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Grégory Charles (#13)

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By this point in our 12-part series of exploring the personalities of “The Poll that Shocked”, you will have noticed that Québec celebrities often weave in-and-out of various artistic platforms (you’ll recall in the post on Rémy Girard that I touched upon this phenomenon common to both Francophone and Anglophone celebrities in Canada, versus the U.S. star-culture which tends to see American celebrities stick more to one stream).

Grégory Charles fits with the mould of performing in many art and media platforms.  I’m not sure how to accurately classify him.  He’s done a bit of everything.   When growing up in Alberta, some of my earliest memories of him were of watching him as the host of the early 1990s TV game show Que le meilleur gagne, as well as a comedian appearing on various TV programs.  But it seems his heart is that of a singer (he was Canada’s best-selling singer in 2006 after Nelly Furtado.

Charles is one of those people whose English and French are perfect in either language, with no accent.  His father is Anglophone and mother is Francophone.  He lives between the linguistic lines and in both linguistic sphere, and could be classified as being both Francophone and Anglophone – a proud sum of both (however, it’s my guess that most Francophones are not aware of his Anglo side).   I remember him as the TV host of Culture Shoc on Radio-Canada… a pan-Canadian show devoted to bridging the two solitudes by bringing Francophone culture to Anglophones.  Conversely it offered Francophones a window of Anglophone culture across Canada, airing in both languages (in English on CBC, and in French on Radio-Canada).   Grégory Charles was probably one of the perfect people to choose to fill that role

Sidenote:  Likewise, but not directly related to Grégory Charles, you may wish to check out CBC Radio’s C’est la vie, hosted by Bernard St-Laurent – a very popular, long-running show dedicated to bringing an understanding of pan-Canadian Francophone culture to the lives of Anglophones.  It has been on air since 1998, having reached millions of Anglophones – with no sign of slowing down.  Like Grégory Charles, Bernard St-Laurent is another one of those celebrities who lives between the linguistic lines and is a sum of both languages.

Charles became a famous to the wider public in the early 1990s as a comedian-actor on TV and a daily radio-host on Montréal’s French language hit-music station CKOI-FM.   His television career was very active in the 1990’s.  Apart from the above, he was a host of children’s TV programs, and the host of Cha ba ba (a talk show styled on U.S. late-night TV talk shows).   His recurrent appearances at the televised Juste pour rire festival cemented his role as a successful stage comedian.

His Francophone television career continued to roll in the 2000s with various long-running programs.  The mid 2000s were also the period when his musical career took off.  His concert appearances, attended by tens-of-thousands, and record-breaking music / album releases increased his celebrity status.  His love for music is apparent, and Charles was fittingly a coach on Star Académie (mentioned in the earlier post on Julie Snyder).

His work to bridge the Two Solitudes hasn’t gone unnoticed.  Keep up the great work and keep breakin’ ’em barriers Grégory!!

I would encourage you to conduct some searches online for Grégory Charles, because I have a feeling he’ll be a part of our cultural lives for a long, long time to come.   When conducting your searches, please stick to officially sanctioned photos and videos.  Our artists are part of our cultural fabric – Please to do no pirate (his music is available for sale on various platforms).


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