Comedian Gad Elmaleh Explains French Non-Verbal Conversation

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How many cheek kisses is too many? What does it mean when a French person does that thing where they puff out their cheeks and widen their eyes? Is a shrug in French the same as a shrug in English?

Gestures are a huge part of learning about another culture and there’s no one better to explain them than one of France’s most popular comedians. Gad Elmaleh stopped by to talk with Public Radio International’s Marco Werman and explained some of the finer points of French culture: speaking French without speaking.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. One simple shrug can mean many different things according to Elmaleh. And cheek kisses? The amount always depends on where you are in France, though Elmaleh usually sticks with two.

Gad Elmaleh has been making the French laugh for years and has worked his way to being one of today’s most popular French comedians. Now, he’s challenged himself to make Americans laugh, too, with a new comedy routine in English.

Elmaleh will be doing standup comedy in New York City through June 15th, and is headed to more U.S. cities in the next couple of months. Get a taste of his comedy in this video.

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