Les Inconnus ("The Unknowns") are a French trio of humorists: Didier Bourdon, Bernard Campan and Pascal Légitimus. While their first successes were on stage, they are most famous for their satirical sketch comedy television show La Télé des Inconnus, which premiered in 1990 and remained popular throughout the early 1990s. Following their television success, the group began to make music and movies, most of them written and directed by Bourdon and Campan. After the movie Les Trois Frères in 1995, the trio encountered contract problems with their manager Paul Lederman, which caused the group to split up, though there have been several films that have featured at least two former members together.
The comedy troupe that would become Les Inconnus was formed in 1984. At its founding, the group had five members (Didier Bourdon, Bernard Campan, Pascal Légitimus, Seymour Brussel, and Smaïn) and was known as "Les Cinq" (The Five). Les Cinq starred in the 1985 movie Le Téléphone Sonne Toujours Deux Fois ("The Telephone Always Rings Twice"), but shortly afterward Smaïn left the group to pursue solo work. Down to four members, the group changed its name to "Les Quatre Quarts" (a pun in French: literally meaning "The Four Quarters," it is also the word for pound cake). In 1986 they met a new manager, Paul Lederman, who began to lead the troupe to larger and larger venues. At about this time the group's name was changed to "Les Inconnus" (The Unknowns). After hosting a radio show on Europe 1 from 1987 to 1988, Les Inconnus lost another member, Seymour Brussel, who left to join another comedy group, Les Nuls. They eventually reached national fame with their 1989 stage comic show "Au secours, tout va mieux!" (literally "Help, things are getting better!").
In 1990, the three remaining members of the group premiered their sketch comedy television show, "La Télé des Inconnus." The show, which ran for two years on Antenne 2 (now France 2), was highly successful, and propelled the group to stardom throughout France. Their sketches parodied a number of French cultural icons, including musicians Richard Clayderman, Mano Negra, Indochine, Didier Barbelivien, Florent Pagny, and Patrick Bruel; and television shows Bioman, Club Dorothée, and Santa Barbara. They also satirized French politicians, police, trade unions, and society at large. The program won two Septs d'Or (the top French television award), and a video clip from the show, "Auteuil, Neuilly, Passy," won two Victoires de la Musique.
In 1995, Les Inconnus made their first film in ten years, Les Trois Frères ("The Three Brothers"). The film was highly successful, winning the César Award for best début, but due to contract disputes with their manager Paul Lederman, the group was forced to disband after the film's release. Bourdon and Campan starred in two other movies together, Le Pari ("The Bet"), L'Extraterrestre ("The Extraterrestrial"), before Légitimus rejoined them for their final film together, Les Rois Mages (The Magi), in 2001. Only Bourdon and Légitimus starred in Madame Irma in 2006.
- 1985: Le Téléphone Sonne Toujours Deux Fois (included Seymour Brussel and Smaïn)
- 1995: Les Trois Frères
- 1997: Le Pari (excluded Pascal Légitimus)
- 2000: L'Extraterrestre (excluded Pascal Légitimus)
- 2001: Les Rois mages
- 2006: Madame Irma (excluded Bernard Campan)
- "Auteuil, Neuilly, Passy (rap BCBG)"
- "C'est ton destin"
- "Rap tout (vampire)"
- "Un chagrin d'amour"
- "Et vice et versa"
- "C'est toi que je t'aime"
- (French) Official website