Roberto Gómez Bolaños, the Mexican comedian best known for creating the massively popular El Chavo del Ocho show, passed away on November of 2014. He was 85.
Even though its executives consider it “shoddy” and “in bad taste,” it was recently announced that Globo, the largest television network in South America, would be purchasing the rights to the soon-to-be 50-year-old-show, whose first episode aired in June of 1971.
Brazilian viewers apparently still love Chespirito, but Mexican audiences — the main demographic the show was created for — always had mixed feelings about El Chavo del Ocho.
Bolaños has been considered Latin America’s biggest purveyor of safe, family-friendly, and “white” (inoffensive) humor, so how can anybody hate that? To begin with, many people believe Roberto actively reached for the lowest hanging fruit with his brand of comedy. He also engaged in plenty of personal, rotten practices.
Here are highlights:
1) Bros b4 girls: Breaking up Quico and Doña Florinda
Believe or not, Quico, played by Carlos Villagrán, used to date Florinda Meza, his mom on the show. It’s kinda gross, I know, but not as gross as Roberto’s behavior since, according to Carlos himself, Bolaños asked Villagrán to break up with Meza because “the company” (Televisa) didn’t approve of relationships between coworkers.
Months later, Quico found out Roberto, who was married to one Graciela Fernandez, his baby momma of I-don’t-know-how-many-kids, started dating Meza in secrecy. The comedian eventually divorced Graciela and married Florinda, but Quico ceased speaking to his former bro for over 22 years.
2) Pinochet better have his
blood money because #dealswithdictators
Even if it was through ill-advised gigs, or nefarious friendships, Roberto loved getting his greasy, torta-stained hands on dirty money.
Case in point, in 1977 Bolaños completely ignored an industry-wide boycott many of his colleagues had enacted against Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. He toured Chile throwing caution to the wind, and claiming that he was doing it for his audience.
Years later, “Chespiro” performed in a private party for Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, leader of notorious drug cartel in Cali, Colombia.
3) Get your hands off Chavo’s tortas — and characters
“I’m a little flea who’s been pitted against a giant monster,” said María Antonieta de las Nieves, who played Chilindrina, one of the most popular characters on El Chavo del Ocho, about her decade-long legal battle against Roberto and Televisa.
Having earned close to two billion dollars in syndication fees for Televisa, María’s former boss made millions off residual royalties from the show. But shortly after the series ended in the ‘80s, the rest of the cast members couldn’t land a job to save their lives.
Since acting was no longer working out, María put together a circus act in order to get by, but greedy Roberto quickly tried to halt its production through the Mexican legal system.
The actress manged to popularize la Chilindrina by adding her own quirks to the character’s personality. Still, Chespirito didn’t want anybody making money off what he considered his sole creation.
The courts eventually sided with María.
4) Your body, Bolaños’ choice
Considering he had no problem engaging with shaddy dictatorships, it made sense for Roberto to become one of PAN’s strongest supporters.
The ultra-conservative political party — themselves famous for trying to ban public kissing, among other hilarious nonsense — put Roberto front and center in their campaign ads, which included one to keep abortion illegal (your body, his choice):
Oh, right. Old-school Mexicans humiliate their children by pretending they don’t exist.
I’ve been visiting my mother, and all of our immediate family, for the last week. They’re old-school, rural Mexicans. The kind who always offer food, even if they hate you.
I’m in my mid 30s now, and have been living on my own since I was 18, so at our gatherings I get a proper adult seat at the table. They listen to what I have to say, but it wasn’t always like that.
It’s not like that for my younger relatives, either. At family reunions, I see them out of the periphery of my eye. They’re trying to get a word in, but those older Mexicans won’t allow it. Why would they? What have those mocosos (snot-nosed kids) done to deserve anybody’s respect? Did they pay for their food? For the roof over their head? For their car, gas, clothes? No? Then they don’t exist.
Yes, they’re physically there, but unless they can prove their worth through monetary independence, they’re no one. If they try to make their voices heard, they’ll be silenced by a death stare, or an abrupt change in conversation.
If they persist, other humiliations will be flung at them, such as being asked to do something entirely meaningless, just like their opinion. “Vete a ver si ya puso la marrana” (go see if one of the pigs laid an egg) is a classic. My grandma had one of the most bizarre just-get-the-fuck-out-of-here phrases, which I’ve never heard elsewhere: “Vete a descular hormigas” (go chop the asses off ants).
I know these Mexicans sound like assholes, but they’re like that because they believe in resilience, not fragility. Giving encouragement to a mentally and physically healthy person seems redundant to them. Those people already have all they need to succeed, they’ll think.
To gain their respect, at the very least a person will need to become self-sufficient. That’s how you earn the right to sit with them. Either you’re with that, or you’re not there at all.
“Trump Dating” site doesn’t want the gays, but allows the “happily married” to join
You can even be mad at Trump Dating, a new website for lonely — or not so lonely, but just promiscuous — maganogamous people. It’s a perfect representation of their cherished administration, since it’s also homophobic — it only allows “straight” women or men to sign up — and, just like Trump, it’s all about adulterous relationships:
“When you kick off the process of starting a profile, you get two options for labeling yourself — ‘straight man’ or ‘straight woman.’
Yet according to Trump Dating’s rather strange drop-down menus, married people are welcome. For a relationship status, the site offers options like ‘have a significant other,’ ‘happily married,’ and ‘unhappily married.'”
And since no self-respecting republican-specific dating site should exist unless it takes an issue with race, Trump Dating allows their users to be super specific about their genealogy:
“The ethnicity options also seemed oddly specific. In addition to the typical categories, the site includes choices like ‘Scandinavian,’ ‘Polynesian,’ ‘Eastern European,’ ‘Western European,’ ‘Mediterranean,’ and ‘Eskimo,’ a term used to label the indigenous people of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland that is considered offensive and inaccurate.”
OMG, you guys. There better be a second menu where users can identify which of the five Aryan subtype races — Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine, and East Baltic — they belong to. Otherwise the server room of this Trump Dating is gonna get tiki torched.
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