Jean-René Dufort is best know as Infoman.
The closest equivalent I can think of in English speaking Canada would be Rick Mercer (Dufort is 2 years younger than Mercer). Dufort’s Infoman TV programme has been running on Radio-Canada for around 14 years. If you were to show a photo of Dufort to almost anyone on the street in Quebec, most would recognize him instantly. Even for those for whom his real name might not roll off the tip of their tongue, it’s a likely bet they’d still tell you “he’s Infoman!”
Like Mercer, Jean-René Dufort has a knack of catching interviewees off guard (often politicians or newsmakers), and asking them questions which are a sure-bet to get a funny (and unexpected) answer. If you watch his clips, you’ll see old faces in a humorous way you’ve never seen them before – trust me !!
Much of the magic of Dufort’s programme lies in the editing. They often edit news clips, events and footage in a brilliant manner, then re-patch them together, with a little mood music or background commentary (elevator music and anchor/sports-style commentaries seem to be a favourite) – and voilà !! You have a politician or other newsmaker completely oblivious to the fact that they’ve become one of the funniest people in the country during those few seconds. Dufort has a knack of turning someone into a complete caricature of themselves – almost always in clean fun (I’d give it a G-rating, so no need to put the kids to bed at 4pm).
It seems that every episode adds just the right amount of juxtaposition between seriousness and ridiculousness to milk the most out of the moment. Sometimes Dufort doesn’t have to utter a single word — he simply lets images speak for themselves. But when he does speak, he says just the right thing, at just the right moment to give it that home-run punch.
Prior to Infoman, Dufort co-hosted and participated in morning radio shows on CKOI and NRJ (two of Montréal’s more popular French-language hit-music radio stations), and continues to appear on the morning radio of Radio-Canada. For much of the last decade he’s been one of the first voices Montréalais have heard when waking up on the morning, driving to work, or starting their day at the office.
A good start to your search for additional information would be Radio-Canada’s Infoman page. See if you can catch a few episodes – it airs across Canada on Radio-Can every fall, winter and spring. Ça vaut vraiment la peine d’y jeter un coup d’œil !