Michel Barrette was inspired by the success of podcasts for

Michel Barrette was inspired by the success of podcasts for his new tour

Michel Barrette was supposed to retire last year. But since he loves telling stories, the almost 67-year-old comedian wanted to create a new show. The success of podcasts like Mike Ward's Hearinspired the concept of his tour One word, one story.

For more than 40 years, Michel Barrette has been making the provinces laugh with his anecdotes. When Verbomotor announced that his “The Humor of My Life” tour would be his last, many people had doubts. And indeed, the speaker par excellence quickly realized that retirement was not for him.

But how can you continue to go on stage without having to go through the phase of writing, walking in, doubting and criticizing? While participating in Mike Ward's popular podcast “Sous tête,” Michel Barrette had an epiphany. “I went there with no obligation to make people laugh,” he said. I was just about to chat with Mike. I realized that podcasts are successful because guests come to engage.”

With Un mot, une histoire, Michel Barrette decided to make a show in which he meets a guest personality. Alone on stage with this person – whom he knows very well or not at all – Barrette knows that these encounters will be unique moments that can make people laugh or cry “or just be interesting.”

Meeting of generations

Booking these 24 evenings was “much easier than I imagined,” says Barrette. The office suggested some names to me, and I also suggested some in bulk.”

Among them is a guest like Mathieu Dufour, whom Michel Barrette absolutely does not know! “I’ve never seen a performance by him. The young guy looks like he's really funny. People like him very much. I saw a photo of him. I think he has long hair. Imagine the meeting between a young comedian and an old comedian. Two people doing the same job. That's a great element. And it will certainly bring young people into the room who wouldn't necessarily come to see Barrette.

Michel Barrette's son Jonathan, who celebrates his 18th birthday this year, will accompany him on the tour “on the evenings when he does not have CEGEP the next day”. He takes care of greeting guests before the show and makes sure everything is in order in the dressing room. “He will be responsible for their well-being,” the comedian says proudly.

Play roles

After this year-long tour, Michel Barrette assures that he will put his microphone away for good. But he adds that he wants to stop touring so he can be available for roles on the small or big screen. “In the last 12 months I have turned down two series and a major film. […] Fully retiring to stay at home and take care of the stove, I don’t think that will happen in my lifetime.”

When asked about his greatest pride in his 40-year career, Michel Barrette replies “the duration, the duration, the duration.” “I’m proud that despite being 67, I’m still relevant and that people still come see me 41 years later.”

Michel Barrette will begin his tour One word, one story on February 2nd in Granby, with Jean-Philippe Dion. It will then be held on February 3rd (Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, with Sonia Vachon), February 9th (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, with Mathieu Dufour), February 18th (Saint-Eustache, with José Gaudet) and February 24th (Montmagny, with Christian Bégin). For all appointments: michelbarrette.ca.