The producer shakes my hand and opens the briefcase containing his loot: a dozen faded books, on which I recognize the faces of Maurice Mad Dog Vachon, Michel Girouard and Danielle Ouimet.

The Bio-Degradable cabaret may have existed for fifteen years, but it has never filled the Bell Centre.

For those who do not already know, I summarize the concept: actors read excerpts from the autobiographies of Quebec stars chosen for their involuntary humor…

And the room is bursting with laughter.

“It’s one of the rare shows where I sometimes have to stop my number to make sure that a spectator who has been laughing too hard for a long time is fine and that she can catch her breath,” says Kim Lavack-Paquin.

“Before I start reading again, I ask: are you okay, madam?”

The actor reads me excerpts from the autobiography of Michel Girouard who fumes against “evil” bisexuality and Éliane Gamache-Latourelle (known as the “young millionaire”) who discusses the anthropological differences between male and female sexuality.

These passages are so hilarious that, yes, it triggers laughter!

Is it precisely because the humor in these books is unintentional that it turns out to be so funny?

“A lot of professional comedians attended the show, and then they say to me something like: It’s unfair, we go out of our way to write good jokes and to test them, and you are even more comical by reading books that weren’t even supposed to be funny!” Didier Morissonneau, the cabaret’s producer, told me.

Simple formula

The Bio-Degradable cabaret is a bit the opposite of a show like Les Misérables: there is no orchestra or singing, acrobatics or stepettes, and no costumes.

Unlike comedy shows that pride themselves on offering untold jokes, nothing here was made up, and nothing is even meant to be a joke.

“I was far from thinking that my concept would continue to work even after 15 years,” says Mr. Morissonneau.

The most difficult thing for the renewal of the show is prospecting: “I have to read ten books before finding one that contains bits that can be used.”

The only foreign autobiography of the cabaret, that of Julio Iglesias is on the program because it is, according to Mr. Morissonneau, a masterpiece of burlesque narcissism.

“We could just read this to make people laugh for hours,” says the producer.

The biography of Mad Dog Vachon is amusing because of its flowery language very French-Canada-of-the-1940s, that of France Castel because of editing errors which make it constantly repeat the same things, that of André Montmorency because of the overflow of salacious details, etc.

“Each autobiography we use is comical for different reasons,” Morissonneau says.