Comedian Gad Elmaleh returns to Quebec four years after controversy

Comedian Gad Elmaleh returns to Quebec four years after controversy

Four years after being accused of plagiarizing comedians including Louis-José Houde and Martin Petit, Gad Elmaleh will return to Quebec on Sunday. He will conclude the tour. Also, their sixth show, in front of a Bell Center that has been sold out for months. “It moves me a lot,” says the popular comedian in an exclusive interview with the Trunk.

Gad Elmaleh had not addressed either the Quebec public or the local media since this controversy four years ago. However, this joke plagiarism case, revealed by the YouTube channel CopyComic, had made a lot of noise at home.

Since then, the comedian has acknowledged, in the French media, having made “loans” to his associates, who are joined by Martin Matte and Patrick Huard. “I wouldn’t do it again, but I don’t regret it because I’ve never been in a malicious move,” he told the newspaper. the parisian in the fall of 2019.

What Gad Elmaleh regrets is having remained silent here during these months of controversy, admitting that he should have “been present in the dialogue” and that he could have “handled things with less pride, to be completely honest,” he told the outlet. Trunk from Paris, in a virtual interview.

“One of my mistakes is that I should have had a dialogue with Quebecers earlier, I should have shared my feelings earlier, expressed my version of events with more humility,” specifies the humorist, who has made a career throughout the Francophonie and the United States.

However, the 51-year-old comedian judges that the crisis has acquired a “disproportionate magnitude” in Quebec. Several comedians were particularly virulent with him, including Mike Ward.

“I found the attacks to be so outrageous,” he recalls. But mostly, it was very, very violent. My family in Quebec called me to tell me: you must have done something very serious, it can’t be just that. […] What surprised me was that he didn’t stop. It was over and over again, and above all, there was no dialogue possible.

Redirect your creativity

“The important thing now is what I got out of it,” says Gad Elmaleh today, who is able to admit, four years later, that the crisis was good. “Those shots brought me a lot,” he said.

It was after the controversy that Gad Elmaleh gave birth to his sixth show, By the waythe one man show “the most intimate” of his career. She also just made her second movie, in which she plays the lead role. Entitled stay a little, the feature film, which will be released soon in Quebec, recounts his religious identity crisis. These “very personal” projects take him out of his “comfort zone”.

“Somehow, I wonder if this episode [d’accusations de plagiat] it didn’t shake my creativity and it didn’t force me to do things so unique that I couldn’t compare myself to anyone. What happens in the show, when I analyze each word, are situations that I have only experienced and that we cannot imagine being borrowed. Unconsciously, it pushed me to redefine myself, to be unique, to be bold in my creativity. I won’t go so far as to thank you. [ceux qui l’ont dénoncé], but in any case, in the end, it was beneficial!” Analyze with a laugh.

The public at the meeting

Asked if, in the face of the media storm, he thought he had to give up his career in Quebec, Gad Elmaleh, whose international career quickly took off, replied that he was afraid of public “displeasure”.

But the Quebec public has spoken: without any promotion, tickets to the Bell Center sold like hot cakes. “When my producer told me that the tickets were sold out, that was the best answer I could hear. I am very grateful. […] I think the public decides. And in that moment of fragility, I didn’t have the response from the public, I was questioning, I just had doubts. But today, the public’s enthusiasm is a caress.

“And the Bell Center is emblematic for me,” he adds. I saw stars there that I admired. I started my career in Montreal on December 10, 1994 at the Just for Laughs Museum cabaret in front of 20 people. And come back 27 years later, sold out at the Bell Centre, it’s a source of pride and great, great joy.”

the best thing is just to laugh

Without minimizing what he’s done in the past, Gad Elmaleh tackles plagiarism accusations head-on in this show at the Bell Center on Sunday night. There was no way he was avoiding the subject.

“I will be happy to talk about it, with great joy and enthusiasm, he insists, laughing. I don’t do it much at shows anymore, but over there in Quebec I’m going to have fun because it made such an impression and it was very destabilizing. And I even do it for my personal pleasure!”

In addition to this controversial topic, Gad Elmaleh goes into depth on the issues of notoriety, his 51-year-old celibacy, his American adventure, and religion. Following the end of his tour, he will return to the establishment on the club comedy circuit for a new show. And, of course, he wants to continue maintaining that precious bond with the Quebecois.

“I can’t wait to get to Saturday, with all that that implies, I really want to sit down and talk to the public.”


“I am so moved to meet the Quebec public. »

“The Bell Center is emblematic for me. I saw stars there that I admired. I started my career in Montreal on December 10, 1994 at the Cabaret du Musée Juste pour rire in front of 20 people. And come back 27 years later, sold out at the Bell Centre, it’s a source of pride and great, great joy. »

“It’s easier to talk about it in hindsight. I would have loved to have had the same serenity four years ago. It acquired a magnitude that I consider disproportionate. »

“I’m really looking forward to Saturday, with all that that entails, I’m really looking forward to sitting down and talking to the crowd. »

“It is my most intimate show in the way I approach the issues. I put myself in the position of a bitch, a guy who is struggling, for whom it is difficult. »

– Gad Elmaleh

Gad Elmaleh will perform on Sunday at the Bell Center.

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