In 2011, I was broke, living in Toronto, working three part time jobs I hated, and no one would hire me.
I had started doing some stand up to get a bit of unpaid stage time, but it wasn’t enough. I had come to the big smoke to make my mark and the closest I had come was meeting a guy named Mark.
Struggling with my situation, I decided that I needed to make a change and that I should write my own show. I had never written a show before but did have a stable of characters to draw from. I realized quickly that only one of my characters would be interesting enough for a full show.
In 2007, Jacob Richmond and I created the character of God for a skit in the cult cabaret Atomic Vaudeville. In Jacob’s original sketch, the character was meant to be an aggressive Englishman. On the first night, the character bombed. Jacob’s writing was strong but something was off. I went home and tried to figure out how to make this British head master God work. The next day I traded the fiery, red wig I had worn for a short black bob. I traded my sunglasses for a subtle pair of reading glasses worn at the tip of my nose, and instead of an aggressive English accent, I went with a Scottish lilt. This changed everything.
All of a sudden the character could be as mean and aggressive as before but now, it was a part of the joke. The audience could go along with the bizarre rather than watch it from the outside. This was the first moment I played the character that would change my life. It was this character that would be the star of my first one man show four years later. I booked the Victoria Event Centre for a night. Now I had a deadline. I didn’t have a show, but I had a deadline. The biggest issue at the time was what the hell do I call this show about God?
The title I had been thinking of was “My Invisible Best Friend.” It didn’t have the ring I wanted it to have. I felt I needed to let people know what the character was in the title. I wanted people to know that God was Scottish and wore a dress. As I got closer to the date the tickets would go on sale, that description was the one that stayed with me.
So on April 8, 2011 “God Is A Scottish Drag Queen” had its world premiere. A 7pm show sold out quickly so a late show was added. With a massive amount of improvised material, the first show was 90 minutes long and the second, nearly two hours. The show was a success. Later that year I came back to Victoria to do the show as a part of the Fringe Festival. The 50-seat Fort Street Café was where my show lived for nine days. Tickets sold quickly. One day I walked past the venue hours before the show, and saw a small line had already begun. I thought to myself: maybe I have something here.
The show has since sold out major theatres and festivals across North America. Last year, part two made its world premiere to even better reviews and bigger audiences and right now I’m writing part three.
I am still shocked by the show’s success and that folks still wait hours in line to see my silliness.
At the end of my show I try to take the time to make sure the audience knows how much I appreciate their kindness. The simple fact that they choose to spend their hard earned money, and their time with me in the hopes that I can make them giggle for a an hour or so, means the world to me and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II
Metro Studio Theatre
May 8 & 9
God Is A Scottish Drag Queen III
Tickets available at www.mikedelamont.com