In a move that will surely set back Franco-American relations by decades, stand-up comedian Gad Elmaleh visited Conan and leaked several highly embarrassing French state secrets. Namely:
- There’s a French version of Saturday Night Live.
- Which airs on a Thursday.
- And re-creates American SNL sketches.
- And Elmaleh took the Will Ferrell role in the French version of the “More Cowbell” sketch.
It’s a bold move for a comic to invite direct comparison with Will Ferrell, but Elmaleh acquits himself well in the clip he brought to Conan, which goes for all of 20 seconds. So far, no international diplomatic incident. But how’d he do in the full sketch? Well, thanks to Slate’s French sister site, which reviewed Elmaleh’s hosting gig, we can answer that question quite precisely. Here’s the French version of “More Cowbell” as it originally aired:
Huh. That looked kind of crappy—almost to the point of being insulting—but maybe we’re misremembering how funny the original sketch was. After all, it’d be silly for the French to risk angering America by ruining a great SNL sketch, right?
OK, on revisiting the original, it’s clear that the French version of the “More Cowbell” sketch is an insult to American honor and probably also a war crime. We’re going to have to start calling them freedom fries again until the French stop defacing our national comedic treasures. Once more unto the breach!