Philippe Laprise uses a simple but effective way to make his audience laugh during his fourth solo show in his career: he tells us a long funny story like one tells an anecdote to a friend. It’s all in the tone.

The curtain of the Monument-National rises, Monday evening, and Philippe Laprise looks down. He first speaks of a pandemic, one would expect heaviness. But he turns the tide very quickly. We quickly fall into a good mood and we recognize the good humor of the comedian.

He will not talk about the pandemic directly on this premiere evening, but about what happened during this time of forced break. It is about the situation of the last two years and its vagaries, but we laugh heartily, because the comedian skillfully brings the theme.

Laprise talks about cancer and, again, we laugh despite the content. The entire first segment of the evening is dedicated to one and the same story, that moment when he feared he had breast cancer. It starts well the evening, the public is hilarious. This premise leads to all sorts of gags about this period of his life. He dreaded his impending death, so whenever the opportunity arose, rather than thinking too much about it, he instead said to himself, “Why not?” This is the vein of the show, which he will not let go.

Philippe Laprise tells as if he were speaking to a loved one. The public is absorbed as when listening to the amusing anecdote described to us by a friend who promises to have a good punch. He depicts the scenes, repeats the conversations, we imagine them. That’s nice. We can even hear in the spectators’ room punctually commenting on the story he relates: “Ah well, I can’t believe it! ÔÇťAbove all, the facial expressions of the comedian often react. Sometimes he doesn’t even need to speak to trigger laughter, a grimace is enough.

The more personal and posed comments placed here and there in the narration bring back a bit of seriousness before the jokes resume. These moments when you catch your breath are appreciable.

The stage of the Monument-National is judiciously decorated. A stool. Horizontal neon lights that light up as the comedian moves around. Some projections on the back wall. One or two accessories. We are not trying to deflect the comedian’s attention with a complicated setting or an overly busy staging.

It’s as if Philippe Laprise wanted to tell us something, but he kept wandering. Everything is linked by a clear red thread, but we go in all directions at the same time to finally come back to our fear of dying. It’s well put together.

Some segments stretch a little, but the rhythm makes it possible not to get tired. The room does not laugh all the time, but it laughs very often.

The humorous register changes from one number to another. When he talks about his new dog, we are in ridicule. When he talks about his father, it’s emotional, but funny.

And when he comes full circle with the potential cancer story, you feel all the hard work put into this show. The experience of the comedian allows him to present a one-man show with simplicity, both in subject and in form, but no less effective. A good hour and a half of laughter.

https://www.lapresse.ca/arts/humour/2022-05-10/critique/philippe-laprise-simplement-drole.php

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