Posted at 5:00 a.m.
Mathieu Dufour enters the vast Bell Center dressing room with his agent and immediately begins to speak, with an enthusiasm bordering on agitation, “of the square toilets to Céline”, a basin which would have been installed at the request of the star.
A few seconds later, without really understanding how it all happened, the representative of your favorite daily newspaper finds himself in the company of Jean-Marc Parent and Math Duff in front of a square toilet.
“Everyone thought I was weird the first time I came here and said, ‘Hello, I want to see Céline’s square toilet,'” says the 27-year-old comedian, who speaks with the intensity of someone who puts Red Bull in their cereal.
Verification made with evenko, Celine Dion has never made a princely request for a toilet. “There were renovations for the artists’ dressing room before one of her visits, but it was not at her request,” explains Christine Montreuil, media relations manager, in an email she probably never thought she would have. to write from his life.
So it’s just an urban legend. But that is not the main thing. The essential lies in this fascination exerted by the Bell Center on the Quebec imagination. Fascination that he exerts even in his toilets.
A voucher stunt
Early 1990s. Attending a show by Céline Dion (her again!) at the Théâtre du Forum, Jean-Marc Parent was surprised that the diva’s interventions were captured so well. “I watch Lapin at the console [Yves Aucoin, éclairagiste de l’humoriste et de la chanteuse] and I said to her: “We hear her well when she speaks, Céline, han?” He thought I was weird. I had just had an idea. »
On September 24 and 25, 1993, Jean-Marc Parent thus became the first Quebec comedian to borrow the Sainte-Flanelle house, three years after Andrew Dice Clay had been the first comedian to fill Madison Square Garden in New York. Eleven more will follow, as well as two dates later at the Molson Centre.
“It was a dreadful roll of the dice,” he recalls, sitting on one of the comfortable sofas in the Bell Center box where Mathieu Dufour will wait on July 23. The veteran will be for his part, that evening, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, for a new edition of The JMP event.
I had raised $80,000 through corporations to buy advertising. But in reality, I was saving half a million on advertising, because it was a stunt. That’s how I built myself. Except that I could have so much pissed myself off.
“But, but, but”, he hastens to add, under the watchful eye of Mathieu Dufour, “it’s beautiful, making a stunt, you have to be good. If you’re not good, your stunt fall in the water. Another advice from his eldest: “The scene, you have to fill it. I won’t name anyone, but I’ve seen them here put on the same decor they had at St-Denis. »
To be good and to show off, that’s what the prince of Quebec comedic Instagram is all about. If Jean-Marc Parent, in his time, had as a staging strategy to “empty Solotech” (a lighting and sound equipment rental company), Mathieu Dufour has attended dozens of of shows at the Bell Centre, a question of borrowing their most sparkling ideas from the heroes of the FM band.
“What I am presenting is not a comedian at the Bell Centre. What I present is a chalice of star he says, waving his index finger in the air, in a tone somewhere between (false) vanity and self-mockery, his mouth full of juicy rolled “r’s”.
“I want to get out of a trapdoor in the floor. I will have one one piece in diamonds that I had custom made. »
A big spaghetti dinner
As with JMP, Mathieu Dufour’s art is largely based on his inability not to say out loud the crazy plans that cross his mind. That’s when his Show-rona virus reaches 15,000 spectators, more or less the number of seats in the amphitheater in one of its usual configurations, that the joke – do the Bell Center! – finds its own wings.
“We started naming him and it excited people,” recalls the man who piloted his talk show on Instagram in order to kill the long hours of the first wave of COVID-19. “As soon as I had a good guest, people would say, ‘You’ll invite him back to the Bell Centre.’ At first, I wanted to make a spaghetti supper, but I found a 15,000 spaghetti supper a bit intense. I was afraid that I would run out of sauce. »
The winner of the Olivier for COVID artist of the year in 2021, however, refuses to see in this event a manifestation of audacity.
I don’t see it as guts, Nope. I feel like it’s the normal course of things.
“Of course there is a little vertigo in doing the Bell Centre, but when you bring it back to my career, it would be silly for me to go to rooms of 200 people when we sell 6,000 tickets in two hours”, as this happened last November. Over 12,000 tickets have now been sold, out of a possible 14,000.
“And that’s what’s beautiful. You don’t come here to sell only 2000 tickets, ”chains Jean-Marc, a nice arrow shot at some of his colleagues who went up on the prestigious stage in front of not so large crowds, more to be able to boast of having hit each other. the Bell Center only because their popularity called for such an enclosure. “You play here because you can really attract all these people. »
Math promises an experience that will begin as soon as he passes through the turnstiles, although, true to his habits, he will not choose the stories around which he will embroider his improvised monologues until the very morning. “It won’t be just me with a follow spot. I’m going to be Celine Dion that night, nothing down! »
His only worry? The intensity of the combined laughter of so many humans. Jean-Marc warns him. “You’re going to have to buckle up. When the wave leaves, you step back. It’s a wicked beautiful wave. »
Mathieu Dufour, July 23 at the Bell Center
The JMP eventJuly 22 and 23 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier