Monday night saw the 27th edition of the annual "Nuit des Molières" – an evening recognizing excellence in French theatre, and it was attended by Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin.
However, the real head turner was Sébastien Thiéry, who entered the stage completely naked to address the minister. The camera didn't shy away from showing Thiéry in his birthday suit, with the full frontal nudity leaving the shocked minister hiding her face behind her hands.
But the scene, which France Info referred to as the most striking of the entire night, took an irony-laced turn for the serious as the actor took the chance to air his concerns about the lack of unemployment benefit (chomage) for playwrights in his industry – especially considering the fact that everyone else including the costume designers can benefit from it.
"Do you know madame minister that playwrights are the only ones in the profession not to have the right to receive unemployment benefit? Do you think that's fair?
"You can do theatre without a costume team or a costume, right?," the naked Thiéry joked. "But not without a playwright. It's discrimination."
Thiéry then asked: "Why this discrimination? Is it because we are physically ugly?"
He then stepped out from behind the lectern to show the minister his naked body, crown jewels and all. The audience howls with laughter and several wolf whistles can be heard. Pellerin herself tries hard not to look. (SEE LINK BELOW)
"Everyone in France thinks that playwrights earn a lot of money, and it's true for some of us in the private theatre," Thiéry continued.
"But by the end of the year when you've paid for private school tuition and a nanny for the kids, a holiday in Mauritius, and the cost of taking care of a mistress or two, then you're left totally bare…" he joked.
Thiéry, 45, was recently in a televised play that he penned called Deux hommes tout nus ("Two completely naked men"). It won no awards at Monday's ceremony.
Click here to see the full clip of Thiéry and the minister, though viewer discretion is advised.
Getting naked to make a point in France may have left Pellerin lost for words but she is not the only French culture minister to have been accosted by naked artists in the past.
In June last year, Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti was confronted by a human pyramid of partially clothed performers and a wall of fully naked ones. The protesters were angry over a proposed reform for how those in the arts industry are allowed access to benefits.