French Comedian Gad Elmaleh Is Ready To Make Us Laugh — In English

French Comedian Gad Elmaleh recently moved to the U.S. to transition to English-language comedy, which he calls his "mistress."
Posted at 9:18 AM, May 22, 2017

Gad Elmaleh has been a huge star in the French-speaking world for more than 20 years. He is considered a pioneer of stand-up comedy in France, and he's acted in dozens of movies.   

"People tell me, 'You know what I love about your comedy? It's clean.' And it's not a compliment for me," Elmaleh said. "I like people who know how to swear and curse. But they have to do it very, very good. When you're going to say f---, d--- and p----, you've got to be very good at it."

Elmaleh said his comedy is "mostly is based on observational stuff" and adds he's "obsessed with the little things of every day life."

Because of his success in Europe, Elmaleh said he's been looking for a new challenge.

"This challenge is not only about America, but I wanted to do something big and different that's going to really take balls," Elmaleh said.

Elmaleh says he needed a "mistress": for him, that's English-language comedy.

The Moroccan-born comedian has spoken at length about his transition from being a well-known comedic fixture overseas to being a newcomer in the U.S.

"Sometimes my publicist calls me here in the U.S. and says, 'You're not going on that talk show. They don't want you,'" Elmalah said. "That's OK. Next time. In France, everything is easy, so I can appreciate more what I have there."

Elmaleh has earned the title as the "French Jerry Seinfeld" because of their similar comedic styles and because Elmaleh voiced the French version of Jerry Seinfeld's character Barry B. Benson in the 2007 animated film "Bee Movie."

Elmaleh's recent stops at American comedy clubs is in preparation for a Netflix special set to film in November.

And there's another milestone for the comedian down the road. On July 26, he'll share the stage with Jerry Seinfeld and will do his set in English in front of thousands of people at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

"To do this show with Jerry is ... wow. It's great," Elmaleh said. "We're friends. We love each other. I mean, I love him. ... It's very helpful to have a role model, especially when you move here to America."

"When I make Americans laugh with my jokes and they have no idea who I am," Elmaleh explained, "it's like a girl who has no idea who I am, somewhere in the world, falls in love with me. And I'm the happiest man."