Jean-François Baril believes he has found a better balance in his life

Jean-François Baril will once again host the Le Tremplin de Dégelis festival in May, dedicated to up-and-coming French-speaking singers and comedians. With a better balanced professional life than before, the facilitator learns to allow a little more quality time for himself…

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Jean-François, you are spokesperson and host of the Tremplin de Dégelis for a third year. You must be looking forward to discovering new talents!

So much, and as much in song as in humor! There are lots of extraordinary artists who have been through the festival before! I love to animate. I think, of everything I do professionally, this is my favorite. And, during the festival, I host several evenings. I also like being on stage, because it ties in with my roots as a comedian who has toured all over Quebec for a long time. Plus, I find it inspiring to find myself with talented and hopeful young people like that. I feel like their big brother. In short, the whole process is fantastic!

At the start of your career, would you have participated in an event like this?

Certainly! At the end of high school, I did Jeunes pour laughs, a comedy competition across high schools. The grand prize was a participation in Just for Laughs, but I finished second. Subsequently, I participated in Cégeps en spectacle and Étoiles du Capitole, where I was among the finalists. So I have experience in competitions…but I didn’t win! (laughs) Let’s say that I understand very well how the participants may feel. In my 27-year career, I have found myself in the running 26 times at all kinds of galas, such as the Gémeaux, the Olivier and the Gala Artis, and I have never won. But that didn’t stop me from having a great career! (laughs)

For several years, you even operated at a crazy pace, especially when you hosted Clash of clans. Are you bored of having such a busy schedule?

No, and I wouldn’t see it again today. During the years of Clash of clans, I also hosted the morning show at Rythme FM and I participated in talkshows or shows like Atomes crochus about 100 times a year. I also had a big period when I was hosting Caffeine every day during the filming of 3X nothing. I was burned. No joke, I slept on the sets between scenes. Currently, I work at QUB, I am a columnist at Hi hello and I create board games. So I’m very busy, but it’s better balanced. What I miss is a regular project. And I’ll always be up for hosting a TV quiz or something.

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How many board games have you created so far?

In 2024, this will be my 10th board game released. I’m a game freak. In my family, when I go to my father’s house, we take out the cards, dominoes and board games. It all started with Connexion. I had created this quiz for TV, but with the broadcasters, it didn’t work. So I went to see the War of the Clans game team and we released it as a tabletop game. I love doing that, so other games followed. It’s a great adventure.

When you think about your years of intense work, do you feel like you missed important events in your life as a father?

No way! Despite my busy schedule, I was able to organize myself to be very present. I even found the morning shows very practical in my role as a father, because I was with the children for lunch, for homework and for family dinner. On the other hand, I missed several family activities on the weekends, because The War of the Clans was filmed on the weekends. It would be impossible for me to go back to that. At 47, I no longer have the same energy as before, and that’s normal. On the other hand, even though I had more energy, I missed the luxury of having time for myself. Looking back, I realize that I always cut back on time that would have been used to maintain my friendships or do things just for me.

How old are your children today?

My son, Nathan, is 19 years old and he plays with the Val-d’Or Foreurs for the QMJHL. Things are going very well for him; he is the best scorer on his team. He has just entered university to major in finance. As I have more time, we can now organize to go see him more often in Val-d’Or. As for my daughter, Viviane, who is now 21, she is studying cinema and she wants to work behind the camera. Honestly, we have very good children. I think we did a good job with them. I am a very proud dad.

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Photo: Bruno Petrozza / Les Pu

Jean-François, with grown-up children and approaching fifty, does growing old make you anxious?

I still have a few years left in my forties! (laughs) I don’t know if getting older makes me anxious, but I don’t find anything fun or positive in the aging process. We have less energy, we get stiff at the slightest effort, the enthusiasm of our younger years is no longer there and, when we look in the mirror, we see our white hair, our fine lines and the rest. Even though I don’t really celebrate my birthday anymore; I don’t want to emphasize that anymore. I pay close attention to myself and I make up for it by taking time for myself.

What do you love doing?

I’m a big fan of fishing, so whenever I have time, I plan a little fishing trip. I play a lot of golf and hockey too. What has changed now that my schedule is less full is that I allow myself deviations that I didn’t dare allow myself before. If I have an activity with friends on a Sunday evening, I’m not going to start stressing and telling myself that I have to go to bed soon because I’m getting up early the next day and I have a big week. Before, I felt like I never had time for anything, whereas now I’m a lot more relaxed. I stress less and I take the time to do things.

Follow Jean-François at QUB Radio and at Hi hello, weekdays from 6:30 a.m., at TVA. The Le Tremplin de Dégelis festival will take place from May 13 to 19. Find out more at festivalletremplin.com.

A 24th edition that promises

The Tremplin de Dégelis is back for a 24th edition, which will be held from May 13 to 19, with David Jalbert as guest artist. The festival allows you to discover emerging French-speaking artists in song and humor. It was a springboard for many talents, including Sara Dufour, Sam Breton, Klô Pelgag, André Sauvé and Eve Côté. In total, there are 26 artists selected in five distinct categories: Singer-songwriter (13 years and over), Performer (17 years and under), Performer (18 years and over), Humor (18 years and over) and Humor LOL competition – Die laughing! (students from grade 6 to grade 5 of secondary school).

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