Gallic bred?

France finally gets stand-up

Stand-up comedy has been introduced to French TV audiences for the first time.

Although theatre shows by big-name stars are popular there, the country has no tradition of comedy clubs as in Britain and America – and TV comedy tends towards sketch shows.

But now upmarket cable TV station Canal Plus has aired its first line-up of live stand-ups – and it attracted twice the average audience for its early Saturday evening timeslot.

The eight-week run of Jamel Comedy Club, hosted by comic Jamel Debbouze, has unearthed so many new stand-ups, that more half-hour episodes could follow.

Canal Plus’s head of light entertainment, Ara Aprikian, told US trade magazine Variety: ‘French TV humour has traditionally been based on the sketch.

‘But thanks to the popularity of Jamel's stage shows, which are inspired by American stand-up comedians, there are more and more young comics trying their hand at stand-up in small venues.

'Jamel Comedy Club is a way of bringing them to a wider audience, and bringing a new form of humour to French TV.

‘Based on the quality of the first eight shows, I'd say there is enough comedy talent in France to make some more episodes.’


Published: 23 Jul 2006

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