« Zen » at the Zénith: Squeezie, Bigflo and Oli, Keen’V invited to end season 2 in style


Squeezie, Bigflo & Oli, Keen’V, Ziak… For its premiere on stage, “Zen” dreamed big this Monday at the Zénith de Paris. This show, which is a hit on the Internet on the Twitch platform, has indeed offered itself this room of more than 5,000 people to end its season 2 in style with leading guests. « Zen » is a late show, a typical American genre of TV programs, where sketches, interviews and music are mixed in the second part of the evening. But, not easy to import this institution across the Atlantic on our territory, where Alain Chabat, Arthur, Cyril Hanouna have multiplied the attempts.

With “Zen”, Maxime Biaggi, a 26-year-old Parisian born in Corsica, and Grimkujow (Mathis by his real name), a 22-year-old Ile-de-France resident, seem to have found the right formula. For two years, the two animators who have known each other via Twitch where they shared their video game games, have been offering the same plot: a personality is invited, she is interviewed and, little by little, the exchange switches into offbeat humor, sometimes corrosive, with skillfully prepared stagings (a fake wedding was for example organized for the arrival of McFly and Carlito).

For their public premiere at La Villette, the room is packed. In the preamble, burgers are distributed to the noisiest spectators, a budding singer spotted among the spectators goes on stage. The show really begins with a video where the two organizers of the evening are prevented from entering the site. Then Doigby—another Internet content creator and well-known competitor to the duo—climbs down from the roof, clinging to a rope to announce that he’s managed to stop the show from taking place. The creators of « Zen » finally split the crowd to cheers.

Their influence? “Louis de Funès, Les Nuls, but also Éric André”

For this particular issue, Squeezie, the first youtuber in France, is present. An argument that hit home since all the tickets were sold out in a few minutes. Even better, up to 188,000 spectators watched the live broadcast. A historic record for this program which has experienced a meteoric rise. During the first burst of episodes, in 2021-2022, it brought together a maximum of 10,000 fans. Now it’s one of the hottest on Twitch.

« In such a niche format, we didn’t expect such success, » Maxime Biaggi is still surprised, confiding that he has redesigned their creation. Last year’s episodes were too à la carte, you could love the first one but hate the second one. « It was cool, but still too much Foir’Fouille », adds his sidekick.

Their influence? “Louis de Funès, Les Nuls, but also Éric André, a humorist hosting a crazy and raw program of the same genre on American television. Nevertheless, the idea of ​​the tandem was not to reproduce what had already been done. “It was only by taking a step back that we realized that season 2 was a late show, it was not a starting objective,” says the Corsican. Finish at the Zenith? « From the very beginning we thought that the best way to end a season would be to do it in public, » he continues. The Zénith is a climax, it’s like a fair at the end of school. We had to find a happy medium between the DNA of Zen and the necessary adaptation to the scene. »

A probable season 3

Promise kept thanks to diversified stagings, judicious use of space. The audience often laughs out loud. A downside, some sketches struggle to convince, like this parody of « Men in Black ». The construction of the XXL version of the show is sometimes more risky, especially in the more catch-all second part where the authors have integrated references to their happenings. As a result, amazing sequences, like when Keen’V sings « I would like too much », disguised as a zombie.

Will the comedians continue the adventure? “We don’t know if there will be a third season, it’s still being considered,” Maxime Biaggi told us before the performance. At the Zenith, however, Bigflo and Oli performed their title “Last” with an evocative refrain: “No, it can’t be the last. “Another clue, the projection of a video of a book returning to the history of “Zen”, with, on the front cover, the mention “Zen season 3: Final season”. See you in the fall, then.


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