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Pierre Desproges in 1985
9 May 1939|
|Died||18 April 1988
Pierre Desproges (May 9, 1939 – April 18, 1988) was a French humorist. He was born in Pantin, Seine-Saint-Denis. According to himself, he made no significant achievements before the age of 30. From 1967 to 1970, he worked as: life insurance salesman, opinion pool investigator, "lonely hearts" columnist, horse racing forecaster, and sales manager for a styrofoam beam company.
From 1970 to 1976, he worked for the newspaper L'Aurore. Starting in 1975, he became a "reporter" on Le petit rapporteur (The Little Snitch), a satirical TV show hosted by Jacques Martin . He caught the public's attention with unconventional interviews of celebrities, among them novelists Françoise Sagan or Jean-Edern Hallier.
He appeared for the first time on stage at the Olympia theater during a Thierry Le Luron show. Among other things, he became very famous for his Chroniques de la haine ordinaire (Chronicles of Ordinary Hatred), a 1986 radio show.
In the 1980s, he appeared daily on Le tribunal des flagrants délires (a pun on the French term "flagrant délit" meaning red-handed), a comedy show where celebrities were judged in mock-trials. Desproges held the part of the prosecutor for more than two years, a part for which his verve, his scathing humour and his literary erudition were ideally suited.
In 1982, he created La minute nécessaire de Monsieur Cyclopède, a series of shorts for TV, where he played an omniscient professor. He would answer to metaphysical and nonsensical questions such as "How to make King Louis XVI fireproof?", proved that Beethoven was not deaf but stupid, and explained why the improbable encounter between the Venus de Milo and Saint Exupéry's 'Petit Prince' was a fiasco. Each episode ended with the catchphrase: "Étonnant, non ?" ("Astonishing, isn't it?")
In 1984, he had his first stand-up show at the Théâtre Fontaine. In 1986, his second stand-up, Pierre Desproges se donne en spectacle was presented at the Théâtre Grévin. He started work on a third stand-up, and the drafts were ultimately published in 2010.
In 1987, doctors discovered he had inoperable lung cancer in an advanced stage, and his relatives, in agreement with the doctors, decided to hide the condition from him, so he could spend his final days quietly. He died in 1988, ironically from a disease he had bitterly laughed at time and time again, often saying "I won't have cancer: I'm against it". He is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. His epitaph reads: "Pierre Desproges est mort d'un cancer, étonnant, non ?" ("Pierre Desproges died of cancer, astonishing, isn't it?")
- "Le petit rapporteur" (1999) (The Little Snitch)
- "La seule certitude que j'ai, c'est d'être dans le doute" (1998) (The Only Certainty I Have, Is to Be in Doubt)
- "Les bons conseils du professeur Corbiniou" (1997) (The Good Advices of Professor Corbiniou)
- "La minute nécessaire de Monsieur Cyclopède" (1995) (The Necessary Minute of Mr Cyclopede)
- "Les étrangers sont nuls" (1992) (Foreigners Are Worthless)
- "Fond de tiroir" (1990) (Drawer Bottom)
- "L'almanach" (1989) (The Almanac)
- "Textes de scène" (1988) (Stand-up Texts)
- "Des femmes qui tombent" (1985) (Falling Women)
- "Dictionnaire superflu à l'usage de l'élite et des biens-nantis" (1985) (Superfluous Dictionary for the Elite and the Well-to-do)
- "Vivons heureux en attendant la mort" (1983) (Let Us Live Happily While We're Waiting for Death)
- "Manuel de savoir-vivre à l'usage des rustres et des malpolis" (1981) (Handbook of Good Manners for the Uncouth and the Impolite)
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