How Jerry Seinfeld Plans to Poke Fun at the French (Q&A)
Jerry Seinfeld will put some ooh la la in his yada yada yada when the comedian heads to Paris, France for a live show on Sunday, Sept. 18.
Seinfeld will roll in for a casual stand-up performance at La Nouvelle Eve, an old Cabaret and Music Hall theater in Paris’ Montmartre neighborhood.
Actor Gad Elmaleh, a confessed lifetime fan of Seinfeld, is bringing the comedian across the Atlantic for his first show in France. Elmaleh voiced Seinfeld’s role in the French version of Bee Movie and now has Paris buzzing with the news of his American counterpart’s visit.
Seinfeld will also be taking advantage of the city of love with a surprise trip for his wife Jessica to celebrate her birthday.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Seinfeld on his way across the Atlantic.
The Hollywood Reporter: Bonjour, Jerry. So what brings you to Paris?
Jerry Seinfeld: The endless search for an exciting comedy experience.
THR: And you think you’ll find that in France?
Seinfeld: Well, it will certainly be different. I feel ready or something like this. I did a tour of some European markets this summer in June – London, Oslo and Stockholm – and I found each one so interesting and exciting. I know English isn’t one of the big languages spoken in France, so I’m still curious about who would come and what their reaction would be.
THR: Do you speak French?
Seinfeld: No -- just hello and goodbye. I’m interested in Nice and Monaco too – I’m just enjoying exploring the world. I didn’t realize that my TV show would work so well to introduce me to some of these places. Paris is a very unique challenge. I’ll dip my toes in the water and see what happens. If there is an interest and audiences are receptive, then maybe I’ll come back.
THR: Will you change your show at all for the Paris audience?
Seinfeld: Wherever I go, every single town I visit, I see something in that town that I visit that I talk about on stage. There will definitely be things relevant to Paris in the show.
THR: Will you be making fun of the French at all? Any Dominique Strauss-Kahn jokes ready to go?
Seinfeld: That area might be too well trod for me. As for the French, of course, I make fun of everything.
THR: Even a people as, to say it nicely, proud as the French?
Seinfeld: You said it, not me. We’re all proud, we’re all too proud in fact. That’s one of the reasons we need comedians.
THR: Do you get nervous before a performance?
Seinfeld: No, but this one will be fun because it’s so different and weird. I like doing shows in weird situations. I feel like this is exciting, fresh ground – An English speaking American comedian doing a show in Paris. I don’t get nervous in general. This is my way of life.
THR: How do you prepare for a live performance?
Seinfeld: I take a shower and get dressed
THR: A shower? You’re already way ahead of the French. I heard you wanted to surprise your wife with a trip to Paris, what was the occasion and did you manage to keep the secret?
Seinfeld: My wife doesn’t know we’re going to Paris. Her birthday is this week and I’m bringing her as part of a surprise.
THR: Will you and Jessica be having dinner with Nick and Carla?
Seinfeld: No. I don’t feel so cozy with Sarkozy.
THR: What are your plans while in Paris?
Seinfeld: To eat and shop and walk.
THR: Do you know Paris well?
Seinfeld: Yes - I think it’s the greatest place in the world. I’m very familiar with the culture.
THR: Can you give us a sneak preview of your show?
Seinfeld: Comedy works best as a spoken word not as a written word since you don’t hear the voice. I’ve been talking lately about how fathers dress in the clothing style of the last good year of their lives, which is usually the year before they got married. We never change that style until we’re dead. You can always tell the year a man got married because he’s wearing the clothes from that year.
THR: French comedian Gad Elmaleh is bringing you over here. How did that come about?
Seinfeld: I met Gad in Paris four years ago when I was there for Bee Movie and we became friends. He’s been pushing me to come to Paris ever since to do a show. After Europe this summer, I thought: ‘This is fun. Let’s go further and see what happens.” Gad will be with me during the show. He won’t perform, but he’ll be there and maybe he’ll come on stage to introduce me.
THR: Gad Elmaleh – you might say he’s the Jerry Seinfeld of France. Well, until Jerry Seinfeld comes to France.
Seinfeld: Right. Then he’ll be out of a job.