When you think of France, sense of humour is not first quality that springs to mind. But it may be becoming one of the country’s growth industries.
Stand Up comedy, a deeply British tradition, has come to France with the Jamel Comedy Club which this weekend welcomed Segolene Royal among its audience. And inspiration is criss-crossing the Channel with British comedian Rory Bremer stealing headline-grabbing tactics from France. The Observer revealed he’d posed as a Gordon Brown impersonator, tricking a government minister into saying exactly what she thought of her colleagues.
Just a few weeks ago Segolene Royal fell for a similar prank when comedian Gerald Dahan coaxed her to make a joke at the expense of the touchy Corsicans by pretending to be the prime minister of Quebec, Jean Charest.
Interestingly, the French media had no qualms about publishing the recording and Segolene was mocked for having fallen for the prankster. Calls of dirty tricks by her camp fell on deaf ears and in dinner parties around the French capital, Segolene was accused of having made another gaffe. In Britain, Channel Four decided not to screen the Bremner recordings because of regulations banning the use of deception unless it is in the public interest. And Margaret Beckett, the duped minister, condemned the stunt as an ‘unprincipled and unpleasant breach of privacy.’