LE PETOMANE – The Fartiste

LePetomane farter


Born in Marseilles, France in 1857 Joseph Pujol eventually became one of the most unique performers ever to grace a stage.

Legend has is that one day, while swimming, Pujol discovered his unique ability. As he took a deep breath before submerging, he felt water enter his rear. He soon discovered that, with abdominal control, he could deliberately suck water in through his anus and project it back out with great force. Further experimentation led him to discover that he could also do the same with air and, by varying pressures, he could produce distinct notes.

Pujol became the first flatulence musician. It was a skill that eventually made him the most well-known and highest paid entertainer in all of France.

Billed as ‘Le Pétomane’, Pujol began his career as a comedy act in 1887 at the age of 30. However, encouraged by success in his native Marseilles, Pujol began to take his ability seriously and within five years he was headlining the Moulin Rouge in Paris.

On stage, dressed in a fine red coat and black britches, Le Pétomane began each performance by explained to his audience that his emissions were odorless. After reassuring the masses, he would launch into his act. He would start with a comedy series of what he called ‘fart impressions’. He would emit a tiny toot, label it as the fart of a ‘new bride’, then flap a thunderous emission and label it as the same bride a week into the marriage. He did impressions of famous people, squeezed out a ten-second long squeaker, and then blew out candles using nothing by the gases emitted from his posterior.

For his finale Le Pétomane inserted a rubber tube into his anus, attached an ocarina to the end of the hose, and played popular tunes while inviting the audience to sing along.

He was a great success at the Moulin Rouge and eventually opened his own theater where he continued to perform until his popularity waned during WWI. He retired from show business in 1914 and in 1945 Joseph Pujol passed away at the age of eighty-eight.

Following his death, medical schools in Paris clamored to examine the late Le Pétomane’s famous anus. The family declined all inquires stating ‘there are some things in this life which simply must be treated with reverence.’


  • Reply March 3, 2007


    I remember coming across a book on Le Petomane in a box of books someone had given my mother. It was short but sweet, like his ‘music’ I suppose.

  • Reply March 6, 2007


    Maybe John Cleese got his infamous, “I Fart In your general direction!” line with the French accent from this guy?

  • Reply March 8, 2007


    Holy Moly. This reminds me of the Mad TV skit where a newlyweds husband can fart different smells.

  • Reply May 26, 2007

    John Baker

    The late great British comedy actor Leonard Rossiter made a TV film of his life, right up to the time when he started to follow through and nearly asphyxiate his audience. I don’t know if this is available here, let alone across the pond.

  • Reply June 4, 2007


    I have read the book on his life, written by his son. He apparently made more money than Sarah Bernhardt.

    He was so funny in fact that an ambulance with stretcher bearers was always on standby at the Moulin Rouge to assist those patrons who fainted from too much laughter during his shows.

    What a gas!

  • Reply July 2, 2007


    I heard that he could intone’the marseillese’- the french national Anthem… That’s control.. ARS

  • Reply September 18, 2007


    The character played by Mel Brooks himself in Blazing Saddles, “Governor William J. LePetomaine”, is, of course, named in his honor.

  • Reply October 30, 2007


    I am married to his great, great grandson, it most definetly runs in the family!!!

  • Reply February 24, 2008


    me and my cousin’s friend can do that!!! we thought we were the only ones!!!!!

  • Reply June 19, 2008


    This might be a far stretch but Does anyone remember the cartoon from the 90’s, the Animaniacs?
    Well one of the brothers, Wakko, would perform on stage in a similar manner, but with burping instead of Le Fartiste.
    I wonder if that was meant as a slightly obscure reference. they were definitely known for such antics.

  • Reply July 7, 2008


    Mr Methane is a real person today- he does the same thing! Wow.

  • Reply July 8, 2009


    I am so sick of these lame ass comment sections at the end of every damn page nowadays. Has storage become so cheap that we have to tolerate the random ramblings of every twit on the internet?

  • Reply July 15, 2009


    It’s apparently so cheap that we have to tolerate the pointless insults of a twit like you. Either appreciate the Fartiste or get off the page. No one asked you to read the comments. >:|

    & I can’t even play a real ocarina & this dude did it w/ his butt… brilliant. =]

  • Reply January 9, 2010


    That is amazing–I want to be able to do that.

  • Reply May 7, 2010


    Pppppppffffffbbbtttt-ROFL!!! Famous anus!!!

  • I read about fron my book, Tales of the Werrid by the cartoonist, Ralph Steadman. Pasting gas with the rashberry sound are making me laugh, when I was a 12 year old to 14 year old. Because of his flatulence. Real name is Joseph Pujol, he was a flatulist. Hopefully it’s needs a good manners. Between good humors and rude humors.

  • Reply November 1, 2011


    “reassuring the masses” *chuckle*

  • Reply January 27, 2012


    There recently was a musical made of his story. It played a run off-broadway here in NYC. It was called “The Fartiste”. (go figure) it was a little bit of fun but not best thing ever.

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Greg Cugola

    I have just finished reading Le Petomane by Jean Nohain & F. Caradec 1967.

    ‘No genius can escape the jealousy of the impotent censors of the times’.

    I just love these old vaudevillians, Le Petomane, MO Roy Rene and their ability to make people cry laughing.

    ‘The audience didn’t just laugh, it roared’.

    The First World War put an end to his career.

    ‘And so life went on through those years after la Belle Epoque until 1914’. Louis Pujol.

    ‘My father was so shattered by his trials and tribulations, that he did not have the heart to take up his artistic career again’.

    In 1945, at the age of 88, Joseph Pujol passed away, surrounded by all his children and innumerable friends in tears’.

    He is buried in cemetery of La Valette in Var France.

    What ever happened to a good belly laugh?

    My greatest regret, is that I shall never see these men on stage.

    If I had a time machine I know where I’d go.

  • Reply July 10, 2012


    Hi, here you have an article about this man who was catalan descendent (from the north-east of Spain).

    And here another one (in catalan) with a picture of an “bottled fart” from American Dime Museum of Baltimore.

  • […] Le Petomane: The French Farting Artist […]

  • Reply December 30, 2014

    Dartainian Winslow III

    The Crepitation Contest is another example of funny flatulence entertainment. Released by the Canadian Broadcasting Company in 1949 it is a play by play of a farting contest featuring Paul Boomer, Lord Windisphere and Little Freddy Fartoots.
    I just had some beans and can’t wait to fart in your general direction.

  • […] then, Le Petomane has become the stuff of legend. His story became a comic strip in a 1975 issue of Apple Pie […]

Leave a Reply