Langley’s Susan Thompson was part of Langley Fine Arts School’s very first graduating class.
And 25 years later, she’s continued in the performing arts industry.
“As soon as my mom said there’s a fine arts school, I said, ‘I want to go!,’” she said.
The 43-year-old has spent the past eight years performing as a comedian.
Immediately out of high school, Thompson applied to Douglas College’s theatre program, but didn’t get in. After a few years, she ended up getting married, and having kids, but never let go of her performing arts dream.
“I was like, ‘Nope, this is a piece of me I can’t let go.”
Some friends dared Thompson to try comedy, and her response was “I got nothing to lose.”
“I always gravitated to being the funny kid [in school], which was rare at the time for a girl. It wasn’t that popular for the girl to be the class clown, but I’ve never really done things that would be considered the norm anyways.”
“I love the business aspect of it [comedy], and how it’s always changing,” she added.
Thompson said the point of the comic used to be to “poke fun at what’s happening in the world” and added it’s more important than ever to have comedy today.
“Nowadays comedy is even more important because it forces dialogue. If someone’s at my show and they get offended, that has nothing to do with the comic on stage, that has to do with the individual.”
Thompson emphasized it’s important to keep “free speech” in comedy, and worries the industry may be becoming too censored.
“In order for something to be funny, it has to be well-written. If you start censoring comics, you’re not going to have the next big headliner,” she explained.
Thompson described her comedy style as “cheeky” and said she often talks about her children.
“I guess I’d be considered the ‘disgruntled mommy.’ I can be saucy, and I’ll put people in a direction, and then I’ll flip them around. I’m not a filthy comic, but I’m not 100 per cent clean either. I’m not controversial.”
One of the challenge’s during her comedy career is being a woman.
“It’s not the easiest for women. Most of the time I’ve been very lucky, but some women haven’t been as lucky. It still can be a bit of a man’s world, but there are some changes being made. Women need to be strong and show your strength, and don’t let people push you around. If you’re funny and strong in your business sense, they will respect that. You command that respect,” she elaborated.
During her comedy career, Thompson has worked and toured all over Western Canada, for companies such as Laffs on Tour, Callback Entertainment, and Yuk Yuks.
Currently Thompson works for the Jake Hirsch Entertainment Group as a show producer and talent specialist.
In the near future, Thompson is hoping to move to Los Angeles to work for Crave News – a digital platform that presents “raw, non-corporate, and unbiased news.”
“It’ll be a network that is sparking conversation,” added Thompson.
She plans on being less in the spotlight, and taking on more of a backstage production role.