Rwanda native Michel Mpambara is a stand-up comedian who was born in Burundi. He immigrated to Québec with his family in 1990.
Since then, he has been wowing audiences with his wild tales of an African man’s struggle to adopt the North American way of life, his first experiences upon arriving in urban Québec, and his misadventures, rivaling the most melodramatic of American soap operas. You might not have known this, but according to him, World Vision is an African soap opera and he was one of its stars who went on to become one of its sponsors! Since 2000, he has been performing his enormously successful one-man-show “Y’a Trop de Blanc au Québec”, nominated in the “Best New Artist” category, and winner of the ADISQ’s Félix award for “Best Comedy Show of the Year” in 2001.
He was also nominated in two categories at the 2002 Les Oliviers gala; best writing for a show he co-wrote with François Avard, and best stand-up comedy act for “L’immigrant de Jonquière.”
During the closing ceremony of the FrancoFolies de Montréal in 2002, in front of more than 100,000 spectators, he hosted “La fête africaine”, an outdoor show featuring some of the city’s African artists. In 2004, he played the lead role of Gégé in Dany Laferrière’s feature film “Comment conquérir l’Amérique en une nuit.”
Struggling with mental health issues in 2005, he stopped performing on stage, but made several film appearances. In 2007, he landed the lead role in the film “Faro, la reine des eaux” (a Canada-France-Mali co-production). In 2009, he landed a second role, in the film “Pour toujours, les Canadiens.”
In 2011, he became a spokesperson for the first Bell Let’s Talk Day, joining the ranks of Stefie Shock and Clara Hughes, to support a nation-wide awareness-raising campaign, assisting organizations that care for people struggling with mental illness.
In 2015, he made a guest appearance as a bipolar comedian on the ICI Radio-Canada series “Les Pêcheurs.” In 2016, as part of the Comediha de Québec galas broadcast on Radio-Canada television, Michel Mpambara successfully presented a new monologue touching on bipolar disorder.
He followed this up by speaking at schools, businesses and organizations across Québec to raise public awareness of mental health-related issues.
In 2018, he performed an outdoor show as part of the Just for Laughs Festival.
In April of 2020, his official stage comeback show was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May of 2020, responding to a call for help with the health system by Prime Minister François Legault, Michel Mpambara became an essential worker at the Émilie-Gamelin nursing home for six months.
Right now, due to the lock down, Mpambara is offering virtual shows as well as mental health-related talks.