This Sunday night at around 8 p.m., it’s a safe bet that hundreds of thousands of Quebecers, perhaps a million or more, will turn on their TVs or pop open a browser window to watch two former comedians share a bottle of wine with entertainers, athletes, politicians, citizen activists, and the occasional hypnotist. The resulting conversations will light up francophone Twitter and become fodder for Monday-morning water-cooler conversations across Quebec. Journalists for major morning papers and websites will analyze the show as if it were a leaders’ debate.
The talk show in question, Tout le monde en parle (Everyone’s Talking About It), has no real equivalent in English Canada. Influential columnist Patrick Lagacé has called it “Quebec’s TV confessional.” Public figures submit to a long line of questioning from former comedian Guy A. Lepage and his sidekick Dany Turcotte, the fou du roi (court jester). The Radio-Canada show’s mix of wide-ranging interviews, spontaneous debates, off-colour humour, quirky rituals (Turcotte gives each guest a personalized one-liner written on a card at the end of their appearance), and five-hour recording sessions with strategically placed alcohol makes it unique.
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