December 9, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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The Return of Michel Courtemanche | The hero is no longer tired

The Return of Michel Courtemanche |  The hero is no longer tired

Twenty-five years after his only and disastrous performance of the show confusion, in 1997, Michel Courtemanche’s gala Comediha! Fest-Québec. The comedian tells how he overcame his morbid stage fright and why his talent “didn’t fall on the right guy”.

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The late Dominick

The late Dominick

“I took the wrong exit. Michel Courtemanche talks not about traveling the highway, but about his career trajectory. Slowly the separation begins: the young man is already playing mimes with his friends at the most (or at least) favorable moments. “In poly, we smoked big bats and when the world really froze, I pretended to be behind the window. »

The real Mario Lemieux of the MIM (the Montmorency improv movement founded by a certain Claude Legault), ends when he abandons himself to the flow of a river mightier than us in 1986 on the stage of Club Soda. Just for Laughs is an audition on Mondays. His most memorable number Drummer, played at a festival of the same name the following year, catapulted it into orbit. He would not return to Earth following a decade of sole representation, aborted mid-flight confusionOn July 17, 1997, an improvised performance with a painfully satirical title presented the true chaos that reigned over his head and his life.

But, contrary to popular belief, Michel Courtemanche was not on stage for the last time on July 17, but on July 21, 1997 during a show under the stars in the Old Port. She is a journalist, albeit a mostly glowing reviewer Press Suzanne Kolpron writes: “Today we think he is ready to move on, but this other thing is not yet clear in his mind. In a word, he was looking for himself. »

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She also invokes the “persistence and enthusiasm of people who refuse to let him go” as well as a new number for the recall, “Super Tired Hero”.

A well-worn hero, Michel Courtemanche is exactly that. So that, though propositions multiply, he is not moved: the appearances, for him, are over.

Photo by Robert Maillux, Press Archives

27-year-old Michel Courtemanche in October 1992

“I had offers, yes, but I didn’t care, I didn’t say anything, it wasn’t clear,” he recalled recently in a long interview in a cafe. Outremont, his old neighborhood.

I am stressed, my mental health issues are still undiagnosed. It didn’t go well. The environment in which I evolved was unhealthy.

Michael Courtemanche

Every time he has to utter the words Just for Laughs, his old box, the comedian mimics reaching out to the Just for Laughs group in 2022, even though it has little to do with its founders. .

“I had to stop, otherwise I would be lost. I turned down big contracts, but I had to take time for myself. »

Michael and Short sleeve shirt

Why, 25 years after leaving the boards, Michele Courtemanche agreed to host a gala at ComediHa! Fest-Québec and to reveal a new number of visual humor — good old Courtmanche! — during the Anthony Kavanagh gala?

First of all, remember that he has already returned to the stage in 2019 with the surprising number expected by the Frenchman Kev Adams and by resuming 2016. DrummerTo identify 30e birthday, but especially his nephews and nieces who can see my uncle anywhere other than in the living room.

Despite these noble intentions, the experience was painful. “At the end, I was playing like I was out of juice, and I really was out of juice,” he recalled.

“Michel was scared, and after his number, he was close to passing out. If Mario Jean hadn’t supported him, I’m sure he would have fallen because he had no legs,” said his brother Jean In face to face (KO Editions, 2018), a fascinating, tragic and sometimes disturbing biography of Courtemanche by Jean-Yves Girard.

“It was my stage fright, actually trying. I wanted to die before going on stage,” said the main interested party. From his second and final tour, the man with the blessed face shared his daily life, as soon as he got up, with stage fright worthy of a lead screed. Live The thought of participating in a TV show made him want to turn down such an invitation.

“It’s an old defensive reflex that has gotten worse over the years. I’ve come to fear that even the people who paid for the tickets won’t like me. I feel like I have to get them every night. Instead of allaying this fear, the throngs of admirers who systematically await his arrival at the French theater exacerbate it. .

Photo by Oliver Jean, Pres

Michael Courtemanche

There was Michel, the man and the star Courtemanche, whom the public adored. But Michael was unable to hold Courtmanche. People saw me on a level and I felt at the very bottom.

Michael Courtemanche

But thanks to a hypnologist, the comedian has been able to recapture the feverish energy he found himself in the past few years, when he was about to stomp the improv rink on his debut. Comedy! Circumstances allowed him to gladly accept the invitation of, though we expect no real return.

“There, it’s fun because it’s episodic. But comedy was not what I wanted to do in life. Me, I wanted to be a director”, says the man who studied in the field and later directed the series. Cafe Camera.

Photo by Patrick Sansfaccone, Law Press Archives

Michelle Courtemanche on the set of the show WirelessIn 2008

“Talent does not fall on the right person. To extricate myself from Quebec, I didn’t go on tour. Me, I want to make people laugh at a dinner party, but doing the same thing night after night, for three years, I’m bored in ST. It’s not very creative. »

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The jacket By Tanya

At 57, Michael Courtemanche looks to be in better shape than he’s been in a quarter century, a beneficial effect of the training he’s resumed to prepare for his gala. The man takes care of his body, regularly helps people living with bipolarity and is busy with projects, including a show in 2023 where young comedians will perform his unforgettable numbers.

But Michel Courtemanche was less reluctant than before to drop his armor. At the end of the interview, an almost trivial question about his legendary sleeveless jacket, reduced him to tears for several minutes.

Michel recounts that in 1996, Tania, a young Swiss recovering from cancer, asked him to meet. It was his childhood dream. “She came to me with lots of gifts that she had made, including a jacket like mine. Recently I found a jacket in a box. I never got around to wearing it because I put off and decided to do it during Anthony’s gala. »

Mitchell wiped his eyes with his palms. “I don’t know what happened to Tania, but her jacket, I’d love to tell her that I’m going to wear it. »

Why is Michael Courtemanche back on stage? This reason alone is sufficient.

Comedy! By Michelle Courtemanche, August 12 at 7:45pm at Capitol Theater

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