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During the “Marrakech Du Rire” Humor Festival, meetings with comedians Malik Bentalha and Ahmed Sylla

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The “Marrakech Du Rire” Humor Festival, has been existing for 8 years, launched by the time by the french stand-up humorist Jamel Debbouze, with Moroccan ancestry. More than a festival, the “Marrakech Du Rire” is a link between cultures, becoming the first Festival of French humor in the world and people come from all over the world to applaud the artists. Located in the Moroccan city of Marrakech since its creation, more than a dozen different nationalities have performed on the “Marrakech du Rire” stage: Moroccan, French, Canadian, Togolese, Ivorian, Belgian, Swiss… This wealth has earned this year again the support of the Secretary for Francophonie, Michaëlle Jean. This support proves once again that laughter has no boundaries and, year after year, the festival grows (translated from French by Alexandre Plateaux).

After a career in humor that has exploded in France, and a new experience film with a role in the last “Taxi 5” directed by Franck Gastambide, released in 2018, Malik Bentalha participates in this 8th edition of the “Marrakech Du Rire” Festival with a great pleasure (photo credits: MDR).
Here’s a meeting with a kid raised with the help of the Jamel Comedy Club.

– Are you faithful to the “Marrakech Du Rire” Festival? 
I’ve been participating in this exceptional event in Morocco since 2010, but it has been 3 years since I didn’t come back, due to various projects. That’s all the time the same Magic in the air. It is still very welcomed. In addition, I am Moroccan by my mother and Algerian by my father, Morocco is my country of adoption, it’s a country where I feel a special affection, I have experienced highlights. It’s a happiness to find a part of my roots.

– Do you think the “Marrakech Du Rire” is an “African” festival?
Of course! There are the “African Gala”, and the Moroccan show with “Eko” in darija. Which creates a special emulation and employed a lot of Moroccan. It’s a very good thing for the country’s image, broadcasted worldwide through TV tv5 world. As for the festival Mawazine, as well as for the Marrakech film festival, and all of these events in Morocco promoting the image of the country in the world. The show is distributed also in France through M6 TV channel. This kind of excitement didn’t exist before. Instead of “Les Marrakech Du Rire” is taking more importance every year.

– What are your inspiration, do you customize your “sketches” in Morocco? 

My shows are already made with the “Moroccan sauce.” There is always of course adjustments based on the news, but overall it remains in the same spirit made of fun, quip and tall stories! (Laughs). My show durates about an hour thirty, I had to reduced to 15-minute for my passage in this Marrakech festival, therefore I am going to select passages that will make laugh Moroccans, but also the French audience.

– Who are the African comedians, you would like to work with? 

Ago Hassan El fad, Abderraouf, Abelkader Secteur, “Houria les Yeux Verts”, “Asmaa El Arabi”. Morocco gave us Jamel Debbouze, Gad El Maleh, we’re comedians in our soul, and have had the chance to live in countries where humor holds a huge place and abound all sources of inspiration. I am a child of Jamel Comedy Club, I’ve had the chance to attend the birth of the “Marrakech Du Rire”, which combines African and European talents, like French and Belgians. We are a cultural and humorous patchwork.

– What do you think of the absence of female comedians in festivals, in general? They just represent an average of 20 to 30%…

It’s a real problem and this is not just related to the field of humor. I advocate of course equality between men and women in general, and I support 200% the feminist causes, it is an absolute necessity to showcase women. This year at the “Marrakech Du Rire” Festival, there are amazing female comedians like Camille Lellouche, Elodie Poux. There is an emerging female scene currently exploding and I think it would going on this way.

– What are your future projects?

The Olympia on 25th and 28th October, then I lead a tour through France. Concerning cinema, I’ve turned into a film Mohamed Hamidi that S name is “the great wager” with Gilles Lellouche, and which will be in the rooms on 20 February 2019.

Now let’s have a talk with Ahmed Sylla, one the most talented comedians of his generation. He made his own way since his participation in the “On ne Demande qu’à en Rire” TV show of Laurent Ruquier. This year, he signs his 3rd participation at the “Marrakech Du Rire” Festival, with his friend Jamel Debbouze. Satisfied to find again the ocher city and its accomplices, he tells us about his future projects (photo credits: MDR).

– How long have you been coming to the “Marrakech Du Rire” Festival?

This is the second time I act in this gala, and the 3rd time I attend to the “Marrakech Du Rire” Festival.

– How do lead your career Ahmed Sylla? Through humor, film, theater… It seems you have several strings to your arch. 

I would define myself as someone curious and I appreciate discovering new things, learning and having good time. As long as I would get this passion, I would draw new projects, which ultimately, have the same objectives. Art is multiple.

– How do you explain the breakthrough for comedians African, France, over the past ten years? 

I think that “Les Marrakech Du Rire” has contributed significantly to highlight new talents, from the Djamel Comedy Club, for example. This event is really an incredible showcase. We must also say, that in the recent years, there has been an explosion of a new generation of very talented comedians. All of these events contribute to promote these artists, and each one trying to find his own “ray of light”.

– What do you answer to certain critics arguing that this Festival includes more comedians French than African comedians?
This is a false debate. The most important is to gather artists from all horizons to work together. We are not in a identity fallback spirit, that is not productive and that could be dangerous. The Festival employs a countless number of Moroccans, even the Badii Palace had just been renovated for the occasion. There is also the “African Gala” who highlight the African artists who own an incredible public in all the continent. The main interest is to work together and mix the universes.

– Which advise would you give to comedians who want to succeed? 

The willing. From the time someone has fun, where you feel yourself, you can enjoy people. If you try to please at all costs, this will not work. There are surely other parameters: luck, proper meetings, the right time. I don’t have any recipe, otherwise my family would be famous (Laughs).

– What are your inspiration? 

My family has always been a source of inspiration for me, and undoubtedly influenced my way, due to my parents born in Senegal. Regarding my artistic influences, I would say the belgian Raymond Devos, the french canadian Michel Courtemanche, Gad Elmaleh and Djamel Debbouze.

– Who are the African artists, you would like to work with? 

Michel Gohou, he’s an Ivorian comedian, it’s a monster. I am very fan since ever. We met once very quickly. Otherwise, I’m keen on well let things to do, never plan. I think a lot in the law of attraction, that’s why I enjoy meetings by chance.

– What do you think of the absence of female comedians within festivals? 

I think that female comedians are fully talented. They have another look, another poetry and another sensitivity. In addition they are well dressed, they smell good and I adore, it’s better than 14 guys who are sweating! (Laughs). More seriously, women should be more represented, and if this is not not the case, it is necessary to fight for it. I remain sensitive to the women cause as a whole.

– What are your future projects? 

A movie that gets out November 7th, an access series TV on C8 and a spectacle tour from the mid-September.

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