Elegant man of mystery
Elegant man of mystery

Brace yourself, Perth. Marcel Lucont, the enigmatic French comic and self-styled bon vivant, raconteur and "flaneur" (observer) returns to Fringe World after shocking us with his stand-up show, Encore, last year.

"Yes, last year the show was expectedly successful," the proudly arrogant Frenchman admits, perhaps jumbling his English.

"And I was welcomed into the city with open legs, so I am returning due to extremely popular demand."

With a thick, snooty French accent that sounds somewhere between Inspector Clouseau and Pepe Le Pew, the suave, sharp, boastful Lucont returns to Fringe World with an even bigger ego than usual. His new show, Gallic Symbol, beat more than 100 hopefuls to win best comedy show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe "and rightly so" according to the man himself.

"It is an extremely clever title," Lucont beams from London, where he's lived for five years. "You can work it out for yourself (it means French in English). It is every Fringe World show packed into one, so it is really doing you a favour. You only need to see the one show."

"It is about everything important," he hints. "Life, love, sex, death, cheese, wine, poetry, songs and sex in hotels. So many things. The mystery must be maintained - even in the age of media."

Indeed, while Lucont prefers to keep details of his new show secret, his style remains the same. He usually saunters to the mic in a coloured suit with a glass of red wine in hand, as if the very embodiment of an arty French snob. His delivery, however, is quiet, restrained and elegant, even if he speaks with a razor-sharp tongue, and he's never fazed by the hecklers that seem to torment him wherever he goes.

"No, no, no - I can take idiots," he insists. "Some throw s… at me, so I throw twice the amount back, like an angry gibbon. Some aren't willing to open their minds and they leave the show to die alone. But I accept idiots are in the world and they don't fluster me because I know I am correct and I have their money.

"But overall I think I've opened many minds, and other parts of the body."

Yet Lucont, who names his major influences as French comedian Serge Gainsbourg and Oscar Wilde, does get flustered when I mention the Perth heat he'll be flying into.

"Oui, I think I will be performing the entire act in the nude," he says. "But how much culture can you expect from a country living in an oven? There is only so much. I look at the temperature and wonder 'How can they maintain style while staying cool?' But I see you choose one over the other. I see some terrifying fashion in Australia."

While Lucont will again join the late- night Cabaret Fantastique with other comedians at Fringe World, he simply hopes to take our minds off the heat, and our pitiful lives, for a few moments.

"Life for me is wonderful. But life for most is s…. This is no lie. Everyone needs me. So if I can do this for one hour, just to take away from the fact we are all just specks of dust on an insignificant ball spinning in space like something coughed out by some cosmic cat, well, my job is done."


The West Australian

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