Why you should care
Because when was the last time a Jewish-Moroccan French comic almost killed you … via death by laughter?
Comic transplants are always a mixed bag.
Were we laughing at or with Yakov Smirnoff’s Latka Gravas-esque take on social dislocation? And did we ever really figure out why the hell we were laughing at (or with) Roberto Benigni to begin with?
If you’re still stumbling through an answer, there’s a strong possibility that you’re going to have to ease up slowly on our pick for new comedic genius since the next time you laugh this hard at a Jewish-Moroccan French comic will probably be the first time. And that first time will likely be courtesy of a one Mr. Gad Elmaleh.
First coming to our attention voicing the animated Jerry Seinfeld’s character in the Bee Movie franchise, Elmaleh’s actually been called “the French Jerry Seinfeld.” With a straight face.
But getting a gander at his stand-up, IN French, you get it immediately. The rhythm, the syntactical stutter. Seinfeld-esque. Add this to the over-30-flick film career, films with Woody Allen, Al Pacino, a comic song, a mastery of Arabic, Hebrew, French and English and a marriage to (and a son with) Charlotte Casiraghi, daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco, and you have a life that thus far could handily be described as The Shit.
Television composer, Parisian and member of the just-now named Gad Squad, Philippe Thiphaine said it best when he said in response to a query about Elmaleh, ”He’s smart and funny in a country that’s typically more appreciated goofy and funny.” (Sorry, Mr. Lewis).
But his best and most recent thing of all and the one that’s got us buzzing? His 17-minute bow in Seinfeld’s webbed Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. Genius and well worth the ride.