I am so, but so happy to present you today’s Pardon My French. Because it’s really been a big moment for me, meeting Gad Elmaleh. Not for the celebrity part of it (for those who don’t know him, Gad is a superstar in Europe and Canada and Morocco and like, probably a million other countries)(like can’t walk on the street without having paparazzi at after him)(well just like me, you know) but because he’s probably the comedian who made me laugh the most, and that touched me the most, ever. I always thought it was because of our Moroccan sense of humor, but it’s more than that – there is real humanity and universality in Gad’s work.
And that’s what’s fascinating today. He let go of the comfort of his culture to come experience American comedy, stand up. He plays every evening, in English, at Joe’s Pub, a beautiful small room, far from the stadiums where he performs in France. Ali, our common friend, introduced us, and I immediately thought he would be amazing for this episode. Ali is French too and he transcends his culture everyday by being the coolest host of the coolest restaurant in New York, Sant Ambroeus. With his wit, his charm and his taste, he made of that restaurant a real hub where artists, businessmen, fashion people meet. There is an equalizing quality to it that makes meeting people possible and easy. When you’re there, no matter who you are, you chill and you get curious about other people.
So, I could go on for hours about these two wonderful, smart and hilarious men, but I’m going to let you listen to this conversation about life in New York, women and comedy. And yes, I totally agree with you. I’m a lucky woman.
On the pressure of fame and embracing taking a break
Gad: I really like being anonymous. What I discovered is that being anonymous helps me to create because I am not stopped in my thoughts, in my creativity. I can walk for hours and think about my stuff and my new material. It’s very enjoyable. I love it. I love what my French fans gave me and I built my career in France and I am really thankful but today I love walking down the street and not being recognized. And going to my show and not knowing who is going to be there. I really love it!
On the perks of being French in New York City
Ali: You come to New York and you are part of it right away. And being French is like a strength here – it’s a great thing to be French here. When you move here people are excited about you being here; asking questions about your culture and they are not judging you because you are different.
On having a job that doesn’t feel like a job
Ali: I don’t have a job. People come to my house and I think that’s why people love it! Yeah, to me it’s not a job and that’s why I take pleasure in it! I didn’t learn my job, my mom taught me how to do my job.
Gad: Hospitality is a good word to describe Ali’s business because that’s exactly what you feel when you go there [Sant Ambroeus]. You don’t feel like you are at a restaurant.
Garance: That’s exactly how you feel when you were talking about moving to New York, that is exactly the atmosphere you have created and you really do that thing where you connect people and to me your job is to connect people and it goes way beyond food and drinks.
On the real reason Garance’s images are bright!!!
Gad: Why is everything so bright all the time? And white? I like it but you know that it’s all bright right?
Garance: I ask my self this question and I do think it’s because I was born in Corsica and its a place that is filled with a lot of light. The sea, the reflection from the sea and that is always what I want. I think it’s that because I am always looking for the light!
On dating and convincing Gad to join tinder
Gad: I can not join tinder because they will not think it’s me!
Garance: We should try this as an experiment
Gad: No, if I go on tinder 99% of American’s will have no idea who I am but for the others they will know and it will be fake. But maybe I should try it!
Ali: You should try to see how people reach to see if they care about the fame or not.
Garance: You will know so quickly if someone is into you for the fame and the money, right?
Gad: You know, it would be a great documentary like a quest, searching for being loved for who you are with this outfit. (Gad came straight from the gym to the Podcast. Our bad : we didn’t make it super clear it was going to be photographed. And we think he looks super awesome in sweatpants!) This hat. This sweatpants outfit. Your profile picture would be you when you first wake up and you go workout and wear this outfit.
On the small details that can break men
Gad: There’s a lot of pressure on style for women in America and because of that there can be overdressing and overdoing it on the hair.
Garance: And how do you feel about that?
Gad: I am very embarrassed. I do not like it at all. If I date a girl and we go on a rendezvous and she shows up all groomed it’s really embarrassing. And I walk in like this, with my sweatpants. [Laughs] No, its too much. It’s not only American girls though.
Garance: But a French girl will never come by over dressed. She will show you that she doesn’t care by coming with her hair undone.
Gad: Yes, but there will always be a small detail that will break you.
[listen to the podcast if you want to know the details that break him!]
On needing to invent a perfume detector
Garance: What is your turn offs?
Ali: Strong perfume
Gad: Okay, phew, thank you! Okay, that is terrible. You know what, I dated a girl and I think she was the most beautiful girl I have ever talked to in my life. In London. A model. But, she put perfume in her hair. But not the perfume where you are like, oh what is going on, no a perfume that my aunt in Marrakech wore that reminds me of when I was a kid, my big, fat aunt who was screaming at us as kids. So it’s impossible. I can not! There should be something to measure how much perfume you have on before you show up. A device, perfume detector, because it’s too much!
Special thanks to Django at The Roxy Hotel!
Gad Elmaleh will be performing at Joe’s Pub until June 2016. For more details on upcoming shows, please visit his site.
Pardon My French is sponsored by The Outnet, one of my favorite places to shop for my favorite designers at a fraction of the price. Super happy for their support, which makes this podcast possible. Check out the Hidden Gems items on The Outnet website and app to receive 15% off using the code: GDHIDDENGEMS valid from today until Saturday, April 2nd at midnight.