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His alcoholism, his plagiarisms, the fear of no longer being loved and

In an interview with Télérama, Gad Elmaleh takes stock of his career, thirty years after his first scenes.

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His alcoholism, his plagiarisms, the fear of no longer being loved and

In an interview with Télérama, Gad Elmaleh takes stock of his career, thirty years after his first scenes. The comedian looks back on his new show, his Moroccan origins, his lack of self-confidence and the accusations of plagiarism which targeted him. It also evokes heavier subjects, tackling the war in Israel and its link with these emblematic faces of French cinema accused of rape. Depardieu, Polanski and Caubère, currently being prosecuted for rape.

Currently, the 52-year-old comedian is starring in a new show, simply titled Himself. A show created to entertain its audience, but also and above all, to take “an inventory” of its life. To see “where I am in my quest for meaning, in my fight against the ego,” explains Gad Elmaleh in the columns of Télérama. It was this “ego” that pushed him to go on stage. “I then needed to be known and recognized, to sign autographs. To be different, he admits. This desire for light guided even my love stories.” He came back. “Professionally, from now on, I just need the valve to click, to get to the next show,” says Gad Elmaleh.

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But this desire for recognition and success caused him harm. In 2019, he was accused of plagiarizing American comedians. He first denied it, before confessing. “It’s stupid, but at the time of the plagiarism, Instagram and YouTube didn’t exist. I should have assumed that I had happened to take jokes from Americans, he admits. Locked in my pride, I got into the game, I justified myself. I couldn't sleep at night. It was not the accusation that hurt me, but the fear that people would no longer love me.”

That didn't happen. The comedian has gone back on track, offering new shows. Today he returns with himself. Tomorrow he might achieve something else. But nothing is less certain. “When I quit drinking, I did a program called “Just for Today,” based on an Alcoholics Anonymous book that said: “If someone asks you if you have quit drinking, alcohol, just answer for today. In the end, it will last a lifetime,” explains Gad Elmaleh. Honestly, I don't know if I'll do another show. Or I'll play this one for the rest of my life, changing it every day."

Questioned by Yasmine Youssi, culture editor-in-chief of Télérama, the comedian also spoke on more controversial and heavier subjects, which affect him. He experiences the war in Israel “badly”. “But I don’t feel torn. People tell me that it must be difficult for me, because of my history. I tell them that it is difficult for the hostages and for the Palestinian people. For the Israeli people, too, who fear for their security, he explains. In France, the impact is significant, because the two communities are strongly represented, and this war raises questions ranging from the Shoah to colonization. I condemn loudly and angrily the attacks of October 7.”

Gad Elmaleh also spoke about his relationships with Depardieu, Polanski and Caubère, three emblematic faces of French cinema accused of rape. “These men were models for me that I idealized. I am very touched, listening to what these women are saying, because it takes a lot of courage to speak out, he explains. Those who committed abuses and crimes must and will answer for their actions.” Despite everything, the comedian distances himself, not wanting to add words to this “delicate subject”. “Don’t count on me to push anyone lower than they already are,” he says. It is not because we lynch someone that justice will be better served.”

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