Nantel Boy |  Like in a wrestling ring

Nantel Boy | Like in a wrestling ring

“For me, the stage is like a wrestling ring,” illustrates Guy Nantel, who likes to play bad, but claims to be good. “There is a convention between the public and the fighter. If after the gala you talk to the fighter as if he was still in character, you’re wrong. »

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Press

“Over the last few years, there has been a lot of controversy around this,” says Guy Nantel, sitting in the living room of his Plateau Mont-Royal residence, a few weeks before his remarkable visit to everybody talks about it.

What controversies are you talking about? There are starting to be a few. The comedian discusses the controversies surrounding the varying degrees of irony that seem to be present when he speaks on stage. Latest scenario to date: If I understand you correctly, you’re saying…his new show, which he will present to the media on Tuesday, but which Press I saw running in Cowansville, late September.

As this title suggests, the former candidate for the leadership of the Parti Québécois dedicates a good part of this sixth just to taking stock of his career. Reconnecting with an alter ego that constantly switches from condescension to self-mockery, Nantel mocks conspiracy theorists, the elderly (many of whom are in his audience), vegans, woke upJustin Trudeau, René Lévesque and, briefly, colleague Marc Cassivi.

And while no one would dare to conclude that he is serious when he suggests that getting rid of the baby boomers might do the best to avert the ecological catastrophe that threatens the planet, the actual view he takes on some of his other goals seems more equivocal. Does he really mean everything he says about vegans, but not the most damaging group to our common life?

“I find it paradoxical, because the people who ignite these controversies are the same ones who will say that you have to trust the intelligence of the public. It sucks to say that on the one hand, but to say on the other that you have to take your gags off all the time,” he explains. A courteous, almost gentle interlocutor, our host can also turn on in a second.

I have confidence in the fact that people understand that it is a theater character that I play, which is often pure provocation. Ultimately, all I care about is: what would a reasonable person think of this?

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caricaturist and painter

That Guy Nantel spoke like a citizen, without the screen of humor, during the race for the leadership of the PQ, and that he continues to do so regularly on the air of QUB Radio, does he not confuse him or the letters?

It’s because there are two Guy Nantels, he argues, describing his work as that of a caricaturist (his profession as a comedian), who sometimes paints “real canvases,” such as when he’s in the show. The world upside down by Stephen Bureau. “I don’t understand that some people don’t understand the level, which for me is very obvious. If I had a hat, a wig and false teeth, everyone would understand, but it’s the same. Onstage, we don’t give a damn about Guy Nantel’s true opinion. The important thing is what is most profitable for the character. »

A “great settler” character, the antithesis of the man he really is, claims the one who triumphed in 1994 The World Destiny Race and that, in 54 years of life, he has visited about sixty countries.


PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

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What is in his eyes of limpid comic convention obviously escapes many of his critics, he is pointed out. “Because a lot of people are stupid. You write it. There are a lot of idiots who, just to be virtuous, no longer distinguish between a character and the person who embodies it. We are experiencing a huge loss of orientation. »

To the right or to the left

It was in the mid-2000s, as the show’s monologue-in-residence. there will be sports de Télé-Québec, that this Montreal-born son of a taxi driver really meets his audience, after having wandered around many bars.

First celebrated by a certain intelligentsia because he participated in the revival of political humor, Guy Nantel has been at the center of several controversies in recent years, notably due to a video posted online to promote his offensive bookin which he debated with the author Lili Boisvert and the humorist Anne-Marie Dupras on the culture of rape, an expression that, according to him, contributes “to the division rather than to the solution of problems”.

For him, “it’s obvious,” the Québec media tends to the left. But Guy Nantel, is he from the right or from the left? “I know that the world bothers him, but I am a type of center,” he cuts, while specifying that his stage character “is more to the right” than him.


PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, THE PRESS

nantel boy

Ben of the world told me that he had changed, but I don’t have that impression. I feel like the world has changed around me. But in Quebec, from the moment you criticize immigration thresholds, for example, you pass for someone on the right.

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Guy Nantel essentially defines himself as a “rational, pragmatic guy.” And the image that some have of him, even among those who appreciate him, would be distorted by some a priori. “The producer of the Stéphan Bureau program told me the other day: ‘I can’t believe you live on the Plateau. To me, you were a right-wing traveler.” But why do you think that? It’s like we thought Jean-Pierre Masson was very scratchy because he played Seraphin. »

Who is Guy Nantel? “I am an ordinary guy who, like the silent critical mass, does not think in extremes. But people paint the portrait of me that suits them. People are immature in political debate. We are not capable of discussing social problems without getting emotional. We are all for virtue. It’s just that not everyone adheres to the same solutions to achieve what they see as the common good. »

If I understand you correctly, you’re saying…October 25 at the Place des Arts

PQ, despite everything

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    PHOTO OLIVIER JEAN, DE LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

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    PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

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  • Guy Nantel during the race for the Parti Québécois leadership

    PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

    Guy Nantel during the race for the Parti Québécois leadership

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One of the best parts of Guy Nantel’s new show involves a regular evisceration of the rather Byzantine authorities of the Parti Québécois. If he remains faithful to the sovereignist formation, for which he voted on October 3, the defeated candidate confesses that he was disappointed by the reception he received during the 2020 leadership race, while he had nevertheless been approached by the tenors of the PQ (whom he preferred not to name). “We often hear that it is difficult for someone who is not from the establishment to find a place at a party, and I understood what that meant. We like to say that politics belongs to everyone, but I have been bombarded with comments from sovereignists who say that I was just a distraction, because I am a comedian. That’s what bothered me the most. »


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