August 19, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Mike Ward Wiretapped | From YouTube to the Bell Center

Mike Ward Wiretapped |  From YouTube to the Bell Center

Shortly after birth Under listening, the popular podcast that Mike Ward will bring to the Bell Center’s Central Stage on Friday, when his friend Guillaume Wagner told him he was thinking of creating his own podcast, too. “Guillaume said to me: I’m going to let it happen, we can’t be two comedians with podcasts! »

Posted at 6:00 am

The late Dominick

The late Dominick

Guillaume Wagner’s reticence seems especially absurd in 2022 when it seems impossible for a comedian to exist without hosting his own podcast. This is undoubtedly a major achievement Under listeningLeading the way is the arrival of a true Quebec podcast.

“When someone is nice as a guest Under listeningI said to him: ‘You leave the podcast'”, says Mike Ward, met at Le Bordel, where he has recorded 400 episodes of his show since August 2015, bringing the two comedians together around several drinks, a long conversation time. Between the important and the pointless. swaying.

I thought podcasts would catch on as much as they did in the United States, but I knew it would take a lot of people here for it to grow.

Mike Ward

Jer Alain, Jay du Temple, Sam Breton, Guillaume Pinault, Michel Desrochers, Les Denis Drolet and Guillaume Wagner have also followed podcasts in varying tones. “They may have benefited Under listeningThe host thinks, but Under listening Also really benefited from the wave created by everyone else. »

Importance of addicts

It is observing an increase in 2011 WTFAmerican Mark Maron’s influential podcast revives an old dream by Mike Ward: allowing ordinary people to listen to the sometimes very serious comments that normally die within four walls. Comedy Club. Under listening A version recorded via Skype reveals its first life, the fetus.

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“Quebecers, we’re a humorless people, but I’ve found that people love humor so much that they let it slide. Often, I’ve seen comedians who felt bad and they laughed out loud,” he explains.

At that time, comedians were heard saying in interviews: “I, in life, am not funny.” But why would you do this as a job? It’s like you said: I’m a chef, but in life, I don’t know how to make a sandwich.

Mike Ward

In addition to wanting to “show who the real funny guys are,” Mike Ward hopes to prove once and for all that his humor isn’t just a series of insults and obscenities. Although there are many who wish him ill, this ambition is undeniably successful: Under listening Collects approximately 400,000 unique listens per week and allows known A comic genius – Connoisseurs of humor – multiply.

“Before, many of my audience said: ‘Asti, he makes me laugh, because he crowns.’ It didn’t bother me, but it felt like what I was doing wasn’t just cursing. There were gags, reflection. The only way they would find out was if they heard me talking about my process with other comedians. »

Essential freedom

As a teenager, Mike Ward recorded a copied tape of an episode of Howard Stern’s show called “A Friend or My Brother’s Friend”. “It was kind of trash radio in my style,” he recalls. No one knows the meaning of the word radio is prohibited.

A stark contrast to Quebec commercial radio, whose on-air troublemaker had already caught fire in his early days as an alternative columnist. “After two days, I was told: ‘You are really good’, and after five days, I was told: ‘Don’t forget Mike, this is Martin, 34, a resident of Beauharnois, listening to the show. ‘ »

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what is the problem

I worked hard and I criticized the radio samples. The animator offered a song: “I really like this”, and I replied: “Oh, seriously, do you like this song?”

Mike Ward

Under listening Responsive to any obstacle and vulgar and moving, relevant and irreverent, octogenarians Yvan Deschamps and twenty-something Megan Brouillard are in line. All things considered, an episode of YouTube’s most-viewed French-language comedy podcast for young Quebec comedians, The Tonight Show For American comedians of the 1970s and 1980s by Johnny Carson.

“Older comedians who don’t like the younger ones, it always scares me,” says Mike Ward, 48, especially proud of his role as a sponsor of the next generation.

But beyond this altruistic dimension, Under listening Mike Ward also helps a lot by letting him show his sensitivity and putting him on the good side of things at the height of his frustration due to his legal troubles. “This Under listening It kept me alive,” he says, though the memory of some of the recordings is now blurred by a torrent of vodka-Diet Coke.

An unlikely legacy

Just submitted Under listening At ComediHa! Fest-Québec, where hundreds of spectators were turned away under a tent, the highly unusual idea of ​​recording at the Bell Center was born. “At first, we thought it would be more fun if we only sold 43 tickets,” Ward joked. Twenty thousand seven hundred seats, fortunately or unfortunately, have found takers at the moment (up to about 22,000), a world record for the largest number of ears collected for a podcast recording.

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Always 100% independent, Under listening Now, Mike Ward’s main livelihood is thanks to ads, ticket sales and subscriptions on Patreon. Many producers have tried to acquire the rights since 2015.

The best offer he received? “7.5 million,” he replied. The journalist jumped. “ Call her daddy [balado américaine sur la sexualité] Just signed with Spotify for 60 million. “If you come to me with an offer of less than 10 million, I will take it as an insult.” They gave me a 7.5, but I didn’t take that as an insult. »

After thinking about the comfortable life that such fortune would allow him to invent, Mike Ward remembers that he gave birth. Under listening To taste the freedom never seen in traditional media. Trading it for cash would be a betrayal of the essence of the podcast, which he considers his artistic testament.

“Jean Thomas [Jobin] Once said to me, “I think this will be the most important project of your life.” I answered him: “Let’s see! I’m on YouTube and drunk in front of the world.” But I think he’s right. In 20 years, when we talk about me, we’ll still be talking about my trial, but maybe Under listening Happens equally. »

Time will tell the court.

Mike Ward was wiretappedJuly 22 at 8 p.m., at the Bell Center