Dressed in a floral powersuit, a neatly bobbed wig and a pair of low-lying reading glasses, God has descended to Earth with all the exasperated energy of a fed-up parent, and he’s ready to dole out tough love to his 7.7 billion children.
Speaking in a thick Scottish accent, he struggles to keep his cool as he comedically roasts his creation for their misdeeds throughout history — while also attempting to clear up a few misconceptions about himself and his role as the Almighty.
“It’s like the ‘Making Of’ feature for all of humanity,” Canadian comedian Mike Delamont explained with a laugh. “Religious or not, most people are familiar with the big stories of the bible — Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, Moses. But have you ever heard the backstory — the behind-the-scenes, what-really-happened, oops-I-guess-that’s-just-how-it-is-now take on how these things came to be? That’s the fun of this show.”
Delamont admits his multi-award-winning one-man show, God is a Scottish Drag Queen, tends to ruffle feathers for some at first glance.
“Some people get nervous or angry when they read the title, but I always try to remind people that God is the comedian — not the punchline,” Delamont said. “The title is the most blasphemous part of the show, honestly. It’s meant to be enjoyable whether you’re someone who’s at church every Sunday or you’re not religious at all. I have atheists who love my rendition of God, and I have preachers who bring members of their congregation to every show.”
Delamont’s God character first appeared in a cabaret skit the comedian co-produced in 2006. “Our thing at the time was a battle of the bands between Jesus and Satan,” Delamont explained, laughing. “And I played Jesus’ dad.” But Delamont and his fellow performers wanted the character to provide a new spin on the classic white-robed, omnipotent Almighty.
“We really liked the image of God in the Sistine Chapel,” the comedian recalled. In “the Creation of Adam,” Michelangelo’s famous painting, “God is very aggressive-looking — very angry, with a big white beard — but he’s wearing a kind of gentle pink negligee. It almost looks like a scene from a movie, where the mom’s new boyfriend comes downstairs in the morning dressed in her silk housecoat. I really liked the idea of this angry, powerful man wearing a little pink frock.”
The first time Delamont debuted his character, God spoke in a posh British accent and wore a fiery red wig with black “Lady Gaga-style” sunglasses. But something wasn’t quite right. The character didn’t feel “in” on the joke. So Delamont went home, workshopped the character, and came back the next night with something that felt “very maternal.” That evening, God was a hit.
A non-religious person himself, Delamont admits that it sometimes feels as if he stumbled into his most popular character, which inspired four full-length productions, a Christmas special and a pandemic edition. But, growing up on British sketch comedy, he recalls laughing at many plots involving funny vicars and comic nuns — and, to him, God is a Scottish Drag Queen evolved from that same comedic space.
“I certainly didn’t intend to read the Bible as many times as I have,” Delamont said. In fact, he’s read through it in its entirety “several times now” to develop backstory for his show. “And, while reading it, I had so many fascinating moments where I realized what people are taught doesn’t always line up with what’s actually written in the book, like Adam and Eve being the first people. But they’re not! It’s not even disputable; it’s literally the very first page. Look it up!
“And then there’s the story of how Moses built a tent,” Delamont said, uttering a slight groan followed by a laugh. “Just pages and pages of how to build a tent. It’s not even a story. It’s essentially just a blueprint for a tent, with specific measurements for each piece of wood and what type of curtains to use. I understand now why Hollywood leaves that part out.”
But one of his favorite moments as God stemmed from his commitment to keep his character empathetic, accepting and supportive of his children no matter what — an imperfect deity himself with a stern but loving presence, who never sweats the small stuff.
“In the second show, the sequel, I do a whole heartfelt bit about how I think God would feel about transgender people,” Delamont said. “And after the show, I had this dad come up to me — this real man’s man kind of guy — whose child in their late teens had just transitioned.
“You could tell that he just didn’t get it,” Delamont continued, “but that he still wanted to be there for his kid. And he told me that what I had said on stage really got through to him. He finally understood why his child made the decision to transition. And it was honestly a very impactful moment on my life — one that I never imagined would have come out of my silly little comedy show. I just thought: Wow. Even if I never get to tell another joke again, at least I helped one person.”