Comedian Mike Delamont brings judgment, and laughs, with his successful stage series ‘God is a Scottish Drag Queen’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Mike Delamont is a critically acclaimed and award winning comedian from the Great White North, and he has sold out show after show at Orlando Fringe and at Fringe festivals across the world. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because Delamont’s fame doesn’t come from his own name, it comes from his character, which throughout the festival circuit, and a few religious organizations, is larger than life. Delamont is God, but not just any God, he is God the Scottish Drag Queen.

Delamont’s show, God is a Scottish Drag Queen, of which he performed Part IV at this year’s Orlando Fringe, has made him the talk of any festival at which he performs. Now, on the heels of filming a television special, Delamont is bringing Parts I and II of his successful God is a Scottish Drag Queen series to the Plaza LIVE. Delamont spoke with Watermark ahead of the show to let us know what we can expect from God and when we might get a peek at the Devil.

Canadians are known as polite and friendly. Does that conflict at all with playing a character who is an all- powerful deity whose entire job is to judge?

I think the politeness does [laughs], but I think the character is really kind hearted, which is why when we first wrote the character, I did her with a British accent and it came off as really mean, kind of like a headmaster from an old boarding school. None of the jokes really worked. The next night we switched it over to Scottish and it added a bit litheness, which I really liked, like an old storytelling vibe, and that really let the audience in on that [fact that] it was all a joke. That the character is in on the joke and it is very easy, so the character became very sweet but not very nice.

How did you come up with the character?

I had been doing a cabaret in my hometown for a few years. It was a lot like Saturday Night Live. Each month we would put on a show and there was always some sort of vague through line. In 2006, one of the shows we did was a battle of the bands with Jesus against Satan for supremacy. I was literally a secondary character; I was Jesus’ dad. It was a smaller bit, somewhere on YouTube the video still exists of the second night ever of me doing the character, the first night of me doing the Scottish accent, I wish that didn’t exist but it’s there [laughs]. So we had this skit and I played the dad and we liked the idea that God was a man in a dress, but there was nothing effeminate about it. It’s just like this is what i wore today, and now it’s become a big part of the show, the discussion of femininity. How all the most powerful people in the world wore dresses; like Scots wore kilts and Greeks wore togas and Roman soldiers wore leather pleated skirts into battle; so there’s this brand new thing that a dress is feminine, so I really liked that.

In your shows God is a Scottish Drag Queen, you interact with the audience and crew members a lot. How much of the show is scripted and how much do you rely on improvisation?

A lot of it is scripted, usually. This year at Orlando Fringe [doing God is a Scottish Drag Queen Part IV] there were a lot of tech issues for some reason. [laughs] Every night it seemed like the screen wasn’t working or the projector wasn’t working – it was always something. Of the eight shows, I think we had two without an issue, but I write the shows as they are in that theater at that moment, so you don’t come to the show and the show “takes place in Heaven” – you are in that theater on that day with God. I like the ability to be in the moment, and I know the shows so well that I’m happy to jump off and go into a rant. The longer I do the shows, the more scripted they get. Orlando gets a pretty raw show. Fringe was the premiere of GIASDQ IV, so it has changed a lot since then, but I keep it pretty scripted, but I would say on average 20 percent is a wailing flying shit show. [laughs]

Do you usually use Orlando Fringe as a testing ground for new material?

Yeah, Orlando Fringe is one of the best audiences around. There are very few that are that caring. I rarely go to a festival where people are so vested in my success. So you feel very comfortable to try out new things. I premiered my last three shows in Orlando and I’ll do it again. It’s a great place to start, and it’s why I’m so excited to bring Parts I and II back to the Plaza Live, because they have traveled the world and it is a really tight show now and it’s a lot of fun. It is much more polished than it was when people saw it years ago at Fringe. It’s cool to have a town where I can take the risks and make the mistakes and people are supporting me and then be able to bring the finished product back as well, so this will be a nice full circle.

So for the people who saw parts I and II at Fringe, how different will this show be for them?

I think they are quite different. Bits have been cut and bits have been added. So from when I first did them in Orlando a chunk of it will be very different, because when I put I and II together, I didn’t do it like Part I is Act One and Part II is Act Two, the two shows are blended so I’ve added to it to make sure it works, so it’s like a brand new show. I premiered this version in Winnipeg in October and people loved it.

