New show: make way for science with Boucar Diouf!

New show: space for science with Boucar Diouf!


In 2023, comedian Boucar Diouf will travel all over Quebec to present Nomo Sapiens, his brand new show. We were lucky enough to catch him just before his tour started to find out what he's reading.

Remember the very first novel you loved?

One of the novels that shaped my life is Fisherman from Icelandby Pierre Loti. My mom picked it up I don't know where, and I read it when I was a teenager. I read it and then I told everyone I was going to be an oceanographer. This very beautiful love story on the background of cod fishing influenced my career. She acted subliminally and steered me towards marine science.

Subsequently, over the years, what were your main favorites?

As I am someone who works a lot in scientific communication, my favorites are mostly scientific books. Here are a few:

  • The intelligence of plantsby Stefano Mancuso. It is an extraordinary book that shows why we should not underestimate the plant world. This reading allowed me to see plants in a completely different way: they are able to hear, they communicate, they have a social life… They deserve to be discovered!
  • The Hidden Worldof Merlin Sheldrake, a big fantastic brick that tells the origin of mushrooms. You don't always see them, but they occupy a very important place in the biosphere, they are the foundation on which plants grow. This book approaches this universe.
  • Journey to the ends of the mindby Michael Pollan. This book explains what LSD and psilocybin, a substance produced by mushrooms, brought to young people in the counterculture of the 1960s. They allowed them to think differently, they disturbed their consciousness and the author goes as far to say that Silicon Valley was created thanks to these drugs, which have a considerable effect on the mind!
  • Bees: the last dance? by Thor Hanson. A beautiful book that makes you think about the extraordinary world of bees, about what we owe them and about the tragedy that strikes them almost everywhere on the planet.
  • The bonobo , God and us by Frans de Waal. Primatology, I find it disturbing. This book focuses on the place of humans in creation. He studies the great apes and leads us to understand who we are. It's touching.

Is there a book that has brought a lot to your life?

Collective intelligence – The success of Sapiensby anthropologist Joseph Henrich. The strength of our species is our ability to work as a team. I really liked that approach. If you're on your own, it's completely different. Take someone who has everything and drop them in the jungle. He may be intelligent, he will die the same. So our happiness also largely depends on others. It makes you think.

What is the funniest book you've read from memory?

Humor is not a selection criterion when I read… But what made me laugh a lot was the Petit guide du parle québécoisby Mario Belanger. It contains all the lexical particularities of Quebec. For an immigrant, it's very funny. When you hear for example for the first time the expression “peter au frette”, you realize that your interpretation is very far from reality! I am also thinking of “enwoye”, a great action verb. Or even to “dress like Jacques’ dog”. But who is this Jacques?

And conversely, which book particularly touched or moved you?

I don't read a lot of fiction. I mostly read books about the natural sciences and what has done me good lately is Wisdom of Wolvesby Elli H. Radinger. The author is a great specialist in wolves and if you want to know what a dog is, you have to read this. It's beautiful.

What have you been reading lately?

The Ant Odyssey < /em>by Audrey Dussutour and Antoine Wystrach. We learn incredible things about ants. It teaches us humility. When it is said that man invented animal husbandry or agriculture, it is not entirely true. Ants have been doing this for much longer than we have, for example raising aphids to take their honeydew. It's an unknown, but fantastic world.

What are you reading right now?

Right now , I don't read because I'm working on my comedy show. But I started Nutrition, Lies and Propaganda by Michael Pollan, a book that explains how the modern diet makes us sick. As I have only read a few pages of it, I cannot speak about it yet. Also on my bedside table is History of Animal Domesticationby Valérie Chansigaud.

Before I finish, which title would you like to recommend to everyone? ?

The Secret Life of Insects by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, because the planet belongs to insects. We are massacring them en masse and this book teaches us to respect them, to see all that they bring to us and of which we are not aware. A truly wonderful read.