Kad Merad

Kad Merad

French comedian Kad Merad rose swiftly from radio and television to feature films, where he displayed a talent for both comedies like "Welcome to the Sticks" (2008) and intimate dramas like "Don't Worry, I'm Fine" (2006). Born Kaddour Merad in the Algerian city of Sidi Bel Abbès, he was the son of an Algerian father and French mother. Merad began his performing career as a teenager, playing and singing in various bands on the Club Med resort circuit. He experimented with classical theater before moving into radio as a host on Oui FM. There, he met Olivier Baroux, with whom he formed the duo Kad & Olivier; the pair had their own program, "Rock'n Roll Circus," which featured numerous recurring sketches. In 1999, Kad & Olivier earned their own television sketch comedy series, "Le grosse emission" (Comedie+, 1999-2001). Merad soon transitioned successfully into feature films, both as a solo performer in comedies like "La beuze" (2003) and dramas like the thriller "The Pharmacist" (2003). He also teamed with Baroux for various broad comedy films, including "Mais qui a tuè Pamela Rose?" (2003), based on one of their more popular sketches, and "Iznogoud" (2005), a live-action take on the comic by "Asterix" co-creator René Goscinny. During this period, Merad received excellent reviews for his turn in "Les Choristes" (2004), a coming-of-age drama that was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The international acclaim afforded to the picture led to "Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas" (2006), a moving drama about a young woman (Melanie Laurent) who lapses into a crippling depression after the apparent disappearance of her brother. Merad played the siblings' father, whose tough exterior hid a deeply wounded and sensitive soul, and received the César for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He then returned to a steady schedule of comedies, including reunions with Baroux in "A Ticket to Space" (2006) and "Ce soir, je dors chez toi" (2007), which marked Baroux's directorial debut. Merad scored the biggest hit of his career to date with "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" (2008), a fish-out-of-water comedy about a postman who discovers that the sleepy northern French town to which he has been dispatched is the perfect antidote for his miserable life. Now firmly established as a film star, Merad worked steadily throughout the 2000s and beyond. He moved between light comedies like the Oscar-nominated "Paris 36" (2008) and "Superstar" (2012), with Merad as an average man who suddenly becomes famous, and a broader farce with Baroux "Mais qui a re-tue Pamela Rose" (2012), a sequel to their popular action spoof. In addition, he starred in dramas like "22 Bullets" (2010), a mob thriller with Jean Reno, and writer-star Daniel Auteil's moving family story "The Well-Digger's Daughter" (2011).