She began her career in cabarets performing songs written by Raymond Lévesque and subsequently sang with Jean Coutu. She made her television debut co-hosting a variety show then widened her audience with her first sitcom Moi et l'autre in which she co-starred with Denise Filiatrault. The show was an enormous success during its run from 1966 to 1972 and made Michel a household name in Quebec.
From 1977 to 1982, she had numerous leading roles in television programs such as Dominique, Chère Isabelle and Métro-boulot-dodo.
Michel's first film role was in Tiens-toi bien après les oreilles à papa with Yvon Deschamps in 1971. She played for cineast Denys Arcand in two movies well-known outside of Quebec: The Decline of the American Empire (Le Déclin de l'empire américain) and its sequel Les Invasions barbares.
She is also a comedian. She notably co-starred with Daniel Lemire and has hosted the Festival Juste pour rire multiple times. Michel also showed her multiple comedic talents in the year-end review show Bye Bye from Radio-Canada in which she would do multiple impressions on top of hosting the 90 minutes special.
In 1992, Michel received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in broadcasting. In 1994, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for her encouragement of humour and her contribution to the cultural life of the country."  In 2002, she was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. In 1995, she received, jointly with Denise Filiatrault, the Grand Prix Gémeau from l'Académie canadienne du cinéma et de la télévision for lifetime achievements.
In 2010, at 77, it was announced that she had colon cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy treatments, she declared in April 2011 that she was cancer-free.
- Tiens-toi bien après les oreilles à papa (1971)
- J'ai mon voyage! (1973)
- Les aventures d'une jeune veuve (1974)
- Je suis loin de toi mignonne (1976)
- The Crime of Ovide Plouffe (Le Crime d'Ovide Plouffe) (1984)
- The Decline of the American Empire (Le Déclin de l'empire américain) (1986)
- Night Zoo (Un zoo la nuit) (1987)
- Louis 19, King of the Airwaves (Louis 19, le roi des ondes) (1994)
- Laura Cadieux... la suite (1999)
- Les Invasions barbares (2003)
- Moi et l'autre (from 1966 to 1972)
- Dominique (from 1977 to 1979)
- Chère Isabelle (1976)
- Métro-boulot-dodo (1982)
- Montréal, ville ouverte (1992)
- Catherine (from 2000 to 2002)