Likely best known for his slew of entertaining characters on Kids in the Hall, Scott Thompson is a Jack of all Trades and master of, well, quite a few.
One of Thompson’s greatest passions is his graphic novel trilogy, Husk, which follows his Kids in The Hall character Danny Husk through some pretty remarkable adventures.
The first Volume of The Husk Trilogy, The Hollow Planet, was released in December 2010. Now that Thompson is two-thirds of the way through writing Volume 2: A Crack In It, he’s decided that it’s the perfect time to get the next installment of Danny’s story out there. “I had a little bit of a bump this year with being on Hannibal and doing Buddy Cole on Stephen Colbert, so I thought I would take advantage of that,” said Thompson.
A Kickstarter to help fund the project popped up earlier this month, offering some amazing perks for backing Husk. All funds raised through the Kickstarter campaign will go straight to the production of the book.
In the event that the Kickstarter isn’t funded, Thompson says he’ll find a way to get Volume 2 published. “I just have to pay the artist, they have to be paid. I can work for free, but that’s me. I’m a crazy person. And it’s my baby,” said Thompson, who plans to work on it in May to have it released in the fall just before he starts back at work on Hannibal.
The story has been in motion for more than 14 years when it began as a screenplay. Thompson continues to write the stories as a screenplay, handing it off to Stephan Nilson who adapts it into the comic, with Kyle Morton illustrating.
In Volume 1, we meet Danny in the real world and leave him in a fantasy world. Volume 2 starts with Joan, Danny’s wife, and we see her story unfold. From there, it goes back and forth between Joan’s and Danny’s stories. “In the first book you see Danny lose everything and rebuild. She’s lost everything. Her husband, her lover, her children,” Thompson explained.
The second book is all about bringing the two worlds together, something the third book will continue. Volume 2 has a lot more action and adventure. Minimizing spoilers, we will learn the truth about Hoblygall—the midget giant—and Og—the gay troll, and also why the King stole Danny’s son. Plus, there’s a beautiful female centaur that Danny falls for, and there’s a hyper-intelligent giant squid.
Overall, A Crack In It is a much sexier book. “Danny is a lusty man. He did his duty and he was a very loyal husband. He never cheated, he never did anything. And he hasn’t had sex with his wife for ages. Now, he’s free, he’s at the center of the earth, he’s finding himself as a man, and he gets some. Even if she is part horse. Danny is the kind of guy that he overlooks peoples’ minor faults. There’s a joke in the book where Danny goes, ‘I can’t do this, my mother rode.’ But Danny finds a way around it,” Thompson said.
While planned as a trilogy, Thompson will continue beyond three volumes if he feels Danny’s story isn’t over. “I only say trilogy because it sounds cool and as a reader, I’m obsessed with trilogies in science fiction and fantasy. But, I might find that the story is bigger than I thought, so it might be more. I made a plan years ago when I started doing this. I wanted to have a story, something epic that was just my imagination that I wanted to do over the course of my lifetime and I accepted that it would take a long, long time to do. So however long it takes the story to come out is fine with me,” said Thompson.
Thompson finds Morton’s illustrations impressive. “I looked very hard to find someone that had that kind of old fashion quality and realism. I’m not a big fan of a lot of modern animation, I really don’t like anime, I just find it very creepy and inhuman, I don’t understand it,” said Thompson. “[Morton’s drawings] seem like real people. There’s a visceral quality and a physicality that I really like to his drawings.”
In 2009, while Thompson was working on the first volume of Husk, as well as working on the Kids in The Hall Death Comes to Town miniseries, he was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkins gastric lymphoma. After chemotherapy and radiation, Thompson is now cancer-free, but he did have a very rough patch to go through.
“I remember very clearly when I was going through Chemo and my hair had fallen out. I was about halfway through the treatment and I wasn’t doing great. One of the things that kept me going was this book and the pictures that Kyle would send me of Danny with his whole body shaved and he’s naked and he’s lost everything. It was me. I thought, ‘How is this possible?’ It’s like I sent myself a message from a decade ago saying, ‘In a decade, you’re going to get cancer and you’re going to lose everything. What you think is your whole life will be taken away from you, but you will survive, and at the other side, when you come back from the center of the earth, when you come back from this fall, you will be stronger.’ I’d go, ‘I’m Danny’. I looked at those pictures, and because he looks like me, I’m literally looking at drawings of me with no body hair. I didn’t have any, no eyebrows, nothing. That was profound for me. I think to myself, the Husk series is something, this sounds nutty, it’s bigger than me,” said Thompson.
Another one of Thompson’s beloved Kids in The Hall characters, Buddy Cole, recently resurfaced as an Olympics correspondent for The Colbert Report. “It was a thrill to see the reaction, I really didn’t expect it. I had no idea people even remembered him,” Thompson admitted, noting that we should look for more Buddy coming soon. Thompson will be pitching a Buddy Cole animated series and perhaps even a graphic novel—or both.
