Max, de heldige hond by Hugo Matthysen
'Mad the Heldige Hond', Humo #3784, 12 March 2013. 

Hugo Matthysen is a Belgian writer, columnist, singer-songwriter and comedic actor. A versatile artist, he has been active in many different media. He was a scriptwriter for children's series like 'Carlos & Co' (1987-1988), 'Dag Sinterklaas' (1993) and 'Kulderzipken' (1995-1996). Together with Bart Peeters and Marcel Vanthilt he wrote, starred and performed in the cult teenage TV shows 'PVBA Elektron' (1983-1984) and 'Villa Tempo' (1984-1987). His absurd and silly comedy found its way in several musical comedy projects, including Hugo Matthysen en de Bomen, de Clement Peerens Explosition and Hormonia. Matthysen often collaborates with Bart Peeters, with whom he made the improvisational comedy radio show 'Het Leugenpaleis' (1988-2000) and its TV spin-off 'Het Peulengaleis' (1999-2002). Both achieved cult status. He is additionally a weekly columnist for Humo. In the same magazine he occasionally wrote and drew gag comics like 'Boerken Kevin' (1989-1994) and 'Max, de Heldige Hond' (2013). Matthysen sometimes signs his work with his initials 'hm'. 


'Max, de Heldige Hond', Humo #3779, 5 February 2013. 

Early life and career
Hugo Matthysen was born in 1956 in Ekeren. He studied philosophy at the university of Antwerp and in Leuven (Louvain). In 1978 he and fellow students Jan Leyers (son of Hugo Leyers) and Bart Peeters established the cover band Beri Beri. They often performed during balls.

Elektron/Villa Tempo
In the early 1980s Bart Peeters hosted the humorous educational teenage TV shows 'Elektron' (1983-1984) and 'Villa Tempo' (1984-1987) on the public TV channel BRT. Both gained a cult status, especially because of the humorous sketch intermezzos, written by Matthysen. In the most well known segment, he, Peeters and Marcel Vanthilt played a triplet called 'De Hermannen' ('The Hermans'). They all shared the same first name, but looked like German schlager singer Heino, complete with sunglasses and blonde wigs. The show also spawned a spin-off band, The Yéh-Yéhs.

De Bomen
During the late 1980s and early 1990s Matthysen made himself noticed with another comedy band, Hugo Matthysen en de Bomen (literally: 'Hugo Matthysen and the Trees'). He wrote the lyrics, sang and played guitar. Jean Blaute performed keyboards, Evert Verhees and Marc Kruithof played bass, while Walter Mets and Stoy Stoffelen performed drums. In 1990 they scored a minor hit with 'Blankenberge' (1990). He also performed his songs in the absurd sketch show 'Lava' (1989-1990), hosted by Kamagurka and Herr Seele

Het Leugenpaleis/ Het Peulengaleis
Matthysen and his good friend Bart Peeters also hosted the comedy radio sketch show 'Het Leugenpaleis' (1988-1998) on Studio Brussel. He played several characters. Among them pop expert Clement Peerens, housewife Magda van Damme, doctor De Reiger, the gnome with lots of pubic hair Jefke De Lathouwer and the mounted deer head Kim De Hert. The show's improvisational nature often caused them to giggle uncontrollably, which polarized listeners. Nevertheless it still gained cult status and an equally successful TV spin-off, 'Het Peulengaleis' (1999-2005). On the TV show Matthysen played Clement Peerens, Dr. De Reiger and Kim De Hert, but also new characters like a stereotypically gay customer interested in buying hardware, a woman named Yvette, keyboardist Eugéne and a man named Petrik (who searched with Johan for his contact lenses in Germany)

Other TV projects
He was scriptwriter for TV comedy shows 'Nefast voor de Feestvreugde' (2000-2002),  'Anneliezen' (2010) and the children's series 'Carlos & Co' (co-written with Karel Vereertbrugghen and Paul Pourveur, 1987-1988), 'Dag Sinterklaas' (1992), 'Kulderzipken' (1995-1996) and 'Zingaburia' (2011-2014). 

Cpex and other musical projects
In 1994 Hugo Matthysen, Bart Peeters and Robert Mosuse established Matthysen's longest-running and most succesful musical project: De Clement Peerens Explosition. Inspired by Spinal Tap, they perform as a parody of hard rock bands. They scored several hits such as 'Dikke Lu' (1994), 'Foorwijf' (1994), 'Vinde Gij Mijn Gat Niet Te Dik In Deze Rok?' (1998) and 'Geft Da Kaske Na Is Hier!' (2008) and still perform in Flanders to this day, even though Peeters has been replaced by Aram van Ballaert, due to tinnitus problems. Matthysen has also written lyrics for another humorous musical act, Hormonia, and the comedy band De Nieuwe Snaar. 

Books, plays and columns
Matthysen has published several books and wrote a few plays, some directly based on his TV shows. He is a columnist for Humo since the 1980s. He mostly writes absurd stories. Among his recurring characters are romantic poet Joe Roxy, the brave knight Ivanhoe and contrarian physician Dr. De Zeulder. He read some of his columns during broadcasts of the educational radio show 'De Groote Magazijnen' (1988-1989) on Radio 2. In 2007 he wrote a contribution to 'Er was geenszins' (Oogachtend, 2007), an absurd fairy tale book aimed at an adult audience, for which Kim Duchateau provided illustrations. 

Style
Hugo Matthysen has a very recognizable humorous style. His comedy is absurd and silly. His characters tend to be pseudo-intellectuals, poets, philosophers or fictionalized versions of celebrities. They usually come up with surreal theories. Many speak in Antwerp dialect, which adds to their ludicrousness. The fact that Matthysen holds a degree in philosophy himself and often ventilates contrarian opinions in interviews, is an irony not lost on his audience. In many of his radio and TV shows Matthysen favours improvisational comedy. Since this leads to long-winded nonsensical dialogues, while he and co-actor Bart Peeters often crack up in laughter, it often polarizes audiences. 

Boerke Kevin
Lesser known is that Matthysen has also drawn comic strips on a couple of occasions. In the late 1980s he produced weekly musical contributions to Herr Seele and Kamagurka's absurd TV sketch show 'Lava' (1989-1990). The show inspired several comic books and the fourth volume (1990) featured cartoons by Matthysen. In 1989 and 1994 Matthysen created 'Boerken Kevin', a series of one-panel gag cartoons starring a farmer named Kevin (a name which is a running gag in Matthysen's oeuvre). Each cartoon had Kevin spout an absurd proverb or saying on rhyme, like "Whoever gives his child gasoline shouldn't smoke when it belches". They were published in Humo. 

Het Alfabet der Liefde
In 1997 Humo featured an "alphabet of love", 'Het Alfabet der Liefde', illustrated by Tom Schamp and written by "poet Joe Roxy from Limburg". Everyone familiar with 'Het Leugenpaleis' instantly knew this series was written by Matthysen, since Roxy was one of his characters on the show. 'Joe Roxy's Alfabet der Liefde' featured 26 short humorous poems about women, arranged alphabetically according to their first name.

Max, de Heldige Hond
Between 29 January and 16 April 2013 Matthysen drew a short-lived absurd gag comic, 'Max, de Heldige Hond' (2013) for the magazine Humo. The gags revolved around the heroic adventures of a blue dog who constantly liked to take a shit. He always came across some bizarre problem to which he found the perfect solution. The feature remained almost unnoticed by most Humo readers since it was printed on the penultimate page of each issue.

Max de Heldige Hond by Hugo Matthysen
'Max, De Heldige Hond', Humo #3780. 12 January 2013. 

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