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Michel Colucci (October 28, 1944 Paris – June 19, 1986 Opio, Alpes-Maritimes), better known as Coluche, was a French comedian and actor, famous for his irreverent sense of humour.

Colucci adopted "Coluche" as a stage name at 26, when he began his entertainment career. He became known for his irreverent attitude towards politics and the “Establishment,” and he incorporated this into much of his material. He was one of the first major comedians to regularly use profanities as a source of humor on French Television.

Contents

Youth and Comic Debut

Michel, Gérard, Joseph Colucci was born on the 28 October 1944, several weeks after the liberation of Paris, in a hospital in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. His mother Simone Bouyer worked as a florist in the Boulevard Montparnasse. His father Honorio Colucci, who originally came from Naples in Italy, was a painter and decorator. His father died in 1947 at the age of 37 from polio. This left his wife to bring up alone his two children on a meagre salary.

Coluche showed little promise at school and afterwards had various little jobs that he did not stay in for long. He joined the infantry but was imprisoned for insurbordination. After returning to civil life, he worked with his mother as a florist.

At the end of the sixties he tried his luck as a singer in cafes. But this was unsuccessful so he turned to humour.

Success

In 1969, with Romain Bouteille he was present at the start of the Café de la Gare. This was the meeting place formed by a group of young comedians of which practically all the initial members were to become famous : Patrick Dewaere, Henri Guybet, Miou-Miou, Martin Lamotte...Amongst the patrons of the Café de la Gare were to be found : Georges Moustaki, Raymond Devos, Jean Ferrat, Jacques Brel, Leni Escudero, Pierre Perret, Jean Yanne. Later they were joined by Gérard Lanvin, Renaud Séchan, Rufus, Diane Kurys, Coline Serreau, Anémone, Gérard Depardieu, Thierry Lhermitte, Josiane Balasko and Gérard Jugnot.

His first sketch C'est l'histoire d'un mec made into a joke, the difficulties of telling a funny story. He quickly became a popular success, but alcohol problems forced him to leave the group.

Afterwards he founded another group : Le vrai chic parisien and it was at this time that he met his future wife Véronique Kantor. They married in 1975 and had two sons. Again his behaviour and addictions forced him to leave this group and launch his solo career.

Solo career

It was at this point that he began to dress in the outfit for which he is best known : blue striped salopettes and a yellow T-shirt. He was sacked by two radio stations for vulgarity.

The 1980s

Presidential bid

He attempted to run in the French presidential elections in 1981, but ended up dropping out of the race because of political and media lobbying following polls that showed a significant part of the electorate might vote for him. Some threats to his life were also mentioned.

In 1984 he was awarded the "Best Actor" for his role in the film Tchao Pantin (1983) by Claude Berri.

Restaurants du Cœur

In September 1985, he created the "Restos du cœur" charity. This charity was launched by Coluche when he made a speech on the radio station Europe 1. This speech is very famous and begins with the words 'I have a little idea..'. The charity collects food, money and clothes for the needy and the homeless. Each year, a fund-raising concert series is presented by various singers and celebrities, collectively known as les Enfoirés ("the dumbasses").

In the same month Coluche got the world speed record for a 750cc motorbike, achieving Template:Convert/Km/h.[1]

Death

Less than a year later, in June 1986, Coluche died when his motorcycle crashed into a truck on a road in the commune of Opio in southeastern France. He was 41. This event provoked national grief and inspired the album Putain de camion ("fuckin' truck") by close friend Renaud Séchan. Some conspiracy theories have since surfaced, mainly in the book Coluche, l'accident : contre-enquête,[2] alleging that Coluche may have been murdered[3][4].

Awards

Coluche won the César Award for "Best Actor" for his role in Tchao pantin (So Long, Stooge, 1983), one of his very few dramatic roles. He also won the Prix National des Euphémismes de Charente-Maritime (National Prize for Understatements of Charente-Maritime) in 1978, at the third try.

Film

A film directed by Antoine de Caunes and relating the events surrounding Coluche's bid for the French presidency in 1981 was released in France in October 2008. François-Xavier Demaison plays Coluche.

