My Comedy Hero: Marcel Lucont on Jean-Jacques LeFebvre
Lucont praises 'the controversial Lyonnais satirist, anarchist and professional drinker'
My comedy hero is undoubtedly a man whose presence you are unaware of. But Jean-Jacques LeFebvre, the controversial Lyonnais satirist, anarchist and professional drinker, remains as influential to me offstage as on. I shall never forget as a student watching in awe as he erupted onto the stage. That tailored leather suit, the windswept hair, that preened moustache that would attract women's attention instantly, if only to check their children were still by their side.
Only months before, he had escaped with a mere caution for igniting fireworks inside a theatre at the climax of his Bastille Day show. In his heyday, LeFebvre could clear a room like no other. Once, he had offended all but one couple who remained seated when all else had left, until he necked both their drinks and pissed in the ashtray. He then continued to the end, playing to an empty room, pausing only to top up the sound man's glass. He claimed in an interview with Charlie Hebdo magazine that it was his favourite ever gig. And, indeed, often it seemed Jean-Jacques could be having just as much fun without the audience present. What a revelation.
One British journalist criticised him, claiming he did not give a shit about performing, and that he merely courted controversy, only stopping short of defecating on the stage. The following week he was assured just how much of a shit LeFebvre gave, when he received one in the post, nailed to a piece of the stage.
A hole in entertainment remains since his passing, physically as well as metaphorically, as the piece of stage was never replaced at the Grenou Theatre, where any actor caused to trip and loudly curse is said to be ‘evoking LeFebvre’.
The Stand, Edinburgh, Sun 13 Oct; The Stand, Glasgow, Mon 14 Oct.