Yesterday was the meeting with Eric Judor, a French actor, comedian and director. He recalled being a great fan of absurd and burlesque humour, the only one that can make every generation of a family laugh. But what is this genre, well represented at the Festival with Dumb & Dumber or La Tour Montparnasse infernale?

Absurd genre was first born in the theater after the trauma of the Second World War, breaking the codes of classic comedy, the aim being, by exaggerating the characters to make them absurd and to create totally burlesque scenes, permitting to everyone, regardless of age, to understand the joke.

Genre subsequently developed mainly in the United States through the night show. So, the late 1980’s saw an emergence of absurd films with rising stars. The most famous was Jim Carrey with films that are cult like The Mask, Dumb and Dumber or Ace Ventura: Pet Detective where he played a character who is stupid to a fault, but still funny.

In France, the concept is being exported and a golden new wave of talented actors make refreshing French comedies. The most notable being Les Nuls with the cult movie The City of Fear, the duo Eric and Ramzy with the innovative must-see sit-com H, or Les Inconnus with the funny Three Brothers.

At its peak in the 1990s, it lost some of its splendor in the 2000s and no longer became mainstream but its impact remains considerable, having inspired many artists. Moreover, the sit-coms of the 2000s such as H or The Office are once again becoming popular thanks to the streaming platform, which means that there is still an audience for them.

The absurd is a genre that amuses all generations and even if it has surely seen its best hours gone, its downfall is far from happening any time soon.

Mathias DELAFONTAINE

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