Gad Elmaleh

Two weeks ago I’d never heard of Gad Elmaleh (had you?), and now he’s a hero of mine.

I was introduced to him by Ira Glass, host of This American Life, when his story was in re-run during the holidays originally broadcast in November 2016. I would have missed it entirely since the episode’s title, Becoming a Badger, was not inviting. His story, Act One, is entertaining and intriguing. That was the segment recommended to me by my boyfriend, and I’m glad I listened.

More about this gentleman, according to his site…

While Gad Elmaleh is arguably the most widely known and beloved comedian in Europe, he has now embarked on the newest chapter of his career: breaking through to the American audience.

Okay. You can see how we’re different.

He’s currently on a mission, as stated above, to bring his stand-up to the US. Mind you, English is one of seven languages he speaks, yet he wants to win over audiences here and enjoy the celebrity he has across the Atlantic. Very risky to put yourself in front of the masses knowing that you will not be wildly applauded as he is at home. Not only does his material have to totally change, but he also must learn the idiosyncrasies of our tongue.

During the segment they discussed his language coaching and how when he pronounces the word ‘vacation,’ no one laughs if he emphasizes the first syllable – VA-ca-tion, but they go into hysterics when he correctly says it – va-CA-tion. I love and am inspired by the intricacies of his determination.

Here’s where we’re similar. I’m also trying to breakthrough to an American audience with my memoir. As most of you readers know, I’ve had a successful coaching practice for over 15 years after also having a highly regarded craft business for 30 years (there was some overlap for those of you trying to do the math here). Now, my mission for 2018 is to bring my story to women over 30. To that end, I have embarked on a series of readings for intimate audiences to gauge the level of interest.

I had my first opportunity to share pages of my manuscript with a small group last Thursday night, the evening of the big snowstorm. Although we were expecting 15 guests, seven arrived, and that was fine for a first run. I had no idea what to expect and left beyond thrilled with the responses. “YES!!” to women being my target audience. “YES!!” to being completely absorbed by the stories. And “YES!!” to the tools I’ve learned and passed on for navigating this world of ours including friendships, marriage and dating over 60.

When I discussed this effort with one of my support teams and called it risky, like Gad Elmaleh, they disagreed. They described my goal as vulnerable and scary, a better way to describe his inspirational goal as well. He’s had success. He won’t starve if the US doesn’t elevate him financially, and he’ll grow in the process and even have more material to go home with no matter what. That’s how we’re alike.

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