Famous quotes

  • Left-wing politics like poor people so much they create them.
  • In a dictatorship you're told: "Shut up!". In a democracy it's: "Keep talking!"...
  • While we were havin' dinner, on the TV, they showed starving little Africans! On African TV, they don't show people eating!
  • When it comes to nuclear weapons, I'm neither for, nor against - on the contrary!"
  • There are two kinds of justice : the lawyer who knows everything about the law, and the lawyer who knows everything about the judge.
  • [In France,] we have politicians that make the rest of the world jealous. They could come and take'em!
  • A neutral country is one which does not sell weapons to a country at war... unless it pays cash.
  • Yuri Gagarin was extremely unlucky: after orbiting earth 17 times, he fell back down in the USSR!
  • God said: let's share. The rich will get enough to eat, and the poor will have an appetite.
  • People say, "we live in a world full of morons!" They are right. But they still underestimate their number.
  • Just because there are so many of them being wrong doesn't mean they're right.
  • I know I look stupid, but most of the credit goes to the uniform (posing as a cop).
  • Some people get a kid just because they can't afford a dog.
  • Society didn't want us? Well, it can rest assured that we don't want it either!
  • Long term credit means that the less you can pay, the more you pay.
  • Death: if you're hit, you'd better make fun of it; if you're not, there's no reason not to make fun of it.
  • Communism is one of the few grave diseases we didn't try on animals first.
  • A sandwich, in the USSR, consists of one ticket for ham between two tickets for bread.
  • I used to pee my bed and was very ashamed of it. After seeing a psychiatrist I am still peeing my bed... But now I am proud of it.
  • I'm not a nouveau riche, I'm a former poor.
  • From every one of those who have nothing to say, the nicest are those who keep it for themselves.
  • They say the crisis is making the rich richer and the poor poorer. I can't see how that's a crisis.
  • Politicians are to politics what holes are to cheese. More cheese means more holes. But more holes means less cheese.
  • If we are to believe what is said, then the rich are the bad guys and the poor are the good guys. Then how come everyone wants to be a bad guy?
  • They say 3 million people are looking for a job. False: all they really need is money.
  • (as a cop :) If we're not allowed to punch them in the face, kick them in the balls, or in the butt, how are we supposed to interrogate them ? Sometimes they don't even speak our language !
  • The speed of light is faster than the speed of sound, which is why sometimes people look bright until they start talking.
  • I'm not a racist; my dog is black.
  • There are fewer foreigners in France than there are racists.
  • Instead of blind we say "sight-impaired", instead of deaf we say "hearing-impaired", so should fools be called "understanding-impaired"? (possibly inaccurately paraphrased)
  • I'm following two diets simultaneously because with only one I wasn't getting enough to eat.
  • Sportsmen are stupid, right. But that's the team spirit! Guys in a team, they have but one spirit. So they have to share it...
  • You can get AIDS on a toilet seat, but there are more comfortable places.
  • Always remember that while the Gestapo had means to make you talk, our politicians have means to keep us quiet.
  • Earning a living isn't worth the sweat: you're already living. Job opportunities are scarce, so rather let who likes it have some.
  • Besides gangster or politician, what can you do without qualifications ? All there's left is artist.
  • One half of the politicians can't do anything, the other half would do anything.
  • Our immigrants would live better back in their country. To prove this: we love going there for vacation!
  • I went to Dakar [Senegal] for vacation... However, when checking my map of Paris: not a street matched each other!
  • If one day you feel useless and depressed, remember: one day you were the fastest spermatozoon of all.
  • Capitalism is man exploiting man. Socialism is just the opposite.
  • Do you know what I think of morons who listen to music while standing in uniform ? The answer is in the question.
  • I don't mean that all cops are intelligent - that would be too gross a generalization.
  • (in a campaign speech:) I'll quit politics when politicians quit comedy - they steal my job, I steal theirs.
  • Can you make fun of everything? Well, my opinion is: if it was funny, you were right to do it.
  • If there were a tax on stupidity, the government would be self-financing.
  • What I hate the most about foreign countries, they just don't speak french. And depending on the countries, they don't even speak the same foreigner!
  • Playing the fool can be useful, but really it's easier just to be one.
  • I don't have any message... any wickedness... However, I am still being hated by half of you all...
  • I am capable of the very best and the very worst, but I'm the best at being the worst!

External links

Footnotes








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