Mick Jagger took control of Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais. At least that’s what he told us in a sports brasserie adjoining the Bell Center, where the tour will conclude next Thursday that has raised him to the rank of the most popular Quebec comedians, a status he is still trying to tame.
Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais has found the best joke. Which ? He won’t tell us right away. Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais has found the best joke: it’s the title of the 255th and final performance of his Jokes Chapeau Maman Magie Piano tour, of which he will offer a deluxe version at the Bell Center next week.
But the further the conversation goes, the clearer it becomes that the best joke is the very idea of putting on a show at the Bell Center.
We are almost there, seated as we are at La Cage adjoining the home of the Bleu-blanc-rouge, in front of a pint of one of these beers drawing a strange pride from its unalterable coldness. We would have liked to walk through the doors of the arena itself, but a former star of the Degrassi series was there that day. The comedian looks like a big shot: “Listen, we can go later if you want, I just have to text it, Drake. »
Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais is of course not the first comedian to utter this phrase – “Imagine if we did that at the Bell Center!” ” – just for Laughs. The project of transposing into such a vast enclosure an art form that can be amply satisfied with a microphone and a stool borders, a priori, on a ridicule similar to that of a Cirque du Soleil production in a pocket theater.
But Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais, whose performances resemble long CrossFit sessions, punctuated with jokes, is in the current Quebec comic ecosystem the one whose gestures on fast forward, the intensity of a sprinter and the facies of plasticine justify the most such amphitheater.
“As the months passed, the show became more like a sporting performance,” he agrees. In the beginning, I played him a lot in the naivety, in the wonder of being there, but the character has gained a lot of confidence: I kick the air, I think myself good, I make fun of the public. It’s like Mick Jagger has taken over the show. »
If he likes to play the arrogant so much, it’s because Piouaille isn’t really the kid Kodak on whose skin the flashes feel like a balm. During his first moments aboard the show business bus, the twenty-something was more spontaneously offended by the princely attitude of some of his colleagues (in the broad sense) “who think that everything is their due, who take it for granted that everyone knows them, who claim respect from us Muggles”.
“And today, it just makes me laugh,” he observes. Arrogance couldn’t be further from me going to the convenience store to buy milk. I’m happy to do a show at the Bell Center, but there’s a part of me that finds it really funny to think I’m a kingpin. »
Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais is a popular comedian; writing this sentence seems as relevant as telling you that the sky is blue. “But my relationship to the popular word, I’m working on that. It still has something a little pejorative in my eyes, ”says the one who won three statuettes at the most recent Les Olivier Gala, including the Olivier of the Year, and who is preparing, he is reminded, to play at the Bell Center, not exactly a confidential room.
This is because, although today he is one of the most prominent jokers of his generation, Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais descends from Denis Drolet and Chick’n Swell, comedians whose success is more of a cult than a mass phenomenon.
“I wonder: can my humor be a popular restaurant where chefs like to eat, an accessible yet refined experience? “, he explains before swallowing one of his words, for fear of passing for one of these Narcissus of which he likes to play the head. “Not in the sense that my humor is refined…but in the sense that I’ve always had this desire to make people laugh who made me laugh as well. »
The people who made him laugh? During a recent visit by Claude Meunier to one of his rooms, Pierre-Yves, a fervent disciple of Paul and Paul, will have spent the whole evening on stage wondering: “Does this sound good to you?” That, do you find that a loser? »
“And after the show, as soon as he came out of the dressing room, after coming to say hello to me, I kept saying to Sam [Boisvert, his friend who’s opening for him], ‘Do you realize that was Claude Meunier? Do you realize it was Claude Meunier?” »
In order to appease this furtive fear that the big spotlights do not correspond to his deep nature, Pierre-Yves therefore repeats to himself, thinking of Ding and Dong or La petite vie, “there is something beautiful when everyone embarks on delirium”.
Last March, picking up one of his trophies bearing the image of Olivier Guimond, Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais launched on the podium that it is “super important to encourage young people who want to make jokes even if it does not look like a lucrative path”.
It is because he is aware that the trust his parents have invested in him remains among his most powerful tools. “The thing that I never had a plan B is that they never doubted me,” he says. I don’t think I was the most talented around, I wasn’t the best, but I never doubted that I belonged. I have talented friends that I would like to give that confidence to. Want to shoot a sketch? OK, call so-and-so to borrow his camera, call me, I’ll come and do the sound. Me, when I was doing that, I was never afraid of disturbing anyone. »
At the heart of an industry where artistic considerations sometimes give way to less noble economic ones, Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais also hopes to be able to continue to consider his career as a creator, first and foremost, rather than as the manager of an SME.
I like jokes: this is the leitmotif of Pierre-Yves Roy-Desmarais’ show, which he will be presenting next Thursday. “Since I was little I have loved jokes and it is precisely because humor is a business that I try to never forget to make my jokes with love. When people joke with love, it makes all the difference. »