Saturday, 30 July 2011
LE PETOMANE – The Fartiste
Born in Marseilles, France in 1857 Joseph Pujol eventually became one of the most unique performers ever to grace a stage.
Legend has is that one day, while swimming, Pujol discovered his unique ability. As he took a deep breath before submerging, he felt water enter his rear. He soon discovered that, with abdominal control, he could deliberately suck water in through his anus and project it back out with great force. Further experimentation led him to discover that he could also do the same with air and, by varying pressures, he could produce distinct notes.
Pujol became the first flatulence musician. It was a skill that eventually made him the most well-known and highest paid entertainer in all of France.
Billed as ‘Le Pétomane’, Pujol began his career as a comedy act in 1887 at the age of 30. However, encouraged by success in his native Marseilles, Pujol began to take his ability seriously and within five years he was headlining the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
On stage, dressed in a fine red coat and black britches, Le Pétomane began each performance by explained to his audience that his emissions were odorless. After reassuring the masses, he would launch into his act. He would start with a comedy series of what he called ‘fart impressions’. He would emit a tiny toot, label it as the fart of a ‘new bride’, then flap a thunderous emission and label it as the same bride a week into the marriage. He did impressions of famous people, squeezed out a ten-second long squeaker, and then blew out candles using nothing by the gases emitted from his posterior.
For his finale Le Pétomane inserted a rubber tube into his anus, attached an ocarina to the end of the hose, and played popular tunes while inviting the audience to sing along.
He was a great success at the Moulin Rouge and eventually opened his own theater where he continued to perform until his popularity waned during WWI. He retired from show business in 1914 and in 1945 Joseph Pujol passed away at the age of eighty-eight.
Following his death, medical schools in Paris clamored to examine the late Le Pétomane’s famous anus. The family declined all inquires stating ‘there are some things in this life which simply must be treated with reverence.’