Hi Marcel! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for Exetera Magazine. I am very excited about your show at Exeter’s Bike Shed Theatre on April 2nd, which kick-starts your UK tour “Whine List”.
CM: Do you think that performing as a Frenchman in England allows you to be more outrageous and broach more controversial subject matter, than if you were an English comedian? Are you less inhibited by social boundaries and less concerned with “crossing the line”? If you upset members of your audience, you could just blame cultural differences…
ML: I could also simply blame the audience. If they are upset, that is usually their fault. I aim for truthfulness over controversy, sometimes the English simply don’t like a mirror held up to their ruddied faces. I will never understand why anyone wastes precious minutes of their short life being offended. The English remain quite an easy yet enjoyable group to agitate, which perhaps must be expected from a nation whose most popular cheese is mild cheddar. If this is as far as your sensibilities stretch, I am content to be classed “controversial.”
CM: Your stand up material mocks both English and French stereotypes. What do you think is the biggest cultural difference between the English and our friends on the other side of the channel?
ML: I believe our raison d’être is entirely different. We live for the finer things in life, most English seem content to work, work, work, then die, fitting in meals and pastimes if they can. The English get irate, in that truly English way, when discovering a French shop is closed until lunch is over. “How long will lunch be?” they ask, the answer of course depending on how much this shopkeeper is enjoying their lunch. Life is all about priorities.
CM: What do you think makes the English so easy to laugh at? What is your favorite aspect of English culture/Englishness to ridicule?
ML: Pre-Brexit was easy enough but now there are almost too many options. To give a “yes/no” vote on your entire nation’s future to a mob who probably cannot even spell the word “jingoistic” was a spectacular manoeuvre. Many English often claim the French to be arrogant, without any irony, sticking up two fingers to a continent, happy to go solo, without bothering to learn another language in their life, while a great many of people on that continent can speak English better than them.
CM: Do you ever fear that you are going to adopt English traits and habits? Could you be subject to Anglicization?
ML: Truly I hope not. If I find myself apologizing to a person who has just walked into me, I may go one step further and simply ask them to kill me.
CM: You have your own signature style. The smart suits, the polo necks. But why do you always go bare foot?
ML: “Always?” You have been stalking me? My feet go nude wherever appropriate.
CM: Have you ever performed in France? If you have, did the audience reaction differ from your reception in England/ If you have not, do you think the audience reaction would be different?
ML: I am lucky enough to return to civilization whenever my schedule allows. France is where I am able to expound and expand my thoughts to a patient, intelligent audience who are able to enjoy a show without a luminous blue glow from their hands highlighting their loose-hanging jaws.
CM: In your shows you often read from your memoirs and recount poetry you have written. Who are your main literary influences?
ML: Baudelaire was certainly an early influence, his books being the ones that interested me most from my father’s shelves (Rabelais was on a higher shelf, but I reached him eventually). I dreamed of living in a time when poetry could be banned. The way society is turning now, perhaps there is still time to live this dream.
CM: The comedy scene in England is pretty hot right now. What distinguishes you from your contemporaries?
ML: The comedy scene of England is a curious one, it is still incredible to see how many of its acts refuse to write even one poem or song. Some do not even wear a suit.
CM: What should people coming to see a show on your tour “Whine List” expect?
ML: The show is different every night, so even I do not know what to expect. It is always fascinating to hear an audience’s misdemeanors and regrets, although I must warn, I will be offering no solutions for any of these. The show is like a group therapy session, but one where everyone may leave more depressed.
Marcel Lucont’s Whine List comes to the Bike Shed Theatre on 2nd April. Get your tickets here: https://www.bikeshedtheatre.co.uk/shows/marcel-luconts-whine-list/