“It looks like I’m starting to master this,” slips Louis-José Houde during the conversation, in the dressing rooms of the Brothel, between two shows. That ? That, as in the art of stand-up, which he has practiced for more than 25 years, with some success. The Press attended one of the last run-in evenings for You Are Not Special, the third “hidden show” of the man who does not hide his joy at having become a father.
In the previous episode, Louis-José Houde confided to us, with a fragility that we did not know about him, his sadness at seeing the years slip by while his dream of becoming a father eluded him. Entitled A Thousand Bad Choices, this fifth show will have transformed the public’s perception of it, in addition to redefining the contours of what a comedy show can be in Quebec.
But, because happiness sometimes resides next door to unhappiness, the comedian would soon meet the woman with whom, finally, he would have the happiness of reproducing. At 46, Louis-José Houde is now the father of a vigorous 10-month-old baby. “I wanted to avoid this passage that many of my colleagues take,” he confides about the obligatory work inspired by parenthood.
Already, in the hospital cafeteria where the miracle of life occurred, somewhere between drowsiness and euphoria, PapaLouis-José was writing down ideas in his little notebook. He will therefore quickly transcend his initial modesty, especially since his “venerable” age and the small generational gap between his lover and him singularize his story of his paternity.
“I am speaking to you directly from a great happiness. I’m speaking to you live from great fatigue”, he announces with great poetry, and accurately, at the beginning of You’re Not Special, which he only has to present around thirty times during the course. over the next few months in places like the Cinquième Salle of the Place des Arts, the Gesù or the Petit Champlain, a choice that we understand, but which we cannot help but gently reproach him for, as this show counts among his best.
This third “hidden show” contains everything that makes a Louis-José Houde show a Louis-José Houde show – its repetitions of the same idea in several synonymous variations, its addresses to the public on the tone of an old crooner, this haunting undertone of melancholy -, but also new colors for him, including a particularly bawdy formula that he likes to trumpet and an opening with a surprisingly calm rhythm. “I’ve never started a show so slowly,” he says, “and that’s on purpose: I’ve never started a show so tired. »
In the dressing rooms of the Bordel, where he was finishing his run-in, at the end of December, Louis-José Houde displayed, during the break between his 7 p.m. show and that of 9 p.m., his characteristic expression (translation: happy and a little sleepy ) of a father torn between the gratitude of being able to leave the house for a moment and the little guilt of leaving mom alone at the front.
If he chose to insert You Are Not Special into his franchise of hidden shows, set up in 2007 in order to give a second life to scraps from his first show, it is because he was not there was no question of immediately setting off again on the vast roads of the province, but above all because A Thousand Bad Choices taught him that a text rooted in very intimate material gets old quickly.
Proclaiming on stage that we no longer believe in love and massaging the feet of his pregnant girlfriend once back in the comfort of his marital home: our man was experiencing, at the end of his previous tour, a sort of cognitive dissonance.
Compared to the career arc of the Rolling Stones, one of his favorite groups, where is Louis-José Houde? “Pretty much Some Girls. » The 1978 album on which Jagger and Richards tried to show the punks that they were punkier than them? “Yeah, there, I don’t want to seem like I’m telling young people to ‘shut up!’, especially since that’s really what’s stimulating about Bordel and Quebec humor at the moment: I can You might as well be inspired by seeing Martin Petit as a 21-year-old girl just starting out. »
“I said Some Girls,” explains the man who now has seven children younger than Grandpa Mick, “because I was thinking more about the idea of a new lease of life. And the Some Girls tour, which only lasted 25 dates. » And which is today considered one of the most striking of the Stones.
Louis-José Houde always had the impression of speaking, on stage, “with his heart and his stomach”. “We always think we’re doing it, but looking back, I realize I wasn’t doing it that much,” he observes.
It was until A Thousand Bad Choices, a creative turning point, of which You’re Not Special can be considered as the positive and bright sequel, the show of a guy who certainly wouldn’t say no to a little nap , but looking much better than the last time you saw him.
“A Thousand Bad Choices opened me up to lots of ways of writing humor,” he explains.
“I don’t have to chase punch, I can take the time to put my things in place,” he adds. Especially making people laugh every two seconds, I’ve done it a lot and, like any artist, the sound changes. »
If he continues where he left off, Louis-José Houde also clears new territories in a tirade during which he rebels against the triumph of emotion, because of which every TV show, every sporting event, every advertisement must absolutely end in a tearful session, with pompous music and an enumeration by the competitor’s family of the ordeals which have afflicted him.
A “stunning and extremely sticky” media inclination, coupled with a misrepresentation of the primary meaning of words by a number of companies, including this big brand of calorific donuts, where you will be greeted using the word “guest”, or at the dealership automobile, who will congratulate you on joining the “family” by handing you your keys.
“It’s taking people for imbeciles to go and pick from words we like and put them anywhere,” laments the man who has rarely sounded as much like a disciple of George Carlin as during this segment , which transcends the simple register of observation, to better touch, perhaps for the first time, on social commentary. “It’s a lack of respect for words and a lack of respect for people. I’m not thick either! »
Louis-José Houde therefore continues to work to become more real. But what is truth to a comedian? He widens his eyes.
“It looks like I would write a thesis on that,” he says. It is not necessarily telling something that really happened, even if what I say is most of the time true. And it’s also not trying to tell something that people find themselves in, because the less you try, the more they find themselves. »
Louis-José thinks. “The word vulnerability comes up way too much, all the time, but I think there’s something there. I received a lot of testimonials about A Thousand Bad Choices from people who told me that it did them good to hear me admit that I was alone, depressed, and that I had started taking antidepressants. 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have even considered going there on stage, it would have bothered me too much. »
“When you talk about something that is close to your heart,” he adds, “you have some way in the truth. » Enough to conclude that by addressing his fatherhood, one of the most powerful and vulnerable human experiences, Louis-José Houde could no longer touch the truth.