Several famous comedians have come forward saying Elmaleh plagiarized their work.
Rabat – French-Moroccan comedian Gad Elmaleh has again been accused of plagiarism, this time with other comedians coming forward.
After YouTube channel CopyComic, which exposes plagiarism, targeted Elmaleh multiple times this year, the comedian defended himself on TV channel Europe 1 on July 9. “I started my career in 1995 with a sketch called” Monsieur Seguin’s Goat,” it was a parody. I do not know who wrote it (laughs) but it was my vision,” the comedian said.
Just two days after Elmaleh’s TV appearance to defend himself, on Thursday, July 11, French paper “Society” published a possibly damning article revealing the full extent of his supposed plagiarism.
Taking a different approach from CopyComic, who plays Elmaleh’s sketches side by side with the original version, Society sought the testimonies of other comedians whose work Elmaleh may have pilfered.
One of these comedians, who chose to remain anonymous and is described by Society as a “renowned humorist,” said that he already had seen two of his sketches stolen by Elmaleh, before a third was revealed by CopyComic.
He had let the first two pass, but three was too much, said the anonymous comedian. “It really hurts the job. It’s something serious, humor.”
One of Elmaleh’s most famous characters, “The Blonde,” allegedly plagiarised
Marseille-based comedian Kamel Bennafla also came forward to claim that one of Elmaleh’s most famous skit characters, “The Blonde,” a goody-two-shoes who does everything right, was actually his idea.
Bennafla alleges that two met at the Festival d’Avignon in the late 1990s when he was “already a star” and Elmaleh “was still a young comedian.” The two then appeared together on the radio show Europe 2 Avignon, where Bennafla told the story of “a nice blond kid, who does everything well and ridicules others” as part of a skit.
Bennafla alleges that after the show, Elmaleh asked him for the tape so he could use it “to practice his budding comedy skills.”
“Now, when I perform the sketch I thought of a decade ago, people tell me Elmaleh invented it first. I immediately understood how this happened,” said Bennafla.
He alleges he then tried to get the tape from the Europe 2 Avignon radio host as proof, but the host refused, not wanting to butt heads with Elmaleh, who is now a comedy giant with his own netflix show.
Possible plagiarism attempt thwarted by Quebecois comedian
Another comedian, this time a Quebecois named Mike Ward, told Society that Elmaleh was planning on plagiarizing him too.
Ward alleges that after he performed alongside Elmaleh at 2015 Hamac Festival in Paris, the French-Moroccan comedian approached him backstage. “He asked me if I performed often in Paris, and I said no. He then asked me if my material was known in France,” said Ward.
“I told him right there, that if he stole from me, I would destroy him, and I would humiliate him publicly. It put a huge discomfort backstage. In other words, he never dared to steal my jokes.”
Could this dampen his skyrocketing career?
Elmaleh was born in Casablanca to a Jewish family and attended high school in Quebec. At the age of 21, Elmaleh moved to Paris to pursue his dream of acting. The 47-year-old comedian performed comedy in France for over 23 years and gained wide fame there.
The stand-up comedian and actor has starred in several feature films, including “Coco” (2008), “Priceless” (2006), and “La Doublure” (2005). He was voted the “funniest person” in France, and France’s Minister of Culture named him Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. Elmaleh also became a Knight of the National Order of Quebec.
The French-Moroccan’s career skyrocketed even further in recent years, with his own Netflix original show, “Huge in France,” having premiered in April.
Elmaleh is yet to respond publicly to the damning article, and it remains to be seen whether the allegations will have a longstanding effect on his career.