Gad Elmaleh

Jerry Seinfeld Coco (2009 film) Priceless (2006 film)
Gad Elmaleh
ELMALEH Gad-24x30-2007.jpg
Elmaleh in 2007
Born (1971-04-19) 19 April 1971 (age 49)
NationalityMoroccan, Canadian
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1994–present
Partner(s)Anne Brochet (1998–2002)
Marie Drucker (2009–2010)
Charlotte Casiraghi (2011–2015)
Parent(s)David and Régine Elmaleh

Gad Elmaleh (Arabic: جاد المالح‎ Gād el-Māleḥ; born 19 April 1971) is a French-Moroccan stand-up comedian and actor who achieved notoriety in France, Morocco and United States. He is most famous in the French-speaking world and more recently in the United States.[1]

He has starred in several feature films, including Coco, Priceless, La Doublure and Midnight in Paris. Voted the funniest person in France, he 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. Elmaleh 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.

Early years

Elmaleh was born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco. Being a Moroccan Jew,[2] Elmaleh was brought up in a culturally diverse environment, speaking Arabic, Hebrew, English and French.[3][4] As a child he would introduce his father, a mime, with a placard.[5] His brother, Arié, is an actor and singer, and his sister, Judith, is an actress and stage director.

His family immigrated from Morocco to Canada when Elmaleh was 11. He studied at École Maïmonide, and Lycée Lyautey[6] in Casablanca. He later studied political science at a university in Montreal (it is unclear whether at the University of Montreal or McGill University, as both institutions' records reflect his attendance) for four years but did not graduate. In 1992, Elmaleh moved to Paris to study drama at Cours Florent[6] under the tutelage of Isabelle Nanty.[6][7]

At the Olympia



Elmaleh's first one-man show Décalages, performed at the "Palais des glaces" in 1997, was autobiographical.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.

In 2013, he appeared on Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.[12]

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.[13][14]

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"[15] and understandable, given that both he and Seinfeld are inspired to do comedy based on "everyday life."[15] Seinfeld dismissed it as silly[12] and joked, according to Elmaleh, "He's not that funny."[15]

Move to America

Elmaleh at the Deauville American Film Festival in 2010

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.[12] In September 2016, an episode of This American Life highlighting challenging transitions included a segment about Elmaleh and his transition to American comedy.[10]

On the December 15, 2016 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Elmaleh appeared as the show's stand-up act.

Elmaleh's French stand-up special Gad Gone Wild was filmed in Montreal, Canada and was released on Netflix on 24 January 2017. An English language special was released in March 2018.[16]

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.[17]


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.[citation needed]. 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.

Elmaleh signing autographs in 2007

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.

He played the voice of Barry B. Benson in the French version of the 2007 film Bee Movie, Drôle d’Abeille.[18] There he met Jerry Seinfeld and became friends with him.[11]

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.[18]

In 2011, he had a small role in Woody Allen's Paris-set feature, Midnight in Paris.[19] 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.

Plagiarism controversy

On January 28, 2019, the YouTube channel CopyComic released a video showing various stand-up comedians performing several years prior. In the video, the viewers could also watch Gad Elmaleh perform the exact (some were slightly modified) same stand-up, but years after.

The scandal became even bigger in February when part 2 of the video showed evidence that Elmaleh stole most of the jokes he claimed being his.

In the summer of 2019, Gad Elmaleh was confronted by an artist about the theft of jokes, to which Elmaleh simply replied that he is the best in the world and only deserves the best jokes.

Gad Elmaleh sued the YouTube channel to ask for the videos to be removed on copyright infringement grounds, but lost and the videos can still be found on the website.[20][21]

Personal life

Elmaleh lived with French actress Anne Brochet from 1998 to 2002. They have one son, Noé,[22] 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.

