A French actor known for his work in a number of comedies, Alain Chabat is probably best-known to American audiences for his role as Victoria Abril's philandering husband in the sex comedy Gazon Maudit (French Twist, 1995).
Born in Oran, Algeria, on November 24, 1958, Chabat grew up in Massy, a suburb of Paris. Never an enthusiastic student, he quit 12 schools over the course of his education and nurtured a passion for music and comics. Through a series of circumstances, Chabat ended up working for the cable network Canal+; during the late '80s, while still employed there, he made the acquaintance of actors Dominique Farrugia, Chantal Lauby, and Bruno Carette, with whom he wrote television sketches and formed a lasting creative partnership. Following the death of Carette, Chabat, Farrugia, and Lauby wrote their first film, La Cite de la Peur: Une Comedie Familiale (1994). A comic parody of horror and detective films, it established the sort of work with which Chabat would become largely associated throughout his career.
A staple of many of France's comedy spoofs throughout the '90s, Chabat earned a fair amount of international recognition for his performance in Josiane Balasko's aforementioned Gazon Maudit. In 1997, he wrote, directed, and starred in the popular Didier, a comedy that cast him as the human incarnation of a dog. Chabat earned a César for his direction of the film, and he has continued to enjoy popularity as one of his country's most steadily employed comic actors.