Michel Gérard Joseph Colucci (October 28, 1944 June 19, 1986), better known as "Coluche", was a French stage and television comedian, film actor and charity patron of French and Italian descent.
He adopted his stage name at age 26, when his stage career took off. He became famous for his irreverent attitude towards French politicians and establishment of The '70s and the early '80s, incorporating this into much of his material. He was one of the first major comedians to regularly use profanities for humorous effect on French television ("I'm coarse but not vulgar", as he said). While it started as a joke, he even considered running for the French presidency in 1981, then opted out under political pressure.
He also had success in comedies on the big screen, such as with The Wing or the Thigh alongside the legendary Louis de Funès. He ended up Playing Against Type in 1983 with Tchao Pantin, which earned him a number of awards. Upon seeing that many people living on French soil could not afford food, he created the charity association "Les Restaurants du Cur" in 1985 (literally "Restaurants of the Heart" but meaning "Restaurants of Love"), commonly and familiarly known as "Les Restos du Cur".
A fan of motorcycling, Coluche died in a road accident on June 19, 1986 in Opio, near Grasse, in the South-Eastern French department of Alpes-Maritimes, at the age of 41. For many French people, he remains a gone-too-soon icon of The '80s.
A biopic about him was released in 2008 in which he was portrayed by François-Xavier Demaison, titled Coluche: L'Histoire d'un mec.
Films on this wiki:
Tropes & trivia about him, his acts and his works:
- Catchphrase: Started many of his stand-up comedy acts with "C'est l'histoire d'un mec..." ("That's the story of a dude...").
- Disguised in Drag: Coluche famously got "married" to fellow comedian Thierry Le Luron for a joke in Montmartre on September 25, 1985. With a wedding dress, makeup and all.
- Double-Edged Answer: "I am neither for it neither against it, on the contrary!"
- Funny Character, Boring Actor: Rather "unhappy" than "boring", as Coluche's close ones said about him outside of his stage and screen acts. He was chronically depressed (particularly after his friend, actor Patrick Dewaere, committed suicide in 1982, with a gun that Coluche offered him no less) and sought escapism in alcohol, drugs, food, motorcycling and other things. Very much a Real Life example of Sad Clown.
- Insane Troll Logic: One of his jokes went like this: "30 per cent of road accidents are due to alcohol. Means 70 per cent of road accidents are due to drinking water."
- Playing Against Type: The French equivalent is often called "Faire son Tchao Pantin", as Coluche played against type in this film, as an alcoholic and depressed gas station attendant who sets out to avenge the death of his young misfit friend. He had only played comedic roles on the big screen up to this point.