Rémi Gaillard
Rémi Gaillard. Photo: Wikipedia, GNU public license, attribution Yves Tennevin

We can all use a few laughs these days, so let me introduce you to French prankster Rémi Gaillard.

Gaillard makes videos that are short, funny, and very popular—they’ve been viewed over 2 billion times. Their style is a bit like the U.S. television program Candid Camera or the U.K.’s Trigger Happy TV.

Gaillard first gained fame in 2002 when he pretended to be a player at the final match of the Coupe de France soccer tournament. Not only did he manage to join the team’s victory lap, he also shook hands with French president Jacques Chirac…who congratulated him on his fine play!

Rémi Gaillard
Star Wars. Photo: Rémi Gaillard video

Gaillard loves to do things like commandeer an elevator and create ridiculous scenes inside it—a disco or a living room or a climber scaling Mount Everest. The unsuspecting person waiting for the elevator is definitely surprised when the doors open.

Gaillard also enjoys dressing up like an animal, be it a snail, a chicken, or a kangaroo, and doing something silly. (inside joke for the snail episode: the French call a protest that deliberately slows down traffic an operation escargot.)

Rémi Gaillard
Mr. Universe. Photo: Rémi Gaillard video

Gaillard can be bold, like the time he entered the Mr. Universe bodybuilding championship, flexing his (modest) muscles along with the other contestants. And who can forget Santa Claus calling Roadside Assistance to repair his broken-down sleigh? Or the astronaut making a moon landing on a golf course?

Rémi Gaillard
Santa Claus. Photo: Rémi Gaillard video

Gaillard’s motto, which shows up at the end of every video, is C’est en faisant n’importe quoi qu’on devient n’importe qui. The literal translation is, “It is by doing whatever that we become whomever.” The real meaning is satirical because n’importe quoi (“whatever”) implies doing something ridiculous while n’importe qui (“whomever”) means someone unimportant. It plays on the classic French proverb C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron (It is by smithing that one becomes a blacksmith.)

Gaillard has made hundreds of videos and you can find them on his website or on his YouTube channel. Check them out and enjoy!