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Just for Laughs: Seinfeld and Elmaleh are surreal — and a sure bet

Jerry Seinfeld and Gad Elmaleh performed at the Bell Centre Wednesday as part of the Just for Laughs comedy festival.

Here’s what our panel had to say:

Bill Brownstein: The Gazette columnist has been covering comedy fest since Mr. Methane let it rip all those eons ago.

Lucinda Chodan: Editor in chief, frequent JFL attendee, Seinfeld fan since The Baby Shower in Season 2.

Kevin Tierney: Gazette columnist grew up wanting to be Lenny Bruce. It didn’t work. Instead, his parents whacked him a lot for swearing.


BB: The biggest anglo comedy star in the world and the biggest franco comedy star in the world teamed up for some high schticking at the home of the Habs for JFL 35’s premier event. Surreal and at times hysterical. And Seinfeld and Elmaleh delivered again — en anglais.

LC: A rollicking evening with two of the funniest men in comedy. Evidence of their double-headliner status? The roars for Seinfeld and the full-throated ululations for Elmaleh when they started the show.

KT: Maybe it was the hockey fumes hanging in the Bell Centre air that invigorated Seinfeld into as much physicality as I have ever seen, but it was palpable. He is so much fun to watch because he works so hard making comedy seem so effortless. He is by nature a kvetch extraordinaire and he has turned complaining into an art form.


BB: After a little good-natured haggling, it was deemed that Jerry would open for Gad — which meant we caught all of Seinfeld and, oh my Gad, too little of Elmaleh, who did enthral with tales of going through U.S. Customs on a Moroccan passport with comedian as occupation. Seinfeld was on fire, again elevating his nothingness into an art form.

LC: Couldn’t be more different. One born in Brooklyn, schooled in the comedy clubs and conquered American TV; the other born in Morocco, went to CEGEP St-Laurent and conquered Paris. Lucky for us they ended up on the same stage last night.

KT: The lads were cute in their mutual opening that ended up with Seinfeld starting. He hasn’t opened for anybody in a while. Gad had his work cut out for himself, because Seinfeld owned the crowd by the time he left the stage.


BB: Seinfeld on everything from alcoholized coffee — “so you can be alert and trashed at the same time” — to Pop Tarts that can never go stale, because they’re never fresh. Elmaleh on his U de Montréal degree in political science — which leads to a degree at Metro school. 

LC: Seinfeld’s riffs on marriage and living life under “the device dictatorship.” “Our job in life is to buy phones, charge phones and carry those phones around to where they need to be. We are the ‘mobile’ in mobile phones.”

KT: Seinfeld’s all-ages act, he virtually says hardly any “bad” words, relies on observation with an amazing range from coffee cups to marriage, children, golf, money, boredom, the post office, voice tones. His delivery tone, in spite of what his wife tells him all the time, is perfect, pointed,  funny and never mean.


BB: The Bell Centre may have its virtues when it comes to hockey or hoops or rock concerts, but a comedy venue it is not and it will never be. Seinfeld and Elmaleh, more than most, benefit from the intimacy of clubs. But even if Seinfeld had to raise his voice a few octaves, they pulled it off — miraculously. All the same, don’t envy any comic having to follow Seinfeld.

LC: Early Gad was hilariously topical. He explained why he travels on a Canadian passport when crossing the U.S. Border. Can you imagine turning up with a Moroccan passport and stating that your occupation is “comedian?”

KT: Was really looking forward to seeing Gad. Anybody who carries a first name one vowel from the person in charge of eternal damnation has got to be sharp. Seinfeld: Just For Laughs? Well, there’s money, too.

Gad Elmaleh