No couple stories? Do not see this self-imposed constraint as a judgment on the work of others. Guillaume Pineault’s excellent first show, Détour, after all contained several marital jokes, even a passage in which he confided that he dreamed of fatherhood.
So what’s the problem? This is because these jokes suddenly became less pleasant to deliver after his high-profile breakup with actress Anne-Élisabeth Bossé occurred in September 2022. How to negotiate the many months of touring that remained on his schedule without feeling like he was lying to his audience, mostly made up of people who were aware of the hard times he was going through?
“The first few times I did the show, after my breakup, I told myself I was going to improvise something to explain at the end of the last number that my life had changed since I wrote it,” tells the comedian about the performances that Victoriaville undoubtedly remembers.
In order to prevent his show from transforming each evening into an involuntary visit to Montmorency Falls, Guillaume Pineault took the precaution of adding, as an epilogue, the story of a conversation with his mother, during which the son had asked about the recipe for success in his parents’ relationship in these words: “How did you manage to be good with Dad for 43 years? »
Wise response from his mother: “The goal is not to be good as a couple, it’s to be good with yourself. » A sentence which will become the common thread of Vulnerable, his second show, which is titled like this because its director, Mickaël Gouin, one day pointed out to his friend that it is rare for a comedian to allow himself to be at this point.
Which is both completely fair and a little (barely) misleading, insofar as Pineault’s little second is essentially based, like the first, on a series of anecdotes in which he tries to extricate himself from more or less benign problems by adopting the least effective strategies. The 40-year-old remains, first and foremost, an endearing and explosive storyteller, well aware that his most laughter-filled character is himself.
But, like several of his colleagues recently driven by a desire to anchor their acts in more substantial, even intimate material, Guillaume Pineault wanted not only to make people laugh, but also to say something that really matters to him.
The word “truth” will also come up several times during the interview, his script-editor, Pascal Mailloux, having often told him over the last few months that he must at all costs “do Pineault”, even if it means putting aside, for example, an effective, but more generic number inspired by his misadventures on Kijiji.
The comedian emphasizes in passing that he kept in mind that a review of his first show argued that he could allow himself, on occasion, to shoot down “the gag machine gun”. Smiles heard on both sides. “You see: we read them, the reviews! »
Whether he talks about his anxiety, his visits to the psychologist and the incommunicability that reigns over his family, deeply marked by his brother’s deafness, Guillaume Pineault testifies on stage to the quest that guides his daily life: unraveling the tangled threads of his mind and his heart, rather than short-circuiting the problem by rushing into the arms of the first coming.
“When I started the run-in, I was very stressed, because I was afraid that guys would come out of the room saying: Let’s see, what’s the problem with his emotions? », admits the man who has nothing of a Cro-Magnon man, but who, like many representatives of his generation, does not necessarily say “I love you” easily to his father. “And on the contrary, it’s in these ends where it fits the most. I found it beautiful that guys came and said to me afterwards: Me too, my father doesn’t say “I love you” to me. »
A few weeks ago, his father visited him to help him paint a few rooms. “And when my father left for Saint-Hyacinthe, he came to just give me his hand and, instead, I hugged him, a little bit of strength. But it was worth it: we experienced something for real and that’s what I want to happen with the show. » The truth always pays off.