To cheer herself up, sometimes Bambi likes to watch a funny short comedy clip on her phone before closing her eyes to sleep. Well, yesterday, she decided to watch “le cousin“, the first show of Mr. Gad El Maleh. She knows this show by heart, she repeats it with him (almost completely), and she systematically laughs each time.
OK, before telling you about le cousin, you may be wondering about this Mr. El Maleh. Who is he? For those of you who do not know him, he was born in Casablanca, Morocco (in 1971). He speaks Moroccan Arabic, Hebrew, French, and English. He studied for a few years in Casablanca at the Lycée Lyautey before moving to Montreal to study political science at McGill University where he lived for about 4 years. Following his journey in Canada, he moved to Paris where he studied drama.
Recently, Bambi discovered that this comedian is related (not by blood) to Dr. Gad Saad from Concordia University (the world is too small). Her good friend Katia, also from Montreal, knows him from school (he has always been a funny guy from his younger age, it seems).
Well, to come back to le cousin, this comedy show is moving for Bambi because it is about Québec and it reminds her of wonderful family time in Montreal! Nowadays, in our puritan times of political correctness, such cultural jokes would be sadly considered racist (what a stupid shame!)… but, mind you, racist to whom? To the French-Canadian accent Gad el Maleh is imitating or to the jokes about the Arab or Jew whom he is in real life or to Bambi who relates to all this :)? Needless to say that all the people Bambi knows adore him from her own family members to her friends!
To understand the context of the comedy show in question, one must go back to the Mirabel Airport, North of Montreal (preceding the Trudeau airport in Montreal). This is the airport where Québec immigrants used to land in the early 1990s. It is yellow (hence one joke about Canada being yellow and so beautiful :). It also had a section where families would be waving to you, from the second floor, behind a glass whilst you wait in the line-up to clear customs.
Bambi and her family used to spend much time at this airport, happily waiting for her father arriving from Beirut. They would be waving for him with smiles and balloons (like other families would be doing). This is why Mr. Gad El Maleh’s joke is too funny and yet so emotional.
Bambi will never forget her first impression of Canada on this June 17, 1990, upon their arrival to Mirabel Airport. She had the impression that the landing of their KLM plane, along with other airplanes at that airport, was FINAL (even for the crew members :)). This means no takeoff ever. What an odd (and silly) feeling. Perhaps because the trip was too long and the airport seemed to be in the middle of no where, so far away from Europe… and even further away from Beirut where they were torn from their loved ones the day before.
To come back to El Maleh’s comedy, one particularly funny scene in the show was when the Canadian custom agent opened his passport and described it on the phone to another colleague by saying: “It is written in Arabic and it opens upside down” 🙂 :)!!
Well, Bambi’s spouse attracted her attention that Lebanese passports do not open upside down like other passports from Arab countries. She forgot about that (a long time without a passport)! Maybe he is right because it is bilingual and it opens from its French side (written from left to right, contrary to Arabic). Still, the joke is hilarious even after decades :).
Well, this Gad El Maleh is talented. This comedy may have been his first ever. He was younger. Thus, more innocent or pure, so to speak. If you have time to kill and like to laugh in the language of Molière, see below!
Bambi got curious and googled him today to see how he sounds in English (he expanded his French career to the USA in the recent years). Well, he is funny too, as you can see below in the language of Shakespeare! The show is again short and it is called “Where is Brian”? It is a parody of how the people of France learn English.