I was talking about the American comedy program The Daily Show the other day with some friends, and it got me thinking about whether it had a French equivalent. I couldn’t think of an exact counterpart, but “les Guignols de l’info” immediately came to my mind, as it is also about the news and having a humoristic take on current events. Beyond politics and opposing ideas, I thought it might be interesting to have a look at a popular form of comedy in France.
“Les Guignols” is a daily show meant to look like the daily news on TV, but people are replaced by puppets which caricature them. The host, PPD – who is a parody of PPDA, the former (human) host on French channel TF1 – always begins the show by saying “good evening, you watch too much TV” (vous regardez trop la télévision, bonsoir). Then, he presents the news as if it were the normal daily news on TV. All guests and people in special reports are also puppets which caricature real people. PPD ends the show with “Allez, atchao bonsoir!”.
The show has become so popular that it started with around twenty puppets but now has a collection of more than 300 different puppets. And many phrases from the show have become famous among the French population – sometimes even more famous than the human characters themselves.
But enough talking, let’s have a look at one of the episodes (about football):
The show is broadcast on the public part of the channel Canal+ and attracts 15% of viewers, which is an outstanding result for a show about the news and politics. And the share of audience is constantly increasing…