Festival with distancing

Festival with distancing

In the animation of a gala Just for laughs for a 17th straight year, this time with Korin side, Laurent Paquin will live a “carte blanche evening” full pandemic Tuesday night at Théâtre St-Denis. “These are not the ideal conditions, but we try to find our pleasure,” he says.

Caught at the end of the line between two rehearsals, Laurent Paquin was putting the finishing touches on the two galas that he will co-host on Tuesday evening. In recent days, Korine Côté and he have gone to run their acts in a few small venues near Montreal.

The two comedians must of course comply with the various health measures put in place to ensure safety in times of COVID.

“Co-animating with a distance is special,” says Laurent. I am a very warm guy who loves to hug and give handshakes. I have to do violence to myself! ”

Nostalgia for St-Denis

In their animation, the two comedians will allude to the pandemic, but without spreading further. “It's not a subject that I'm very fond of,” says Laurent. I also took for granted that too many people were going to talk about it and that it would be hard to be original. ”

It was Laurent himself who suggested Korine Côté as co-host for his carte blanche evenings. “This is the first name I came up with. Korine is one of my favorite comedians in the world. I find her extremely intelligent and punchy. ”

For almost ten years, the Just for Laughs Festival has presented its galas at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts. But since the 3000-seat theater is currently occupied by the Espace YOOP [the virtual performance platform], the festival will return to the place where it was held for more than 25 years: the Théâtre St-Denis.

“I'm happy, because I preferred the St-Denis to the Place des Arts, admits Laurent. It's a warmer tick. But maybe it's just misplaced nostalgia! I started at St-Denis. My first galas were there. I remember the excitement behind the scenes. ”

Sparse crowd

The two shows on Tuesday will however be very different from those of the past since only 250 people will be able to attend. What does Laurent expect in the atmosphere?

“We are in denial right now! he replies. We don't think too much about that. We are all curious to see how it will be done. I can't wait to see how it sounds, a St-Denis where there are only 250 people. I think that stresses me out more than my number itself! (Laughs) ”

In 17 years at the helm of a gala, or an evening carte blanche, Laurent Paquin will have experienced a sex scandal [with the Gilbert Rozon affair] and a pandemic. But the comedian is still loyal to the post.

“I am like the oak that resists bad weather. (Laughs) For the next few years, I'd like to come back to doing it in more normal contexts. I would like to do that in a context where we live in a Quebec that is doing well. It seems to me that would be fun! ”

The Just for Laughs Festival will run from Tuesday until October 10. The Evenings carte blanche will be broadcast this winter on Noovo. For details: hahaha.com .

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