These days, getting famous for dubious reasons is the norm, but even today’s nebulous influencers and social media stars can’t make a living through literal hot air. There was once a time, though, that just being really good at farting was enough to propel you to the top of the entertainment world. Le Petomane, history’s most famous flatulist, was living proof of that fact.

He Didn’t Really Fart

People covering their noses to avoid gas

(Jules D./Unsplash)

The source of Pujol’s musical stylings weren’t actually farts. What made Pujol so remarkable was his ability to expand his abdomen, sucking up a gust of air through his butt and then “exhaling” it. This was an important factor of his performance, because if he was truly expelling gas, he’d lose his audience real quick.

He Was Multitalented

Plate of bran muffins


Farting wasn’t his whole life. We all contain multitudes, and in Pujol’s case, he was trained as a baker and returned to the profession after retiring from showbiz. He was appropriately said to make the best bran muffins in town, and his goodies were so renowned that the street where his bakery was located has been named after him.

He Had More Sex Than You

If you think the life of a professional farter is lonely, you’re sorely mistaken. Not only did Le Petomane have a wife, they had 10 children together. He was so beloved by his family that they refused to allow a medical school to examine his anus after his death, explaining “there are some things in this life which simply must be treated with reverence.” 

The Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge in 1900

(Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons)

After touring around a bit, Pujol really became a star at the Moulin Rouge, where he eventually outearned the actress usually regarded as the club’s main attraction, Sarah Bernhardt. He impressed the owner with a demonstration that included sucking up a tubful of water and impersonating the owner’s mother-in-law (with his butt, to be clear). He even appears in the 2001 Baz Luhrmann movie.

Moulin Rouge Sued Him For Freelance Farting

Pujol was such a draw for the Moulin Rouge that when he tried to help out a friend’s business by farting outside his stall to attract customers, the club sued him, arguing that farting anywhere else constituted breach of contract. The French media had a lot of fun with that one.

Laughing to Death (Or At Least the Emergency Room)

Audiences at the Moulin Rouge found Pujol so funny that it wasn’t uncommon for several of its corseted members to pass out where they sat, and one man even had a heart attack. Eventually, the club started keeping nurses on-hand to deal with the fallout.

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