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Foolin’ Around in French: An Aprils Fools’ tribute to funny Francophiles

Photo by: GQ

Laughter is international. Funny speaks to all peoples. Though the French may not have invented the “guffaw” historical and modern French Comedians and Comedienne have made a hilarious impact that is NOT to be scoffed at!

In serious celebration of April Fools - here are a few notable, knee-slapping favorites French funny folks. For guaranteed giggles and good times read on!

Blast from the French Comic Past:

Aristide Bruant – 6 May 1851 – 11 February 1925, a cabaret singer-comedian, and nightclub owner. Known as the man in the red scarf and black cape – Bruant is immortalized in numerous works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Born in the village of Courtney, Loiret, Bruant made his way to Montmartre Quarter of Paris finding an audience for his budding musical talent. In Paris, Bruant performed at the famous (infamous) Le Chat Noir club and then opening his own venue, the Le Mirliton. At Le Mirliton Burant collaborated with other artists and continued to perform nightly honing unique perspectives  “the comedy of insult” and chanson réaliste (realist song).

Vaudeville, musical entertainment, comedy, and dance – Bruant is a truly cross-genre representation of the best of the French popular fine arts performance.

As seen on the Silver Screen:

French, American and Italian audience have enjoyed may a chuckle thanks to classic French film actor and comedian Fernand Joseph Désiré Contandin.

Stateside we may know of Contrandin from Hollywood’s Around the World in 80 Days, and/or his co-starring role alongside Bob Hope in Paris Holiday.  Paris families enjoyed Contandian’s recurring appearance on French TV, reviews, commercials, and various TV shows and film specials.

This Top Comic French actor’s signature “horse like” teeth were at signature trademark and topic of many a roasting – from himself and others alike. Before his death in 1971 moved behind the scenes producing both TV and films, many of which were collaborations with actress wife: Henriette Manse.

Ladies Night:

Shirly Souagnon Born in 1986, Sougnan came to the Nation’s attention with her 2008 one-woman show: Sketch Up!

Funny as enfer, Souagnon has and can be enjoyed in numerous stage, film, television, and radio performances. Also a columnist – her work appears weekly on the Samedi Roumanoff on channel Europe 1.

Presently Souagnon is the “mother” of France’s Women’s Basketball League. She continues to produce and write shows celebrating humor and basketball. Openly gay, Souagnon uses her humor to promote and educate the experiences of women, lesbians and peoples of color.

Satire save the day:

Alex Lutz and Bruno Sanches: the men underneath the skirts of Catherine and Liliane are two playwrights and performers are best recognized as their femme “stage identities”. Wig wearing, nitpicking, cultural comentarians  – Catherine and Liliane are beloved amongst French TV audiences.

Sexy, silly, cheeky, and smart Catherine and Liliane began in 2011 and is still “streaming” strong today.

Both Lutz and Sanches write, direct and appear in other projects, however, no other project holds space in the French cultural lexicon as does Catherine and Liliane.

Up and coming: 

Maybe the most provocative up and coming comedian in France, Fary has been touring around the country for the last five years. But his Netflix special, “Fary is the New Black” has gotten a lot of attention, in Europe and overseas. With his unique way to challenge racism and stereotypes, he asks thought-provoking questions throughout his show, about self-image, extremism, and religions. He has a unique way to play with his audience and their reaction. Actually, there’s no way his act won’t make you burst out of laughing, and think the next second.

Ticklish for more French Funny?

Our Pals at Culture List offer an interesting list of silly French men and women worth checking out. For classic Francophone comedy exploration: check out: streaming options on Kanopy (all you need is a library card and a bowl of popcorn to enjoy the numerous French film selection – don’t tell Netflix!)

Have another French ha-ha master – historic or up and coming – we should tune in to? Shout us out – we are always up for a kidding!

Happy hijinx, and tee-hees from your neighborhood light-hearted French Family #LFBK


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