The past two shows at Fringe have consistently sold out, and in pretty large theaters.

Yeah, it’s crazy. I never thought that I would be able to be doing this for a living. When I first started this, I was playing 50-seat theaters, and now I am literally standing outside of a 1,400-seat opera house. I’m doing a show right now that we are filming for television. It’s absurd that this is what I get to do with my life, and there is no moment that I ever forget that I’m so lucky to be able to do this. And the fact that people come back over and over, and bring their friends, you kind of wait for the other shoe to drop. You think to yourself, “Well this can’t go on forever! People will clue in one day and realize I’m a fraud.” [laughs]

Comedians often do characters and develop bits, and a rare few take on a life of their own; Pee-Wee Herman and Elvira are examples that come to mind. Did you know, as you were developing God is a Scottish Drag Queen, that it would be one of those characters that would explode like that?

No, I think comedy is very impulsive and by the seat of your pants, so you just jump in and hope for the best. When we premiered this character in 2006 not one part of me thought it would be this popular. I mean, I liked it and that was important to me, because I think I have OK comedy taste [laughs]. But wow, people are so attached to it and the nice thing is I talk about it less now; I don’t go into is God a man or a woman or a man in a dress – people create their own reality for it which I love. It’s a fan base that I never would have predicted.

Now you have a new show that is going to deal with the opposite to your current character God. What can you tell us about Devil?

It’s interesting. When I write the God shows what I do is I rent out a tiny, 50-seat theater and I do four shows in two days. No projections or sound cues, just me and the outfit, and I have a bunch of jokes and I just go out and test them out. I see what worked, what didn’t work, what sticks, and a lot of what happens in those shows is improvised, and if it works then I write it out for the full show. So right now I’m working on what the Devil is going to be. There are a few choices, but I’m going to do some shows and see what sticks and then who knows. I am nervous but excited to see what comes out of it. I plan to test the show out at Orlando Fringe and Winnipeg Fringe. Orlando has me all set, but Winnipeg wanted to set me up with a 400 seat theater and I’m like wait, I’m testing this out, what if it’s shit? So, I’m going to be doing smaller Fringe shows this coming year to test it out. I have some ideas and especially this one part that I think is going to be great but I don’t want to give it all away just yet. But I’m excited and I will start work shopping it in January.

More Information:

What: God is a Scottish Drag Queen

When: Saturday, 8:00 p.m., September 10

Where: The Plaza LIVE

Tickets: $37.50, MikeDelamont.com/tour-dates


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5 Questions for the Almighty in a dress

Before taking the stage at the Plaza LIVE Sept. 10, we asked the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to come together and cop-a-squat with us in all her Scottish, drag glory. She took off the gloves and kicked back in some sensible shoes for five hard-hitting questions.

God, in your book there are some inflammatory things said about gay people. In reading them and seeing you in your show, I feel you may have been misrepresented. Would you care to clarify Leviticus?

I said a lot of things back in the day. I was petty and young and I’ll be honest with you, I drank a fair bit. So let’s put it in my “oops” category alongside women not being able to speak in church and people not being able to wear mixed fabrics. You know how embarrassed you feel about those pictures of you in acid-washed jeans and with a mullet from 30 years ago? Imagine how I feel about things from 2,000 years ago.

Speaking of Leviticus, your honor, why are you so angry about shellfish?

Because it’s revolting! They live in their own toilets.

I know that an omnipotent being such as yourself is supposed to remain unbiased in the dealings of mere mortals, but do you care to place any bets on the U.S. Presidential race?

For a land that keeps complaining that they want Jesus to come back, they certainly kicked the quiet, simple, Jewish man who wanted to help the sick and the poor right to the curb, didn’t they? I don’t think it’s a good idea to pick the biggest piece of corn in the turd.

With the Zika virus messing up the Summer Olympics in Rio and screwing with everyone’s vacations in Florida, we’ve got to ask you about mosquitoes. What were you thinking, your majesty?

Zika is the least of the worries for Rio. They are making athletes swim in toxic waste! When mutants and the X-Men take over the world, we will know where it began. And mosquitoes? Florida is a swamp. The mosquitoes were there long before the people. I blame air-conditioning and the House of Mouse.

And finally, your Excellency, to quote Saint Joan Osborne, what IF God was one of us?

Then he would just be a fat Canadian in a dress. Who would pay to see that?!

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