Gad Elmaleh has a fascinating story. He was born in Casablanca, went to college in Montreal, and then moved to France where he became a stand-up superstar. Three years ago, he moved from the place where he is most popular to America, where he was somewhat known but not a huge star. He was still learning English, and his goal was to get good enough to be able to do an hour in English. He accomplished that quickly, releasing his American Dream special on Netflix earlier this year.
This interview wasn’t meant to be a podcast episode. I spoke with Elmaleh a few weeks ago for The Boston Globe, since his The Dream Tour was headed here. But after we were done, I realized there was no fat on this. It was a good 45-minute conversation, with an amusing starting point and a definite closing point.
And we covered a wide range of topics. Sure, Elmaleh is selling out theaters all over the world, but what he really wants is his own talk show. We talked about the difficulties in trying to do stand-up in a language you are still learning, and Elmaleh says he’s only at about 80 percent in terms of being able to execute the ideas in his head. We also talked about what it means to be considered an “American style” comedian in France, and what the scene is like there. Plus, I learned he’s a drummer, which is a plus in my book. He is a delightful person to talk to, and I’m hoping I can catch up with him a bit down the road, when he feels he has finally “made it” in America, to see what his perspective is then.
This episode’s featured track is a collaboration between Robbie Fulks, who was a podcast guest on EP8, and Linda Gail Lewis. I got to see Fulks and Lewis live about a month ago in Boston, and it was pure joy. I’m going to be doing a full review of the album on the blog, but I’ll say here that Wild! Wild! Wild! is a treat. Fulks is a great foil for Lewis, and man do they have fun together onstage, and you can hear it in the studio, as well. There are some hardcore honky tonk songs, like “I Just Lived A Country Song,” jazzier numbers like “Your Red Wagon,” and ass-shaking, piano beating rock and roll, like this, the title track. When I spoke with Fulks and Lewis after the show, they both seemed amenable to collaborating again in the future. And I hope for all of our sakes they do.
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