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At almost 89 years old Popeck, the prince without laughing, does not want to let go of the ramp

"The stage is my breathing, my oxygen.

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At almost 89 years old Popeck, the prince without laughing, does not want to let go of the ramp

"The stage is my breathing, my oxygen... But you have to know how to surrender...". At almost 89 years old, Popeck happily continues his ultimate (perhaps) one-man show No more laughing! We are closing!. This funny and touching show has been delighting its audience for months with new and famous déjà vus. Always on the wrong foot, the always alert dean of humor, who perfectly holds the ramp of the Théâtre de Passy, ​​in Paris, every Sunday until June, confides with an amused eye: “I have seen too many artists go to the end of their strength. I think it's better to stop in the middle of glory than in the middle of shit..." With his famous Yiddish accent, his frock coat and his bowler hat, Popeck has been sketching since 1968 the daily worries of his character, an eternally inspired complainer. of his father, wonderfully combining Jewish humor with that of a Parisian titi. “I'm unhappy to be the age I am, especially since I feel better now. You have to be reasonable and Ashkenazi Jews are pessimistic by nature...,” adds Popeck, born Judka Herpstu, admitting in passing that he feels more and more nervous.

Also read: No more laughing, we're closing! by Popeck: the (good) review of Le Figaro

His father, a Romanian Jew, emigrated to France before 1914. His mother, Polish, was deported and killed at Auschwitz. Young Judka becomes a cabinetmaker, a courier for a bailiff and a seller of fleece underwear to pay for his theater lessons with René Simon, his “second father”. “I, who wanted to have a great career as an actor, the character of Popeck invaded me... I have always had a sense of humor without realizing it. I was born with it, like a gift...", estimates the comedian who considers himself to be "demographically overrun", in terms of life expectancy for a man of his generation. Popeck's most famous matings? “Praise be to God but at reasonable prices…”; “It’s better to have 50% of people who don’t like you than 100% who don’t even know you”; “I spent a third of my life knowing nothing, another third trying, and the last pretending”... “In 1968, I played the valet in Dostoyevsky's The Idiot at the Théâtre de l'Idiot. Workshop. One evening, after the performance and still in my stage clothes, I told my father's funny stories. The play's headliner, Charles Denner, took me straight to L'Écluse, the cabaret where Barbara got her start. I was immediately hired!”, he says, choosing to call himself Popeck, a Yiddish nickname for “simple” or “charlot”.

The success of his character in valet outfit and white shoes quickly pushed him to abandon the classical repertoire. However, we will find him on the big screen for small roles with the pseudonym of Jean Herbert, notably in The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob (1973) directed by Gérard Oury or in The Pianist by Roman Polanski, about the Shoah. In the theater, Popeck continues boulevard plays with Robert Lamoureux, Francis Joffo and in recent years Laurent Baffie or Olivier Lejeune. In his last show, Popeck found himself suffering from “flemmingitis”, the fault of teleworking. He takes up his cult sketches such as Le Bois de Boulogne and Dinner at Maxim's, but also presents new situations and reflections on the passing of time. Even if he regrets that “the times are not really ripe for laughter,” Popeck sees Gad Elmaleh, Jamel Debbouze and Alex Vizorek as his worthy successors. Does he have a message for his audience, after almost 60 years of career? “Thank you for everything! How much do I owe you?"... No more laughing, we're closing!, at the Théâtre de Passy (Paris 16th), until June 2024. Reservations, Tel. : 0182285640.

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