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“The Marrakech of laughter is a bit like the Champions League of comedians”

The comedian presented the 10th edition of his Festival, broadcast this Tuesday, July 19 on M6.

Launched in 2011 by Jamel Debbouze, Marrakech du rire has become an essential humor festival for the entire French-speaking scene. While M6 broadcasts, this Tuesday, July 19, the tenth edition, which was held last June, the comedian confides in this anniversary and on his many projects.

TV MAGAZINE. – How does this 10 look?e edition of Marrakech laughter?
Jamel DEBBOUZE. – We are like crazy! It’s been three years that we have been prevented from going on stage so we felt like Afghan hounds before a race (laughs). We have extraordinary surprises. Kad Merad will be on drums, Camille Lellouche will present his ultrasound to us… There will also be Maxime Gasteuil, Paul Mirabel, Waly Dia, Kev Adams, Michaël Youn or even Ahmed Sylla, who made himself a big cake for the occasion . We will also find Cheb Mostache, Fatsah Bouyahmed, Booder, Caroline Vigneau, Nawell Madani, Jarry, Jeff Panacloc… It will be extraordinary. We even have a wink from Dany Boon and Jean Dujardin. Spiderman and Batman – who hide a huge surprise – come with Patrick Bruel, who closes the show.

Le Marrakech du rire has become an unmissable French-speaking comedy festival, what does it mean to you?
During the launch, I was sure that it was going to stop very quickly. Finally, faced with the enthusiasm of the artists and the public, I can’t stop such a carousel, it’s on! It’s extraordinary because there is now an African gala, an Arabic-speaking gala and a French-speaking gala, we are really happy. We have the impression of laughing, having fun and being useful somewhere.

“If you succeed in the Marrakech du rire, you have a chance to be a hit. It has become an important passage”

Jamel Debbouze

What makes artists respond every year?
The Marrakech of laughter has become a mix between a summer camp and a World Cup. It’s a bit like the Champions League for comedians. We know that this represents the high point of our year and that real vocations will be born there. The strength of this festival is that, the day after the broadcast, the rooms fill up for those who have hit the mark. It creates wealth immediately. This was the case for Alban Ivanov and Ahmed Sylla. They shuddered but, after their passage in the Marrakech of laughter, they changed stratosphere. What’s great is that they’re grateful, they come back, offer to help. It has become an important passage. If you succeed at the Marrakech du rire, you have a chance to be a hit. Your colleagues have respect for you because this scene is not easy.

Why ?
The conditions are special because it is in the open air. First it’s very hot and then there’s dust in the air which makes your mouth dry so when you play you have respiratory failure (laughs). The audience is also enlightened for the filming so it’s more difficult to capture their attention and make them laugh. Personally, I come to play a score there every year that I haven’t played before and that I won’t play again after. It’s a great challenge because the others play all year round and they’re really into it.

How has the Festival evolved?
I feel more enthusiasm from the public. All tickets sold out in 30 minutes! There is almost no artist in France who has not taken part in the Festival.

Are there more women?
No. Unfortunately, we still suffer from disparities. I find that there aren’t enough women in the game and I’m also opening an open stage for all the girls who are interested in the Comedy Club at the start of the school year. Come, we need you! Women follow the same path as blacks, disabled people, Jews or Arabs… Unfortunately, there is an incubation period for society to get used to it. And at the exemplary level, there have not been enough women on stage since Chantal Ladesou and Sylvie Joly. Florence Foresti brought a magnificent stone to the building and made things move forward in a prodigious way because she has an incredible talent. She gave momentum. Behind her, we saw Nawell Madani, Claudia Tagbo, Inès Reg…

“I don’t know where we were able to help make things happen, but we considerably rejuvenated the scene and opened it up to whoever wanted to”.

