ComedyHa! Fest-Québec: Michel Courtemanche, a clown doing good

Michel Courtemanche has stayed away from all scenes for a quarter of a century, but the desire to make people laugh has never left him. In the shadows, he never stopped spreading his gags to the four winds and convincing himself that his humor could do people good.

“The satisfaction of getting someone out of their hole,” says the 57-year-old comedian when asked how his power to make the world laugh makes him feel.

“When I see someone having a bad day or not in a good mood, I’m happy to pull them out. I treat symptoms. It’s not just the laughter that satisfies me, but the fact that it wakes the person up, that it makes them realize we can move on,” reveals Michel Courtemanche, who wrote the 12 ComediHa! Fest-Québec, the first comedy gala in 30 years.

“I am often told that my jokes are beneficial. People with depression, drug addicts, alcoholics, people living bad lives, people with mental illnesses, I’ve had a lot of comments from people who listen to my shows to cheer themselves up.

“The whole time”

No humor away from the stage? Not the one who made a name for himself in 1987 with his famous drummer number. If you cross his path on a daily basis, chances are he’s trying to give you a good nudge.

“Making people laugh is all the time, all the time, all the time. I can’t help it. When I get to the checkout, I make one to kid. I go to such a place, I will make one to kid. I go to the toilet, a to kid. The whole time. With my family, all the time,” he says.

“I’m like a singer who always has a taste for singing,” continues the one who believes this ability to cheer up the world is innate to him and perhaps related to his position with the Courtemanche siblings.

“You have to believe it’s in my nature. I’m like the fourth in the family. In the psychological order there is the first who represents the family, the second is the anarchist, the third is the dreamer and the fourth is the clown. I’m the clown.”

Thanks hypnosis

However, sometimes the clown was sad. In an interview, Michel Courtemanche is quick to address his dark times, detailed in an autobiography published in 2018. For the record, remember that the comedian found refuge in drugs and alcohol — including depression, suicidal thoughts and psychosis — before learning that he is bipolar.

A detox has solved his drug problems and medication is helping him manage his bipolarity.

On the other hand, for the disproportionate stage fright that prevented him from going on stage, it seemed like a waste of time. When asked to repeat it drummer in the Grand Rire de Québec, 2016, in the Grand Théâtre de Québec, he would have canceled almost everything a few minutes before his performance, his stress was so intense. He had sworn back then that he would never set foot on the boards again.

Six years later, he is ready to host a gala that he will attend in four numbers. What happened in the meantime?

“Hypnosis cured my stage fright,” replies Michel Courtemanche.

“I went to a hypnotist to solve my problem because I couldn’t do it on my own. Finally he cured me 100% of my stage fright. Since then, I no longer have anxiety attacks when I start a film project or when a show is coming up. It’s gone from my life. I can even tell you now that I’m not nervous about the gala. I’m more excited than nervous.”

say yes again

As he did when announcing his participation in ComediHa! However, Michel Courtemanche reiterated to Fest-Québec that he had no intention of setting up a show and touring. His projects behind the camera make him completely happy.

On the other hand, he will no longer systematically say no to every suggestion he receives, be it stage, television or cinema.

“If friends call me why not Starting another tour would not be a good idea. I’m not in the physical form that I was, but sporadic things like small roles in a movie or a series, yes.

Entertainment : Michael Courtemanche

Guests: Jean-Claude Gelinas, Coco Belliveau, Debbie Lynch-White, Anne Roumanoff, Kev Adams

Entertainment : Anthony Kavanagh

Guests: Michel Courtemanche, Anne Roumanoff, Alain Choquette, Pierre Brassard, Reda Saoui

Entertainment : Marie May

Guests: Michel Charette, PA Methot, Christian-Marc Gendron

Entertainment : Michael Charett

Guests: Stéphane Fallu, Sylvain Larocque, Dominic and Martin, Simon Delisle

Entertainment : Laurent Paquin

Guests: Guillaume Pineault, Billy Tellier, Sylvain Larocque, Mona de Grenoble, Julie Ringuette, Pascal Morrissette, Fabien Olicard

Entertainment : Anne-Elisabeth Bosse and Guillaume Pineault

Guests: François Boulianne, Jean-Michel Martel, Jean-Thomas Jobin, Katherine Levac, Suzie Bouchard, Florence Longpré, Guillaume Wagner, Matthieu Pepper, Martin Perizzolo

For all details of the ComediHa! Fest Quebec, go to

“Visual humor has been lost in Quebec”

ComedyHa!  Fest-Québec: Michel Courtemanche, a clown doing good

Photo Jocelyn Michel,

In a province that prides itself on being a hotbed of comedians and where you can learn to make people laugh at school, no one has yet followed in Michel Courtemanche’s footsteps.

When he left the stage in 1997, the rubber-faced comedian thought he had created the winning conditions to secure his successor in the visual humor niche.

“It was an interesting opportunity. You can travel around the world with visual humor,” stresses Michel Courtemanche.

We have to admit that nobody took it. Much to his dismay.

“I think the craze for making visual humor has been lost in Quebec, unlike in other countries like France or Tunisia. There was no relief at all. Maybe the genre gets a bad rap for being pantomime. I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s just a shame because the market was open. I had cleared the entire trail and everything necessary. In case anyone wants to go walk. The same phenomenon has not been observed in any other discipline.

interest elsewhere

On the other side of the ocean, it’s the other way around. A few little Michel Courtemanches have surfaced.

Very open to the idea of ​​sharing his knowledge, the Quebec comedian recalls giving masterclasses to clowns around the world on behalf of Cirque du Soleil and writing numbers for Frenchman Patrick Cottet-Monk and the Belgian Virginie Hocq took part.

In Tunisia this is the big fashion, he discovered during a teaching visit. “I had 42 students there over three days and they ate it. »

Offer rejected

In Quebec, however, Michel Courtemanche says he turned down an offer to teach his art at the National School of Humor because the course was mandatory rather than optional.

“There are people who are much less capable of this than others. I couldn’t imagine writing them down on I don’t know how many and determining who passed and who didn’t. It’s cruel,” says the man who was also just approached by the Montreal Circus School to “develop the clown component.”

Still looking for new talent

The band has nevertheless allowed Michel Courtemanche to breed talent in Quebec, as actor/director Daniel Brière is currently working on creating a show based on his repertoire of visual humor numbers.

“The show is called tom and tells a story whose details I cannot reveal, but which will lead us to recruit visual comedians, people who will be able to reproduce my performances on stage.

Where can you find them if there aren’t any? This is the question Michel Courtemanche asks himself on the eve of the auditions. “If people want to sign up, now is the right time,” he said.

Who knows, maybe rare pearls will come out?

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