Jérémy Ferrari: “Comedians are like the press, they must be friends of the people! “

Actor Jérémy Ferrari has resumed his tour with “General Anesthesia”, his show, modified to incorporate the health crisis, on our health system and the attacks it is undergoing. If he spares no one, he reserves most of his punches for the powerful.

Is Jérémy Ferrari that mean? After criticizing religions (“Hallelujah brothel!”), Dissecting the causes of terrorism (“Vends deux-pièces à Beyrouth”), he tackles the failings of the French health system. But after only 30 dates, the first version of his show, “General anesthesia”, the Covid pandemic requires the theaters to be closed. A plot to silence this comedian who claims to be provocative, but who, anxious to rhyme laughter and intelligence, conducted a serious investigation (whose sources, as for each of his shows, are online on his website) to support his remarks on the breakdown of the public health service or the profits of laboratories.

He thus draws an edifying parallel between the rise of the small pharmacist Servier, from the parental dispensary of Indre to the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor awarded by Nicolas Sarkozy, and the dismantling of Social Security. A rant on rewarded vice and outraged virtue. The point is sometimes serious, when he speaks of depression, of mental disorders, of his own experience. But, even when he lets his madness express itself, in the guise of a hospital director in the midst of burnout, he paints an unflattering portrait of our common hospital good. Behind the public entertainer hides a thoughtful political observer.

JÉRÉMY FERRARI A year and a half always go by between two shows. Between “Hallelujah brothel” and “Sell two-room apartment in Beirut”, I researched, took history lessons … I wanted to know what I was talking about. When I did “Sell two-bedroom apartment …” I was already hesitating between terrorism and health. I had this theme in mind, I could already see that things were falling apart, between underpaid nurses, the lack of beds, of staff … But I had the impression that things were moving faster on terrorism than there were geopolitical tensions which made the treatment more urgent.

How did you approach health?

JÉRÉMY FERRARI In the same way as my other shows: I took my diary, called the doctors I know, I went to see researchers. They all said yes, they understood it was to defend their point of view. I wanted to see for myself, because the information doesn’t always tell the truth. I spent a few nights in the emergency room, “normal” and psychiatric, I met a lot of nurses to understand their claims. Provincial doctors, staff from public hospitals, private clinics.

All this must have stirred memories of your own experience. JÉRÉMY FERRARI Indeed, halfway through “Sell two-room apartment in Beirut”, I went through drug treatment. I knew it could help people to share: this cure allowed me to stop drinking, to make life acceptable enough that I didn’t want to shoot me. It changed my life so much that it was no longer possible to appear in front of people without telling them that it is also part of me.

First-hand testimony is more effective than sanitized speech?

JÉRÉMY FERRARI By discussing with specialists, I learned of the existence of the “Papageno effect” (named after a character in “The Magic Flute” by Mozart, who develops a plan to commit suicide – Editor’s note): when celebrities who have attempted suicide, been involved in alcohol, etc., tell how they got out, it has palpable consequences. I figured that while it only helped one person per show, it was worth it.

You said it earlier, you work on your shows like surveys. Have you been threatened?

JÉRÉMY FERRARI Fortunately never implemented. In my first show, “Hallelujah damn it! “, I was talking about the Bible, the Koran and the Torah: guys were waiting for me in front of the theater, wanted to beat me up … but it was really small compared to the 200,000 spectators who saw it. There is still a majority of people.

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