“The Secret History of the Unknowns”, on TF1: the trio of comedians takes stock, against a backdrop of cult lines

“That’s none of our business,” “Hey Manu, are you coming down? »… The gimmicks of Les Inconnus have passed into everyday language, a sign of the phenomenal success experienced by the trio, made up of Pascal Légitimus, Bernard Campan and Didier Bourdon, in the 1990s

“The Secret History of the Unknowns”, on TF1: the trio of comedians takes stock, against a backdrop of cult lines

“That’s none of our business,” “Hey Manu, are you coming down? »… The gimmicks of Les Inconnus have passed into everyday language, a sign of the phenomenal success experienced by the trio, made up of Pascal Légitimus, Bernard Campan and Didier Bourdon, in the 1990s. Before each followed their own path. Since then, producers and fans have only wanted to see them reunited again.

While a joint film, directed by Riad Sattouf, has been announced since 2022, TF1 invited the three accomplices for two days in a pretty country house, to watch – laugh – and comment on their forty-year career, in front of the cameras.

Even if the course of this entertainment is not purely chronological, it begins with their childhood, their first steps in the profession (at five, with Smaïn and Seymour Brussel, at four, then at three) and with the two decisive years spent , thanks to Pascal Légitimus, at the “Théâtre de Bouvard”, on Antenne 2. With 15 million viewers, this springboard is monumental. The separation will only be more conflictual.

Memorable sketches

Around thirty artists and professionals are invited to say a kind word about the trio. Among them, the singers Bénabar and Soprano, the actors Medi Sadoun and Antoine Duléry, as well as Gérard Pullicino, director of the clip for Auteuil, Neuilly, Passy (Victoire de la musique 1992) and that of Rap-tout. The latter gives rise to an extraordinary sequence: the clip, also in rap, then released in response by the Ministry of Finance!

The hits and memorable sketches follow one another, from the Branleurs Marseilles (“We put ourselves in rag-chiffon-rug”) to the Advertisers. Without giving any indication that 1996 marked the beginning of the problems. The cause, according to the trio, is their producer, Paul Lederman, who made them sign a contract including exclusive rights “throughout the entire universe”, specifies Bernard Campan.

But it's not just that. In our mid-sixties, everyone seems to need to say what is on their heart before considering what comes next. Pascal Légitimus thus recounts how, after Les Trois Frères (6.8 million spectators in 1995, César for the first film), Didier Bourdon and Bernard Campan “summoned him, there is no other word”, to tell him that they were going to co-direct Le Pari (1997), without him. It will make him depressed.

Another sticking point, the reformation of the trio. Bernard Campan admits to being the brake, without specifying why. We can just note that he is the one who has had the most success in his solo career, with, among others, The Heart of Men (2003), by Marc Esposito, and Almost (2022), by Bernard Campan and Alexandre Jollien.

Plus, times have changed. If The Hunters or Jesus II pose no or no longer a problem, the extract from Nicolas Culot in Barbès seems to mark a limit. “We’re passing that today, it’s thirty years in prison,” jokes Pascal Légitimus.