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Le Pétomane was a professional flatulist around the start of the 20th century in France.

A flatulist, fartist, or professional farter is an entertainer often associated with a specific type of humor, whose routine consists solely or primarily of passing gas in a creative, musical, or amusing manner.[1]


There are a number of scattered references to ancient and medieval flatulists, who could produce various rhythms and pitches with their intestinal wind. Saint Augustine in City of God (De Civitate Dei) (14.24) mentions some performers who did have "such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at will, so as to produce the effect of singing." Juan Luis Vives, in his 1522 commentary to Augustine's work, testifies to having himself witnessed such a feat,[citation needed] a remark referenced by Michel de Montaigne in an essay.[which?]

The professional farters of medieval Ireland were called braigetoír. They are listed together with other performers and musicians in the 12th century Tech Midchúarda, a diagram of the banqueting hall of Tara. As entertainers, these braigetoir ranked at the lower end of a scale headed by bards, fili, and harpers.[2][3]

One late medieval flatulist is mentioned in an entry in the 13th-century English Liber Feodorum or Book of Fees. It lists one Roland the Farter, who held Hemingstone manor in the county of Suffolk, for which he was obliged to perform "Unum saltum et siffletum et unum bumbulum" (one jump, one whistle, and one fart) annually at the court of King Henry II every Christmas. The Activa Vita character in the 14th century allegorical poem Piers Plowman appears to number farting among the abilities desirable in a good entertainer in general, alongside storytelling, fiddling, or playing the harp.[4] This poem translates to "As for me, I can neither drum nor trumpet, nor tell jokes, nor fart amusingly at parties, nor play the harp."

In Japan, during the Edo period, flatulists were known as "heppiri otoko" (放屁男), lit. "farting men."[5]

Notable flatulists[edit]

  • Mr. Methane, contemporary flatulist
  • Le Pétomane, performed in France from 1887 until 1914
  • Roland the Farter, flatulist in the court of King Henry II of England.
  • Will the Farter, of Howard Stern Show fame, 2007-8.[6]



  1. ^ Le Pétomane:The Strange Life of a "Fartiste"
  2. ^ Collinson, Francis M. (1975). The bagpipe: the history of a musical instrument. Routledge. p. 73. ISBN 0-7100-7913-3.
  3. ^ Fletcher, Alan John (2001). Drama and the performing arts in pre-Cromwellian Ireland: a repertory of sources and documents from the earliest times until c. 1642. Boydell & Brewer. p. 468. ISBN 0-85991-573-5.
  4. ^ Peter Meredith, "The professional travelling players of the fifteenth century: myth or reality?" Archived 2012-07-14 at Archive.today European Medieval Drama 2 (1998) 21-34. DOI 10.1484/J.EMD.2.300900
  5. ^ "放屁男". Nihon Kokugo Daijiten (日本国語大辞典). Shogakukan.
  6. ^ IMDb. "Will The Farter - IMDb Info Page". IMDb. Retrieved 12 August 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Valerie J. Allen; Broken Air Exemplaria (2004). ([1] PDF version)
  • Jim Dawson; Who Cut the Cheese?: A Cultural History of the Fart (Ten Speed Press, 1999)
  • Steve Bryant; The Art Of The Fart
  • G. Ramsey; A Breath of Fresh Air: Rectal Music in Gaelic Ireland in Archaeology Ireland Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 22–23 (2002)

External links[edit]