Jamel Debbouze

Humor sends messages. Can it help change mentalities?
Thanks to our work for 25 years through cultural associations, theatrical improvisation, the Jamel Comedy Club and today the Marrakech du rire, it is obvious that we have contributed to participating in the movement. I don’t know where we were able to help make things happen, but we considerably rejuvenated the scene and opened it up to whoever wanted to.

You contributed to the organization of the Culture and Diversity Improv Trophy around Molière at the Comédie Française on June 24th…
Release did a cover last January on the 400e anniversary of the birth of Molière titled “The Molière Comedy Club”, it touched me a lot. We are Molière’s grandchildren and theatrical improvisation allowed us to enter the Comédie Française to play in the Salle Richelieu.

What does this represent for you?
It is an extraordinary recognition and a first step towards our objective which is to put theatrical improvisation in all the colleges of France so that it can serve our children as a psychological tool to gain self-confidence. The theater freezes you in a text and “forces you to” while theatrical improvisation does not constrain you in any way but just forces you to listen and say yes. With these two simple tools you can do anything in life. I think national education has a lot to gain by putting theatrical improvisation in schools. The Culture & Diversity Foundation works there body and soul. Marc Landreit de Lacharrière, patron at the initiative of the Foundation, managed to bring François Hollande to an improvisation match between college students in Trappes in 2014. I had tears in my eyes because it meant that the institution somewhere recognized this art and that one was no longer denied. It’s great to be considered, it’s what we all want. Look at Wally Dia, Alban Ivanov, Malik Bentalha, Claudia Tagbo, Blanche Gardin, Jean-François Cayrey, Frédéric Chau, there are women, men, blacks, Arabs, Jews, big, small… There are all of France with which I grew up: united, colorful, colorful, with a crazy potato and which creates wealth.

Don’t you want to get involved in politics?
We’ve been in politics since day one. We were born with a political conscience. When we see that our parents can be looked at askance because they have an accent or they come from elsewhere, we find it unfair and we will fight against this injustice all our lives because we know that they work for the welfare of France. We find it unfair that they are rewarded in this way, with this contemptuous and condescending look. Everything we do on our own: a film, a song, a football match or a work of art, all our differences have been of service to us since the beginning of humanity.

Canal+airs season 11 of Jamel Comedy Clubwith Waly Dia at the presentation, why did you call on him?
We have seen his evolution, we talk about him everywhere and it’s not for nothing. The tickets he does on the radio or what he offers on stage are above the lot. And then, he is also a committed artist. He is funny, handsome, intelligent and says things that bring people together. It feels good because it is unifying. He’s like a former student who comes back to his high school to talk to the new kids. This year again, there are plenty of people who come to see us like Sofiane Pamart, Bilal Hassani, Philippe Katerine, Alice Belaïdi… And what’s great is that we don’t need to convince them.

“I can’t compare myself to Pierre Richard because I don’t come close to him, but I tried to touch his humanity and his childish side”

Jamel Debbouze

You take over the role held by Pierre-Richardin the movie The new toyby James Huth which will be released on October 19. What does this represent for you?
I am obviously extremely happy to follow in the footsteps of two of my idols Pierre Richard and Richard Pryor. It touched me more than many things in my career. Obviously, we tried to be as faithful to the spirit as possible but to distance ourselves as much as possible from the film so that there was no rapprochement. It’s a completely different feature film and I’m playing it alongside Daniel Auteuil. I can’t compare myself to Pierre Richard because I don’t come close to him, but I tried to touch his humanity and his childish side, it’s very difficult. It’s my return to the cinema, I was a little apprehensive. I put a lot of personal things in this film. My mother even plays a small role in it!

You are currently developing the series Terminal which is held in an airport. Are you going to play in it?
I don’t play in it but I produce it and I really want to direct it because it will be a bit the same mechanics as H . I want to create the same device I was given back then. We shoot in public, which galvanizes the actors and calls for comedy and improvisation. This series is also in the continuity of the Jamel Comedy Club. You will find comedians who have walked this stage, framed by real great artists.

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