Elmaleh in 2007
|Residence||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Partner(s)||Anne Brochet (1998–2002)|
Marie Drucker (2009–2010)
Charlotte Casiraghi (2011–2015)
Gad Elmaleh (French pronunciation: [ɡad‿ɛlmalɛ]; born 19 April 1971) is a French stand-up comedian and actor who achieved notoriety in France and French Canada. He is a naturalized French and Canadian citizen most famous in the French world and most recently in the US. He has starred in several feature films, including Coco, Priceless, La Doublure and Midnight in Paris. He has been voted the funniest person in France and was named knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Minister of Culture; he was also named knight of the National Order of Quebec. He is often referred to as the "Seinfeld of France." In 2015 and 2018, Elmaleh did national comedy tours across the United States. In 2019 he released the Netflix series Huge in France.
Elmaleh was born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco. Being a Moroccan Jew, Elmaleh was brought up in a culturally diverse environment, speaking Arabic, Hebrew, English and French. As a child he would introduce his father, a mime, with a placard. His brother, Arié, is an actor and singer, and his sister, Judith, is actress and stage director.
He studied at École Maïmonide, in Montreal, and Lycée Lyautey in Casablanca. He later studied political science at University of Montreal in Montreal for four years but did not graduate. In 1992, Elmaleh moved to Paris to study drama at Cours Florent under the tutelage of Isabelle Nanty.
Elmaleh's first one-man show Décalages, performed at the "Palais des glaces" in 1997, was autobiographical. In the show he retraces his journey beginning with his departure from Morocco after high school, continuing with his studies in Montreal and finishing in France where he studied drama at Cours Florent. His fame further increased with the success of his second one-man show, La Vie Normale which was his first time performing at the Olympia as well his first show of more than two hours. The show was released on DVD on January 23, 2001.
In contrast to his first two one-man shows, his L’autre c’est moi (2005) contains more improvisation and interaction with the public. He has been credited with bringing the American stand-up style to France and using it in his one-man shows. He came back to the stage with L'autre, c'est moi in September 2006 in Canada (Montreal) and in the U.S. (in Broadway, at the Beacon Theater in front of 3000 spectators); it was performed also in Casablanca, Morocco. Between April and August 2007 he played his successful show in France, Belgium, and Switzerland. The show attracted over 300,000 spectators. The show was later released on DVD and sold 1,500,000 copies.
On January 6, 2007, he was voted the "funniest man of the year" by TF1 viewers from a choice of 50 comedians. On 15 July 2007, Elmaleh premiered his fifth one-man show, Papa est en haut, in Montreal as part of the Just for Laughs festival. That year he sold out seven consecutive weeks at the iconic Olympia theater in Paris, a new record. After that Gad performed for another seven sold out weeks at Le Palais des Sports. In total, one million tickets were sold to this show.
His sixth standup show was Sans Tambour (Drumless, "sans tambour ni trompette" (bugleless) = meaning making a big entrance unannounced).
In 2016, he appeared with Kev Adams in the M6 comedy special Tout est Possible. During the show, the two comedians performed a 10-minute sketch where they played Chinese men. The sketch was criticized for being racist and some publications dubbed it yellowface.
Elmaleh has performed in a mix of French and Arabic in Morocco and included some Hebrew in shows in Israel. Elmaleh is often called the "Seinfeld of France," a label he called "flattering" and understandable, given that both he and Seinfeld are inspired to do comedy based on "everyday life." Seinfeld dismissed it as silly and joked, according to Elmaleh, "He's not that funny."
Move to America
In 2015 Elmaleh began an American tour entitled "Oh My Gad" and moved to New York City. He first appeared in Joe's Pub in December following multiple workout shows in the fall. While Elmaleh speaks English fluently, he works with an English teacher to write his jokes while appreciating the nuances of the English language. One difference between his French shows and his English shows is that his English shows include no riffing, everything is scripted. In September 2016, an episode of This American Life highlighting challenging transitions included a segment about Elmaleh and his transition to American comedy.
On the December 15, 2016 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Elmaleh appeared as the show's stand-up act.
In May 2017 Elmaleh performed pro bono for a local Chabad-Lubavitch center in Côte-Saint-Luc. The director's father ran a Jewish summer camp and other Jewish activities in Elmaleh's hometown of Casablanca and the appearance was dedicated to him.
