Wiretapped at the Bell Center | The coronation of Mike Ward

Crowds of people, mostly in their 20s and 30s, crowded around the Bell Center just before 8 p.m. on Friday night. Go to a concert by a legendary rock band? Or to that of pop star from that moment ? Pantout. 21,131 people visited the recording of a podcast, Bugged by Mike Ward.

Posted at 9:00 am

Dominik Spaet

Dominik Spaet
The press

That didn’t stop those 21,131 people — that is, the sold-out Bell Center — from greeting Mike Ward with the reverence normally reserved for a legendary rock group, and with the euphoria that is one pop star.

After a national anthem performed by the thunderous Mike Paterson (Charles Prévost-Linton on amphetamines) and a video montage summarizing the story of the podcast born in 2011, the host in black nonchalantly made his way through the crowd on the floor. Bottle of beer in hand, the comedian seemed startled by the monster ovation — bell center in full, standing — reserved for him.

“The Bell Center is never funny for humor. In fact, it’s from the mouth of Mike Ward that that phrase came out one day during an episode of under listening. Understand: this Bell Center was just an idea at first, created as a hoax to poke fun at his peers who are proud to have put on a show stand up at the CH residence without filling it out completely. In recent weeks, the host ironically referred to the event as his center brag. brag as in: boast.

“Honestly, I thought I had better reception. We will add claps in progress,” Ward started with a laugh as everyone sat back down before inviting Jean-Thomas Jobin, his sidekick from several of the most memorable episodes of under listening. The master of the absurd had been hired as the official co-moderator of the two podcasts that were recorded on Friday. And because Jean-Thomas Jobin is Jean-Thomas Jobin, the entertainer gave his longtime friend an…acrostic as a party favor.

Instead of being surrounded by two guests, as is the established formula, Ward had called three per issue. Christine Morency and Les Denis Drolet (Sébastien Dubé and Vincent Léonard), regulars, formed the first table, Marilyne Joncas, Martin Matte and Stéphane Rousseau the second.


PHOTO SARAH MONGEAU-BIRKETT, THE PRESS

Mike Ward and his co-host Jean-Thomas Jobin welcomed Christine Morency and Les Denis Drolet (Vincent Léonard and Sébastien Dubé) to the taping of the first episode on Friday night.

On a revolving central stage, “like the Concorde in Quebec”, the comedians of the first quintet therefore improvised, according to Vincent Léonard, a casual entertainment intended to resemble those generally captured on the boards of the brothel: disorderly, vulgar, sometimes hilarious , but much more rambling than usual.

At a ridiculously small round table there was obviously a lot (too much?) talk about the angry and awesome absurdity of what we were going through together. The second quintet was also better able to ignore the incongruity of context. Martin Matte and Mike Ward even shared an anecdote from their youth, made up or not, with sex workers whose services they had used.

Strange and historic

Recording a podcast at the Bell Centre? The evening promised to be strange, and it really was, but only because 21,131 people came, whose hearts were filled with the singular joy of taking part in what is sure to be strange… and historic!

Story? representatives of Guinness Book of Records were on hand to support the Ward and Co podcast, which would have broken the previous record for the podcast, which was taped in front of the largest crowd and aired in November 2021 at the O2 London Arena, in front of 13,000 pairs of ears.


PHOTO SARAH MONGEAU-BIRKETT, THE PRESS

A total of 21,131 people viewed the podcast recording under listening.

“Looks like I just did flash that there are more than 21,000 people,” Jean-Thomas Jobin exclaimed after about thirty minutes. ” It still is strange Ward would say later.

Strange ? Is an arena really a good place to record a podcast? Of course not, mainly because of the sound – it was obvious on Friday that the Bell Center doesn’t have the same acoustics as the Maison symphonique.

But it was also obvious that the public under listeningfiercely loyal, came less to listen to exchanges between artists than to show his support for the humorous podcast community that thrived on the fringes of traditional media and their under listening was the spearhead.

Vincent Léonard rightly spoke of a “Spirit of gearof the clan”, a “sense of belonging”.

During the traditional question-and-answer session that wrapped up the first episode, a viewer asked Ward if he planned to sing for the Pope during his upcoming visit to the country, an unsubtle nod to the courtroom soap opera between Mike Ward and Jérémy Gabriel, who once gave the note to Benedict XVI.

Without leaving the subject, it was nonetheless clear that the evening had something of the character of a rally in honor of Mike Ward, whose kindness and generosity was praised by each of the guests. His sidekick Pantelis would even offer him a wrestling champions belt at the end of the curtain.

If Mike Ward is a vile and despicable being to some, to many he is evidently the venerable creator of a cultural phenomenon of unprecedented importance in the history of Quebec humor. The investigation of The press about Philippe Bond, which was published on Thursday, was only addressed spontaneously.

Jean-Thomas Jobin couldn’t have summed up the collective state of mind better than this sentence, which put his eyes in the eyes and a hand on the shoulder of his friend: “Mike Ward, you are someone who manages to be known. »

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