What would a start to the year be without a controversy that no one could have predicted?

On January 16, Journal de Montreal columnist Denise Bombardier spoke out, with her usual sense of nuance, against these “humorists specializing in a language tinged with fecal matter, pornographic sexual expressions and gestures including violence symbolic should remain locked in the sewers”.

An unforgettable flatulence scene from Prime’s LOL: Who’s Laughing Last? had then taken the polemicist out of his hinges, an irritation echoing the many emails that your journalist receives from nostalgics of Yvon Deschamps and the Cynics each time he has the misfortune to sign an article about a humorist.

But is a joke invoking the dirty functions of the lower body necessarily an easy joke? “Using vulgarity as a punch, that’s easy. But a good seed joke is as hard to write as a good political joke, “says comedian Simon Delisle (nominated Sunday in the Author of the Year / Show category for his work with Guillaume Pineault ).

“Are there more today than before, sexu and scat jokes?” Yes. Are they always easy? No,” thinks comedian and script editor of Sunday’s ceremony, Justine Philie (nominated in the category of Comedy Number of the Year for her contribution to the monologue La Fourche by Korine Côté). She also collaborated with Christine Morency (cited in the prestigious category of Olivier of the Year) on the writing of her show Grace, which recounts without understatement many of her carnal experiences.

Among the artists currently on tour in Quebec who drink from this inexhaustible source, let us also name Jo Cormier (who devotes an enjoyable passage of Animal on the scale of Bristol; you will google), Sam Breton (quoted twice on Sunday), whose show Au pic pis à shovel ends with an anecdote of defecation in a place that was not designed for this purpose, Eve Côté (quoted in the category Capsule or humorous radio sketch of the year), who gives heart to joy in the saucy, and Mariana Mazza, who has elevated her vagina to the status of a muse.

Simon Delisle submits an example from his (excellent) show Invincible, in which he recounts having once seen a mirrored cabinet at the gym struggling to push iron with an intensity that prevented him from keeping full control of his sphincters.

“What makes me laugh in there is a bit of the guy shitting himself, yes, but it’s mostly male pride. That’s what’s funny,” he explains. “The clearer the referent of a joke, the faster the image enters the brain of the public. And when we talk about fart or sex, everyone has the referent. This is the autobahn of jokes. »

Professor in the Department of Literary Studies at UQAM Antonio Dominguez Leiva reminds us: our species’ interest in this type of humor is not new. “From Greco-Roman antiquity, we find scatological representations. »

And that’s not counting the greatest English playwright, in whom was hiding a follower of spicy puns. “A man can break a word with you, sir, a word is but wind, and he can break it to your face; as long as he doesn’t break it from behind,” says Dromio of Ephesus in The Comedy of Errors (written at the end of the 16th century), one example among many of this kind of lines, numerous in the theater of a certain Shakespeare.

According to the great carnivalesque theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, “the worldview of popular culture is linked to an inversion of the hierarchy of the body established in particular by the Church and by the affirmation of the lower body, in opposition to what was considered as noble and spiritual by the aristocratic and bourgeois culture and which was located in the upper body,” recalls Antonio Dominguez Leiva.

In a society where the grip of these values ​​is no longer so tight, faecal humor would nevertheless still have a subversive content, but for other reasons. “Given the cult of the performing and desirable body that is very dominant today, everything that is scat is becoming a bit taboo again,” says the professor.

For Justine Philie, women who dare to draw their subjects from the bathroom or the bedroom would be victims of an incorrigible double standard.

“We don’t give women, and even less a woman with the physique of Christine Morency, the right to be as raw as their male colleagues, and it is in this sense that her presence on stage has something political thing. Sex jokes are liberating and feminist for women because we continue to expect a kind of propriety from them. »

The importance of evenings in bars has undoubtedly also contributed to untie the tongues among comedians who are today a majority to release their numbers there, advances Simon Delisle. In a context where TV plays a less decisive role than before in the emergence of a comic career, there is no need to police your language in order to please broadcasters.

Was Quebec humor much better before? “People who say that obviously don’t consume a lot of humor,” replies Justine Philie, celebrating an offer that is more plural than ever. “The nostalgia we have for the past of humor is about something very specific. »

Indeed, how not to underline that at the time when Yvon Deschamps triumphed at the Place des Arts, the Roméo Pérusse, Claude Blanchard and Ti-Gus et Ti-Mousse practiced a humor not only bawdy, but sometimes weighed down with serious prejudices towards the minorities ?

How also not to add that flatulence, by the surprise it causes, has something deeply incongruous and therefore deeply funny? “Sometimes a fart joke is just a fart joke,” concludes Justine Philie. And it’s very correct like that. »