“Like hitting a wall at 50 km / h”

Producer behind some of the most important comedians in Quebec (Louis-José Houde, François Bellefeuille, Patrick Groulx), Benjamin Phaneuf is less optimistic than in recent months about the return of shows next year. “I don’t see how we’re going to be able to do regular shows before winter 2022,” he says.

Where is your optimism for the return of shows next year?

“All I can see is that technically we’re going to start doing reduced shows again in the spring. I don’t see how we’re going to be able to do regular shows before winter 2022. Even if there’s a vaccine and all, until it’s done and we tell ourselves we’re going … J was very optimistic in the spring and fall. And I am zero in two. There, I prefer to bet the opposite! Haha! “

How much has the pandemic affected your business?

” At what point ? I would tell you that it stopped as dry as when you hit a wall at 50 km / h in a tank! Since we’re very positive, we thought it was going to last a month at first. Then we thought it would last maybe three months in total. We then clung to the hope that we could do shows again with very few people. Between June 22 and September 30, we made the maximum number of dates we could do.

“Myself, I caught COVID in September. I was one of the lucky ones to have no symptoms. It’s special, I was really careful. My daughter had a sore throat and was coughing. The school asked us to come pick her up. We put him in isolation. I went with her to take a test. As long as I was there, I had one too. When they called me two days later to tell me it was positive, I thought it was a joke! “

Have a lot of people asked to be reimbursed for tickets for postponed shows?

“Around 10% at the start. With the second wave there were a few more refunds, but not much more. That’s why we’ll be able to do some dates this winter. It will allow artists to work and people to go to shows.

“There are shows that already existed that will be split into two, three or four performances [pour permettre la distanciation]. There are shows that will be reimbursed or cut, but it really won’t be the majority. Most of our dates are postponed for another year. “

Do you believe in the future of virtual entertainment?

“I believe in certain things for the virtual. What I love about virtual right now are the conversations with the artists on Zoom. It didn’t exist before. It’s something that was done for that vehicle. But how long will it work? I have no idea. […] It’s like having a choice between an old bicycle and a sports tank. Many people will drop their bicycles and return to the sports float once possible. “

Will the pandemic slow down the career development of some artists?

“Everyone is at the same point. There are some who will continue to do other things. Everyone is doing their own thing. I thought first of the artists who were about to launch a new show [quand la pandémie a frappé]. There is nothing worse. An artist like Sam Breton had just made his premiere. It’s frustrating for sure. But a guy like Sam, he’s been building his business for five years. The reality is that it is not all lost, on the contrary. It’s just a long break. ”


  • Last name : Benjamin Phaneuf
  • Age : 43 years
  • Profession: He joined Groupe Phaneuf 25 years ago, and has been its president for the past 13 years. Groupe Phaneuf was founded by Benjamin’s father, Luc Phaneuf, over 50 years ago. The agency first specialized in music (Nana Mouskouri, Plume Latraverse, André Gagnon, Offenbach, etc.) before turning mainly to humor.
  • Impact: Groupe Phaneuf currently has nine comedians in production (François Bellefeuille, Louis-José Houde, Simon Leblanc, Sam Breton, Guillaume Pineault, Patrick Groulx, Louis T, Maude Landry, Simon Gouache). All were on tour when the pandemic hit. The company only has one musician left in its ranks: Plume Latraverse.

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