Montreal’s Just for Laughs festival fundraising for comedian’s legal fees
Elmaleh said the collaboration began about 10 years ago, when the two met in France while Seinfeld was promoting Bee Movie.
“I’ve always been a very, very big fan of his work. If I had to mention one name, even if I didn’t know him back in the day, it was always Jerry Seinfeld,” he told Global News.
“I always felt that we had something in common. I don’t know what. It could sound pretentious because I was nothing back then, but I could feel some connection.”
The 46-year-old was born and raised in Casablanca, MA, and moved to Montreal to study political science at Université de Montréal in 1988 before relocating to Paris to study drama.
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“I have a very strong relationship and history with this city because I lived here,” Elmaleh said, adding he felt it was the ideal spot to do the special with Seinfeld.
“I think Montreal is really the right place, also for both of our different cultures and the audience, and we’re going to [bring] a lot of people together that night.”
Elmaleh is already extremely well-known in the French-speaking world and has started branching out into the English market.
Most recently, he played Detective Tisserant in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, as well as Omar ben Salaad in The Adventures of Tintin.
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Elmaleh has also been featured on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and has performed standup on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
This week, the multilingual comedian (he speaks English, French, Moroccan Arabic and Hebrew) was honoured with the Order of Quebec from Premier Philippe Couillard.
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“I was very proud for my parents. They called me — my mum was crying because it’s something for the family,” he told Global News.
“I’m very family-oriented and those values are so important for me. Some people could say, ‘Oh, medal, we don’t care about this.’ No, we care. It’s great.”
In his acceptance speech at the National Assembly in Quebec City, Elmaleh took the opportunity to send some inspiration to those in his home country.
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“I sent a message to all the kids in Morocco and I said, anything is possible if you dream of something and you want to pursue and achieve — it’s going to happen,” he said.
“I’ve always believed in that.”
For anyone hoping the the will stage an episode of Seinfeld, Elmaleh says they’ve got something else in store for the audience.
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“No episode of Seinfeld,” he said laughing.
“No props, no animals, no magic tricks. Just standup from two comedians who are so connected and want to share this moment between them and the crowd.”
The English-language show takes place July 26, 2017 at the Bell Centre.
The 35th edition of the Just For Laughs festival runs from July 12 to 31.