Langley’s Susan Thompson is tearing up the local comedy scene in more ways than just performing her sets on a stage.
The comic, who was part of Langley Fine Arts School’s very first graduating class 25 years ago, said she’s taken a more of behind-the-scenes role.
“I am the lead support booker of featured performers at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy in New Westminster,” Thompson said. “There are two other locations in Phoenix and West Edmonton Mall, but basically, we are planning on being the Comedy Store of the West Coast.”
Thompson has worked and toured all over Western Canada, for companies such as Laffs on Tour, Callback Entertainment, and Yuk Yuks.
She also works for Jake Hirsch Entertainment Group as a show producer and talent specialist.
On top of all that, she’s still busy on stage – due to perform end at the House of Comedy near the end of February and beginning of March.
Thompson said she’s working more on advisory roles and pushing towards the world of talent development.
“We are under-served in Canada and it needs lot of work. We’re just not as equipped as the United States to nurture talent. We used to produce the best comedians in the world, so I’m hoping to help give it the attention that it needs,” Thompson explained.
She was quick to say the industry is in a bit of a strange place, making a talent developer all the more necessary in this day and age.
“One person might say one wrong thing and their cancelled or whole career is destroyed,” Thompson said. “But a comic’s job is pointing fingers at ridiculousness and creating a dialogue.”
Thompson also noted that women are still under-represented, but she was quick to admit that it will never be an equal playing field.
“Comedy as the industry that it is, it’s still so new – 42 years really. Diversity is going to take that much longer,” she explained, but stressed women deserve an opportunity to have a voice.
After years spent in Vancouver, Thompson moved back to her hometown – Langley.
While she does commute to New West and larger centres for work, she gave advice to comics around town trying to get started in the business.
“Don’t quit your day job,” she teased. “Write. Always keep writing and listen to that voice in your head to know there is a right place and a right time to tell a joke. Some people constantly argue free speech, but read your audience.”
The House of Comedy is located at 530 Columbia St in New Westminster at the Columbia Theatre, where LaffLines was formerly located.
Two separate spaces, The House of Comedy and The Attic, make up the club.
The Just for Laughs Northwest Festival is Feb. 13 to 25, and features dozens of renowned comics all over the Lower Mainland, including House of Comedy.
Joe “Mr. D” Dombrowski performs Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15, and Tim Dillon from Feb. 20 to 23.
March 13 to 15 will see the club’s first special event, performances by TJ Miller.
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