An animated Buddy Cole series has been in the works for quite a while with Paul Bellini and Luciano Casimiri, and Thompson got close to sealing a deal six years ago. “The company that wanted to do it, by the end of it they were going, ‘Can’t Buddy be straight?’ That’s when I went, ‘I’m sorry, but I have to walk away. No, he can’t.’ ‘Can’t he just be flamboyant and own a night club?’ And I went, ‘No, he can’t.’ Then there was a company that wanted to make it, but in French and I’m like, ‘Yeah, Buddy’s half French, but that would mean that the first voice they hear as Buddy is a person that’s not me, and I can’t.’ The world just wasn’t ready for it, but in the last five years there’s been a complete seismic shift in the way the West looks at homosexuality, particularly North America. I feel like the time is right.”
Thompson and the rest of the Kids have been writing a lot of new material together and have a few upcoming live performances. The Kids in The Hall even performed Brain Candy live earlier this month. “The Brain Candy reading was so much fun. We acted the whole thing out. It was more fun than making the movie,” said Thompson.
The group now makes light of the difficult period surrounding the filming of Brain Candy. “Now we just laugh at it and go, ‘Why did we hate each other?’,” said Thompson. “When you get older, you realize chemistry is a rare, rare thing and when you find it, you should hold onto it. We openly mock some of the biggest wounds we’ve created with each other and feel nothing. Maybe that means we’re dead inside, either way, it’s working for us.”
In addition to his comedic work, Thompson appears as Special Agent Dr. Jimmy Price, a crime scene investigator specializing in latent fingerprints, on NBC’s Hannibal. “I’ve never done anything like it before and it’s a very steep learning curve for me because I’m always trying to be funny, and in the show, I’m not really,” he said. “There’s definitely dark humor to it. I love the cast and I love the challenge of creating a character out of virtually nothing. I feel that Aaron Abrams and I have a really good relationship, we have good chemistry, and we have good chemistry with Laurence [Fishburne]. It’s a joy to do.”
While Hannibal is a dark show, Thompson says it’s the lightest set he’s ever worked on. “I’ve never been involved in such a dark story, and yet, the set is as light as the operating room in M*A*S*H. No one takes any of it seriously. And that’s a good thing. The moment they call cut there’s a joke.”
Never one to stick to one medium, in the mid-90s, Thompson pioneered an online community called ScottLand with his brother and cousin. ScottLand’s main attraction was a chat room and the site garnered 10,000 citizens. There was even an election where four of Thompson’s characters ran for Prime Minister (with Buddy Cole elected). With his early adoption of the Internet and doing things in a big way when most people were still on 14.4K modems, Thompson’s attitude toward the Internet today is been-there-done-that. “I’m not a huge Tweeter or an online person, I’m trying more and more, and I think people think it means I’m a Luddite, but that’s not the reason. The reason, mostly, is because I did it before so long ago. My curse is that I do things too early.” The site enjoyed a brief relaunch in the late 90s, but the company Thompson was working with went bankrupt.
Thompson also went down the blogging path as Buddy Cole for a year in 2007, but ultimately called it quits when the homophobic spam he encountered became overwhelming. “Ewe, the Buddy Cole blog ended because there was so much spamming. I got attacked by all these mental cases that just constantly flooded the site with ‘faggot’ and ‘AIDS faggot’. The comments section became so clogged with homophobic abuse, I had to close it. I went, ‘I’m done. I don’t need this bullshit.’”
The trick to get Thompson more involved online? Holograms, obviously. “I want to find something new, some new way to interface with fans. Can’t I just project myself into their brains, can’t I be a hologram? That’s what I’m looking for. And I have to swallow my pride. People say, ‘Why aren’t you online all the time, you’d be great at it.’ And I don’t have the heart to say to them, ‘I was great at it!’ It makes me sound bitter, like, ‘I was great at it in the 90s, before you fuckers even knew about it’,” Thompson laughed.
Knowing full well to avoid comment sections, Thompson broke this golden rule recently and browsed some Hannibal Tumblrs. “I’m trying to figure out the Hannibal Fannibal phenomenon and I made the mistake of reading a couple comments about me. Some of them went on in a thread about how horrible my dye job looks on Hannibal. And I’m going, ‘I don’t dye my hair!’ And they’re going on, ‘I can’t believe this year, look at his hair, it’s so much darker, just because he’s the oldest guy on the show, he should really get it done professionally.’ And then going, ‘Yeah, Grandpa Price.’ I’m going, ‘What! I don’t dye my hair!’ So I’m going, ‘I’m going to have to dye my hair so it looks like I don’t dye my hair.’ When someone just calls you a faggot or whatever, who cares. But don’t call me fat or old or say my hair looks bad.”
Always one to keep busy, Thompson is looking to do a stand-up comedy special or album this year. “I figured after cancer I didn’t have a lot to be afraid of, so I started doing stand-up a lot. I’ve gotten an act and now I want to do an album or a special. I also have another one-man show,” he explained.
Thompson’s love of stand-up comedy goes way back and he even started out with stand-up before Kids in The Hall. “When I met the Kids in the Hall, I was trying to be a stand-up, but you have to remember that in the mid 80s, you could not be who I am. Not that all my stuff had to be about being gay, but you talk about your life. Comedy has changed drastically. Women and gay men were not welcomed, that’s just the way it was. And it’s not that way anymore, it’s changed a lot,” said Thompson. “Young people are different, they are really letting go of that. They don’t care if you’re gay or black or whatever, and as a black man, that’s good for me.”