He was in a relationship with Charlotte Casiraghi from December 2011 until June 2015.[23] Their son, Raphaël, was born on 17 December 2013.[24][25][26]


In 2006 Elmaleh was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.[27]

He was made a Member of the National Order of Quebec by Quebec premier Philippe Couillard in 2017.[28]


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.




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


  1. ^ "". Retrieved 2018-12-31. External link in |title= (help)
  2. ^ Jewish Journal: "Film fest gala a spicy melting pot for Sephardic Jews" By Danielle Berrin November 16, 2010
  3. ^ "Gad Elmaleh - Pandering to America Like a Presidential Candidate". The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (video). Comedy Central. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  4. ^ Henderson, Danielle. "How This French Comedian Is Living the American Dream". Esquire. Archived from the original on 8 February 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  5. ^ Collins, Lauren (26 October 2015). "Comédie française". New Yorker. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Biographie de Gad Elmaleh". L'internaute. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  7. ^ Brownstein, Bill (22 June 2016). "Just for Laughs: Gad Elmaleh happy to start from scratch in English". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  8. ^ Bigo, Camille (5 May 2017). "Gad Elmaleh partage une photo de jeunesse, clin d'oeil au Festival Juste pour rire". HuffPost. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  9. ^ Z, O. "La Vie Normale Gad Elmaleh". Le Monde. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Act One: Je Suis Ici Toute La Semaine". This American Life.
  11. ^ a b Blasberg, Derek (29 May 2017). "Happy Hour with Gad Elmaleh, the French-Moroccan Jerry Seinfeld". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Cazjowski, Elise (4 December 2015). "Gad Elmaleh: Talking Funny in French and English". New York Times. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  13. ^ Assouline, Gary (20 April 2018). "Gad Elmaleh re-launches controversy after W9 re-airs Chinese sketch with Kev Adams". Huffington Post (in French).
  14. ^ Cheylan, Anthony (22 December 2016). "Moi, Asiatique, j'ai mal devant le spectacle de Kev Adams et Gad Elmaleh". Clique (in French).
  15. ^ a b c "'Oh my Gad!' French comedian Gad Elmaleh on his American dream". YouTube. France 24 English. July 26, 2016.
  16. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (16 November 2016). "Gad Elmaleh's 'Gad Gone Wild' Goes To Netflix; English Comedy Special On Deck". Deadline. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  17. ^ Posner, Menachem (28 May 2017). "Gad Elmaleh's Best Act? Chabad Camp in Morocco, Summer of 1982". Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  18. ^ a b Ivry, Benjamin (May 27, 2009). "Gadding About". Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  19. ^ French comedians added to Woody Allen cast Hollywood Reporter. July 13, 2010
  20. ^ "Gad Elmaleh, de lancinantes accusations de plagiat". L'Express. 1 Feb 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Accusé de plagiat, Gad Elmaleh ne rigole plus". L'OBS. 20 Feb 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Who Is Gad Elmaleh?". February 19, 2009. Archived from the original on March 4, 2009.
  23. ^ "Gad Elmaleh Confirms Split from Charlotte Casiraghi". May 12, 2016.
  24. ^ Peter Mikelbank, Paul Chi (August 6, 2013). "Charlotte Casiraghi Is Engaged and Expecting". Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  25. ^ "Charlotte Casiraghi seen shopping for baby clothes". Hello! Magazine. August 5, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  26. ^ "Monaco : Charlotte Casiraghi et Gad Elmaleh prénomment leur fils Raphaël".
  27. ^ "Gad Elmaleh chevalier des Arts et Lettres". L'Obs. 23 March 2006. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  28. ^ "Gad Elmaleh et Philippe Couillard boivent de l'eau... et changent d'accent (VIDÉO)". HuffPost. 16 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  29. ^ Jay A. Fernandez, Borys Kit (January 27, 2009). "Daniel Craig to star in "Tintin"". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2009.
  30. ^ "Gad Elmaleh discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  31. ^ "Gad Elmaleh discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 July 2015.