Comedian and comedian, Mehdi Djaadi likes to tackle themes that call for tolerance. Nominated for the Molières 2023, it has been a full house for two years. He will be at the Olympia, in Paris, on June 16, with his only performance, Coming out.
At peace with himself, Mehdi Djaadi opens up and gains height. What is also seen in his show Coming out. A kid from a working-class neighborhood who stopped school at a very young age, he fell into delinquency and slept on the streets. But a flame pushes him to become an actor. From encounter to encounter, he lets himself be carried away by the artistic universe and his faith.
Here is.fr: Where are you from?
I come from Grande Kabylie through my dad and from Algeria through my mum. And me, I was born in Saint-Etienne. I am therefore a child with a green heart.
What are your earliest artistic memories?
I am lucky to have a mother passionate about literature and cinema. And my first memories are of Manon des Sources and Jean de Florette, all the Pagnols, as well as all the films with de Funès. I also like Chaplin films. These are the first films my father watched when he arrived in France, because he didn’t understand the language. (…) I lived in a popular neighborhood and I was only allowed to go to the library, so I immersed myself in comics and then literature. Not the theatre. It really came afterwards, through humor. Elie Kakou and Raymond Devos made me love this genre. I am from the 1986 generation, I took a monumental slap with the arrival of Jamel, Gad Elmaleh, Omar and Fred. Thanks to them, it was accessible. They talk about issues that concern us. Devos gave me this desire to be incisive, but with kindness. With my co-author on the show, we had this perspective: say things without hurting. Especially in today’s time on religion where everything is tense. We want to be very hard on the extremes, and to laugh at ourselves. Show our failings and our contradictions.
Looking back, what about your life journey?
I am a miracle. I do not believe at all in the social elevator, but in the social staircase. I am a multiple transclass. I have always had people around who have reached out to me, who have believed in me. I was helped by the good Lord too. And today by my wife. I humbly managed to climb the mountain of my dreams.
Tell us about our spirituality
The DNA is Muslim and my soul is Christian. Likewise, I am 100% of Algerian origin and proud of it. 100% from Saint-Etienne. 100% French in everything I like about culture, gastronomy… That’s why the show appeals to so many people, because we compile all of that, but to different degrees. There is what you received from your parents, what you choose, the encounters you have. It shapes you. I feel like the mirror of a generation. We can be multiple without denying ourselves. I don’t reject anything that I received from Islam, I made choices that led me to Christianity. I try to be in a perpetual questioning.
A memory of exchange with the memorable public?
The time I played in prison for inmates. The exchange we had afterwards was so far from all the exchanges I had with the public, especially with the press. Very often, we put forward the conversion. And the inmates what they saw was the course of life. The word miraculous comes from them. They told me : ‘For us, you are a kid from Saint-Étienne who left school at 14 and who today is nominated for the Molières. It’s beautiful to see how spirituality has helped you.’ We have thus spoken of freedom, of inner freedom. How spirituality can help us cultivate our inner garden. They were perhaps the most tolerant, the ones who don’t put you in a box.
Coming out is to be found on June 16, 2023 at the Olympia in Paris.