“Why can’t you just joke around like everyone else?” Jérémie Larouche has lost count of the number of times this question has been thrown at him by colleagues who watched him arrive backstage at a theater with his many “cossins”. As a good disciple of Harry Potter, the comedian did not let himself be defeated by these sad Slytherins. It condenses the seven volumes of JK Rowling’s cult series into a delirious paper theater, Harry Paper and the Cardboard Parody.
Posted at 12:00 p.m.
On each side of Jérémie Larouche, on the small stage of the Lion d’Or: two bookcases containing around twenty books, which he unfolds on a large table in front of him and from which emerge, like an album pop up for children, the Hogwarts sets in which he will make his fragile paper characters interact.
Welcome in Harry Paper and the Cardboard Parody, a 130-minute condensed version of the seven novels (or eight films) of JK Rowling’s saga. A summary allowing itself “liberties compared to the original”, warns the comedian from the outset, a warning that we can quickly qualify as gigantic understatement.
With its numerous nods to current affairs, its eclectic soundtrack (Marjo, George Michael, AC/DC) and its considerably transformed characters (Hagrid becomes a biker swearing only by CHOM-FM), this re-reading looks as much like a tribute than a pastiche, as much a conscientious account as a riot of improbable digressions.
A veritable octopus, Jérémie Larouche himself controls, thanks to a tiny console, the lighting, the music, the video, in addition to manipulating his makeshift dolls, in this kind of episode of The gospel on paper to which one would have injected the fervor geek typical of a Comiccon.
The big child, who still obviously takes great pleasure in playing with his figures, makes his own puppets, but does not spare them for all that. “Lucky that I digitized all my drawings, he explains in an interview, because you see, just Tuesday evening, I scrapped four. »
Finding its relevance
It was then that he participated in the show On the way to my first gala Just for Laughs in 2014 that Jérémie Larouche cut his first cardboard characters, because he was forbidden to use on TV, for legal reasons, his daughters’ Barbies that he had used until then to illustrate his numbers.
He created in 2016 The star saga, a recap of the first six Star Wars episodes, also told using pipe cleaners and barbecue skewers. The goal, as with this very free interpretation of the story of the boy with a funny scar on his forehead, “was to be able to put the whole of this show in [sa] Hyundai Elantras”.
A graduate of the 2010 cohort of the National School of Humor, where he teaches today, Jérémie Larouche will have found by accident in this singular form which dates from the 19e century – the paper theater – the perfect vessel into which to pour the overflow of one’s mind, which only knows the boiling point.
When I was at school, we were hammered that we had to aim for 7 to 77 years old, cast a wide net. Charles Beauchesne and I were told: ‟You are going to make three people laugh with your weird ideas. So try to be more like Martin Matte.” But cis men who make humor, there is a shit. What is my relevance to me? This question has always bothered me.
“Make Hogwarts great again”
If it is obviously the work of an eternal kid who has never given up on the pure pleasure of playing, Harry Paper and the Cardboard Parody also allows Jérémie Larouche to obliquely comment on our present, whether he depicts Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, as a potential Trumpist (“Make Hogwarts great again”), or whether he evokes in a judiciously insolent way the many controversial statements of JK Rowling on trans people.
So you don’t have to have graduated from Gryffindor to be carried away by the extravagant magic ofHarry Paper and the Cardboard Parody ; the author of these lines, a vulgar Muggle, can confirm it.
Tuesday evening at the Lion d’Or, the atmosphere was more like that of a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show than a traditional humorous performance, with its disguised spectators, who commented aloud on the twists of an epic that they know by heart, and who often completed, before Larouche had time to do so, mythical replicas.
“When other comedians ask me, ‘Why can’t you just joke around like everyone else?’ I always answer: ‟Because it would be too easy”, laughs Larouche. It’s Dumbledore who said it: it takes a lot of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.
Harry Paper and the Cardboard Parody, on tour throughout Quebec