“The melancholy”: like a smell of “End of the world is at 7 am”
The official poster of La mélancolite, available on ICI Tou.tv
The unforgettable End of the world is at 7 a.m.will celebrate its 25th anniversary in September and… unfortunately no particular event is planned to mark this important television anniversary. No reunion will soon bring back to life the most entertaining newscast to have scoured the Quebec airwaves. Forgive us for the fleeting false hope.
Instead, Bruno Blanchet takes out of the wardrobe his Tite-Dent, Petit bonhomme pas de cou, Gros Gin, Anne-Marie Losique (and his prominent lips ), Bébelle and Gazou, the Magic Plumber and the Mime, who have never ceased to exist in the collective imagination anyway, and bring them back to life in La mélancolite, a fiction for which the qualifier “quirky” appears as an understatement, halfway between the completely absurd web series and the auteur film. Melancolite is a strange television “bug”, of the caliber of those of which only Bruno Blanchet has the secret.
One-on-one on Zoom, from Bangkok, in Thailand (where it was 30 degrees at the time of the conversation, with an 11-hour difference!) where he has been living for a few years, the principal concerned strongly agrees with the comparison. La mélancolite, he says, was thought of as a film, because his universe, on paper, was difficult to cut into short slices. Proud as a peacock, he defies anyone to guess the end of this singular work.
“It's a gift we gave ourselves to the writing: we wanted to have something really unpredictable. If you discover the end before the time, run to the convenience store and buy yourself a lottery ticket!”
It was in post-production that we broke up in ten 10-minute episodes, this story “almost based on actual events”, without tail and even less head, in which Guy Jodoin, suffering from “melancholitis” – serious nostalgia for the past which prevents him from living well in the present – touches the bottom of the barrel and calls for help his friend Bruno, who comes running from Asia to rescue him.
In order to cure his old brother in comic arms, Blanchet goes on a roadtrip, from Gatineau to Gaspé, accompanied by Vincent (alias the rapper FouKi), Guy's nephew. Along the way, he will meet his old invented companions mentioned above, as well as real friends, like (the real one) Anne-Marie Losique, Guylaine Tremblay, Francis Reddy, Christian Bégin, Emmanuel Auger, Georges St-Pierre…
It's about an illegitimate girl named Cédille (played by Jade Barshee), Guy Jodoin having a baby, revenge against Bruno Blanchet and a “brown alert” that resounds loud and clear…
Bruno Blanchet in La mélancolite.
In short, it's “big nonsense”. To be interpreted positively or negatively, depending on whether or not you are a fan of Blanchet's world.
Marc Labrèche is also an adventurer.
“I could not have conceived anything without that Mark is there. To give you an idea, Marc is playing God. He is there, in my pantheon… And he gives us a magnificent performance!”
Du Studio to nostalgia
The plot of La melancoliteis therefore in a way only a pretext to have fun with a sweet nostalgia that has never ceased to follow Bruno Blanchet like its shadow. Because it's true: two and a half decades after having rained and shined in the premises of the late TQS, when Bruno Blanchet is now 58 years old and twice a grandfather, we ask him again and again to imitate Tite-Dent and his Little Man No Neck. Children who have never known The end of the world… are capable of caricaturing it. He is moved by it.
“It's fantastic! And knowing that it comes out of us, that it belongs to the world, and that we still demand it today, is the main reason why I made La mélancolite. These characters could have never existed again. We will now see if they survive the test of time. It's an extraordinary playground.”
“When we put the costumes back on, everything comes back to us instantly; it's like riding a bicycle, you can't get lost. The same madness seizes us. And we have the impression of doing bad things (laughs). »
The youngest may not know that it was at CIBL that Bruno Blanchet began to exercise his unbridled humor , wacky, wacky, upside down, and what more. At first simple voices born on the Buzz Show (notably with Philippe Laguë of See you next week, at ICI Première), his alter egos with guttural giggles and funny monosyllables have then took body and faces to the sketches of the Studioof Canal Famille, in 1995, with Guy Jodoin.
“At the Studio, they gave us carte blanche, without knowing what we were capable of, marvels he. Our director, Gilbert Dumas, made us work very, very hard. Today, Gilbert appears in La mélancolite, and he plays the role of someone who receives a good shovel in the back of the head…(laughs)”
From there, designer Stéphane Laporte and Marc Labrèche noticed Blanchet and invited him to join The end of the world is at 7 a.m., as a “duty clown” – he says so tenderly – in contrast to the reporters Isabelle Maréchal and Jean-René Dufort.
“For three years, 24 hours a day, I only thought in terms of making jokeswith something. In the evening, at ten to six, people could say to me in a panic: “Bruno, we have two minutes left, go put on a suit, invent something for us!” This is how Tite-Dent was born, for example. Necessity is the mother of invention. The end of the world is the mother of invention! We had eight suits, and I put them right side up, inside out, and inside out… We stretched everything to the maximum.”
Guy Jodoin in La mélancolite
Courtesy of Radio-Canada
Autopsy of a brain
But where do they come from, these joyous delusions, then continued in Don't adjust your dryer? If we tried to do an autopsy on Bruno Blanchet's brain, what would we find?
We imagine that the question has been asked 200 times. Our interlocutor nevertheless widens his eyes and remains speechless for a few nanoseconds before attempting a hesitant answer.
“That's an excellent question… My influences are very numerous and varied: from Yvon Deschamps to Monty Python, from Andy Kaufman to La Fricassee. I come from a time when people were a little pissed off. In the 70s, the series for young people that I watched… it was not always easy! (laughs) We wonder what state the author was in… Maybe my brain is a little twisted! However, in life, I am a very Cartesian person.”
“Often, when I was asked to imitate someone, I asked this person to imitate the other person by question. And I imitated someone who imitated someone, continues Blanchet, laughing. I used a lot of the The end of the world… team, which helped me design my madness. Often, on set, my cameraman, Michel Désilets, would tell me that what I was doing didn't make sense; and the next day, after seeing the montage on television, he thought it was hilarious.”
And what's next? Will we reconnect with Bruno Blanchet the fanciful, or Bruno Blanchet the great traveler, in a new short-term project? The creator doesn't “know too much”.
“Me, I go there by the piece. If I have enough money to live on, I'm fine. I don't need to buy anything in life…”
The La mélancolite series is available on ICI Tou.tv. Bruno Blanchet also has a podcast, L’Académie de voyage de Bruno Blanchet, available on OHdio.