Elmaleh's first contact with cinema was the full-length film, Salut cousin ! by Merzak Allouache. He later appeared in L'homme est une femme comme les autres and Train de Vie. In 2000 he played the role of "Dov", the seducer in La Vérité si je mens ! 2. The character of "Chouchou" in La Vie Normale was reproduced in the comedy Chouchou (2002), directed by Merzak Allouache and also starring Alain Chabat; the film drew large audiences.. He then did his debut as a singer in "it's kiz my life", a popular song in a non-existing language. The music video was directed by J.G Biggs and shot in the famous Parisian Hôtel Costes.
He returned to film in 2004 when he starred in the 2004 film Olé! with Gérard Depardieu. In 2005, he starred as François Pignon in La Doublure (English title "The Valet"), by Francis Veber. In 2006, he appeared opposite Audrey Tautou in Priceless (French title "Hors de prix"), by Pierre Salvadori.
In 2009, he released the film, Coco, which he directed, wrote and starred in. It opened number one in France, Belgium and Switzerland. In 2010 he appeared in a dramatic role in Roselyne Bosch's The Round Up, which is based on the events surrounding the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup.
In 2011, he had a small role in Woody Allen's Paris-set feature, Midnight in Paris. He also appeared in the motion capture film The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, alongside Jamie Bell. The film, which was directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson, was released on 26 October 2011 in Belgium and on 23 December 2011 in the United States. The same year, he also starred in Jack & Jill as Al Pacino's French cook. In 2012, he had a small role in The Dictator. In 2019 he has a Netflix series, Huge in France, exposing him to a wider American audience. The satiric series includes a cameo by Jerry Seinfeld.
In 2019, the Youtube channel CopyComic showed that some Gad Elmaleh's jokes of past shows shared very similar traits with other American or French stand-up comedian shows. Gad Elmaleh sued the Youtube channel to ask for the videos to be removed on copyright infringement grounds.
Elmaleh lived with French actress Anne Brochet from 1998 to 2002. They have one son, Noé, together. The story of their relationship and breakup was told in Brochet's book Trajet d'une amoureuse éconduite.
From 2009 to 2010, his partner was the French journalist Marie Drucker.
In 2004, Elmaleh received an award for the best one man show from SACEM in France. In 2006 he received a Crystal Globes Award. by the French Press Association, for best one man show for La Vie Normale.
- Les soeurs d'Hamlet (1996), plays the role of Hamlet
- XXL (1997) with Catherine Jacob, Michel Boujenah, Gérard Depardieu
- Salut cousin ! (1997), plays the role of Allilou
- Vive la République ! (1997)
- Man Is a Woman (1998) with Antoine de Caunes, Elsa Zylberstein
- Train of Life (1998) with Lionel Abelanski, Rufus
- On fait comme on a dit (1999)
- Deuxième vie (2000), plays the role of Lionel
- Doctor Dolittle 2 (2000), French voice of Archie
- Les Gens en maillot de bain ne sont pas (forcément) superficiels (2001), plays the role of Jimmy
- La Vérité si je mens! 2 (2001) with Richard Anconina, José Garcia, Bruno Solo, Gilbert Melki
- A+ Pollux (2002) with Cécile De France
- Chouchou (2003) with Alain Chabat, also screenwriter
- Les 11 commandements (2004) with Michaël Youn
- Ole! with Gérard Depardieu (2005)
- The Valet with Alice Taglioni, Daniel Auteuil, Dany Boon, Virginie Ledoyen, Kristin Scott Thomas (2005)
- Priceless (2006) with Audrey Tautou
- Comme ton père (2007) with Richard Berry
- Coco (2009), also director and screenwriter
- Despicable Me (2010), French voice of Gru
- La Rafle (2010) with Mélanie Laurent, Jean Reno
- Midnight in Paris (2011)
- A Monster in Paris (2011), French and original voice of Raoul
- The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)
- Jack & Jill (2011), cameo
- Happiness Never Comes Alone (2012)
- Le Capital (2012) with Gabriel Byrne
- Les seigneurs (2012) with José Garcia, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Joey Starr
- The Dictator (2012), cameo
- Mood Indigo (2013)
- Despicable Me 2 (2013), French voice of Gru
- The Midnight Orchestra, (2014)
- Pattaya, (2016)
- Welcome to America (Short), (2017)
- Loue-moi!, (2017)
- Huge in France (2019), TV series by Netflix
|Year||Title||Credited to||Peak positions|
|2002||"It's Kyz My Life"||Gad Elmaleh feat. Bratisla Boys||27||–|
|2015||"Danse de la joie (Lalala)"||Gad Elmaleh & LiMa Project||52||46|
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