyclone) had a brief conversation after the show to figure out why it didn’t work, and I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. I decided I would sleep on it. When I got to the theatre the next day I had decided that I needed to change my wig and glasses to something more proper, and instead of the original english accent, which seemed too mean for the audience to enjoy, I would change it to something more melodic. And so on the second day, God became Scottish.
In 2011, I applied to the Fringe in my home town of Victoria BC but didn't get in. I was living in Toronto at the time and wasn’t doing much performing there and so I decided that on a trip home in April I would do a show. I booked the space, designed the poster, and got myself a plane ticket. Did I have a show? Nope. A script? Not at all.
In April, I sold out 2 performances in one night of the very first show of God Is A Scottish Drag Queen. I had fussed over what I would call the show and had a number of other options. High on my list was “My Invisible Best Friend”, but for people who didn’t know the character, it needed to be something more specific. A very plain and simple description of the character would end up being the title. The show as it stands today is a 70-minute performance, but back in April the show was just shy of 2 hours.
I have been called out on a few occasions because my show is not that religious, and I always like to respond by saying that the people who actually understand all of the religious jokes are not likely to attend God Is A Scottish Drag Queen. To be honest I try to stay away from a lot of it. The sequel to the show has far more political and religious content, but I try to keep it light. My show is not a drama, nor is it an education. It's a show to come and to laugh at. A critic once asked why I don’t talk about the pedophilia scandals that have rocked the church, and honestly it's not the style of the show. There are lots of things that I would like to preach to an audience about but if its not funny and doesn’t fit the character, it doesn’t get the green light.
I didn't want to do this show after she passed. I didn't want to do anything actually. I worried that it would be too hard. My mother had always been a stage mom. She saw all of my shows and always had notes for me, written in her trademark illegible handwriting, along the borders of the show's programme. I didn’t want to get on stage and look out to the darkness of the theatre and know she wasn't there. She always sat at the very back of the theatre because she knew that I liked to pick on people, and because she always wanted to watch people watching me. In a strange turn of events, a week before she died, she was at a show of mine and she stood up at the back of the audience to stretch her legs and before I knew it was her, I had already called her out. I was gentle, and she was funny and it remains one of my favourite moments in life. What her sitting at the back gave me is a tool that has made me the performer I am today. When she sat at the back of the house, all of a sudden I wasn’t just performing to the folks at the front. I was walking the stage, talking to every person in the theatre. All of a sudden the back of the house became just as important as the front.
This past summer I was able to perform in Montreal, Toronto, New York, Las Vegas, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria. My shows were sold out for the most part and I couldn’t be happier for the way people have embraced what I do. It has been such a long process with the character that I often forget that I actually wrote the show. People often tease me because of how I end my shows. Critics have said that I should end on a big laugh and leave the stage, but I don’t. At the end of every show I try to take a moment to thank the audience for being there. For them it's a night out. Maybe they have gone to dinner before or plan to do drinks after, and my show is an hour of entertainment. For me, their attending my shows means that this is how I get to make my living. I never cease to be amazed that there is an audience when I take the stage and it's difficult for me to express how grateful I am for the fact that they are there, that they tell their friends about the show, and that when I come back with new shows they are just as supportive. It means the world to me.
Mr. Delamont has just finished filming his first comedy special "Mike Delamont: Husky Panda" that will air on TV next year, and is currently in pre-production for another television show.
Mike Delamont: Husky Panda plays the Metro Studio Theatre in Victoria BC on November 10th at 7:00pm. Tickets available are $12 and available at www.ticketrocket.org
God Is A Scottish Drag Queen (Nov 14 at 8pm, Nov 16 at 7pm, Nov 17 at 7pm)
God Is A Scottish Drag Queen 2: The Second Coming (Nov 15 at 8pm, Nov 16 at 9pm, Nov 17 at 9pm)
Mike Delamont: Husky Panda (Nov 16 at 11pm, Nov 17 at 11pm)
All playing at the MainLine Theatre in Montreal QC from November 14 - 17. Tickets are $17 and available from www.mainlinetheatre.ca
Mike Delamont Live plays the McPherson Playhouse in Victoria BC on December 12 at 7:30. Tickets are $37 and available at www.rmts.bc.ca
(Delamont will make history being the first local comedian to play a show on the stage of the 750 seat, 98 year old McPherson Playhouse)