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Gad Elmaleh, a French star aims for the U.S.; but is he engaged to Charlotte Casiraghi or not?

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Gad Elmaleh is a huge star recognized everywhere in France — but he was virtually unknown in the U.S. until his engagement last month to Monaco’s Charlotte Casiraghi, the gorgeous royal granddaughter of Grace Kelly.

Wait, what’s that?

“No, I’m not engaged,” the comedian told us, denying widespread reports. Yes, the couple is expecting a baby at year’s end, but there’s no formal engagement, he says, despite what looks like a big diamond ring on Charlotte’s left hand.

So either the press got it all wrong — or they’re faking us out in an attempt to pull off one of those surprise celebrity weddings. Good luck with that: Casiraghi, 27, is the new face of Monaco’s long-running royal soap opera; Elmaleh, 42, is a beloved writer and star of French TV, film and theater, arguably more famous than she.

But as he tries to break into the U.S. market, he’s playing the Birchmere, the 500-seat Alexandria club, for a three-day stand-up gig — in French, for ex-pat fans. He made his American stand-up debut in New York last week.

“Going to a comedy club where no one knows me — Americans sitting there and saying, ‘Who is this guy?’ — you’ve got to be funny. Comedy in America is very serious. Either they laugh or they don’t.”

And the royal House of Grimaldi — do they laugh? Apparently. (Remember, they’ve got showbiz blood.) “They’ve got the most precious thing in the world: humor,” said Elmaleh. As does his amour, the daughter of Princess Caroline. “There were two things I used to do to seduce girls: jokes and music. Since I’m not a great pianist, jokes were my thing.”

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