Getting to know Chiquito de la Calzada

Irene A.

Irene A.

I was born in Madrid, I am not Gato though. My favourite food is Spanish omelette with onions! On weekends I love hiking in the mountains of Madrid. I’m a big movie buff. One of my favourite Spanish movies is Primos, have you seen it?
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If you have been aware of the latest news in Spain, you surely know that Chiquito de la Calzada, a famous Spanish humorist, died the 11th November being 85 years old.
The media, the culture environment in our country and the society in general since then haven’t stopped paying homage and remembering his life and above all, his jokes. Therefore, for those who don’t know him, we are going to give you some basic information about who he was and what he has meant for our country.
First of all, trying to describe Chiquito de la Calzada, or Gregorio Esteban Sánchez Fernández -his true name- is a challenge, due to the particularity of his humor and his peculiar language and movements. For this reason, it is convenient that you first have a look on YouTube at some of the huge legacy of tv shows that he left behind, between the 90s and the 2000s.
We can now begin tracking his biography: Chiquito de la Calzada has always been connected to the show business since he was a child, especially to the flamenco environment, but it isn’t until 1994 that he claimed to fame, when he was already 62. His irruption as a social phenomenon has been immediate and for years he has been requested in every tv entertainment show. His sudden success was so enormous that during his appearances the audience used to reach the 5 million spectators. He also starred in absurd humor films that were well received by his most staunch fans and that are still claimed today.
His shows, apparently simple, consisted on telling jokes whose content itself was not especially funny, but they were revalued by all kinds of adornments including indescribable movements, use of words that in formal Spanish do not exist or directly invented – although some expressions are already part of our colloquial language- and explanations that lengthened these jokes for minutes.
His appearances on television and his fame have been declining during the 2000s until he definitely retired for health reasons. Although his great success was in a certain sense a temporary fashion, his gestures and expressions will remain forever in the cultural imaginary of our country.
After his death, several social networks wrote homage, together with personalities of all kinds who also had a commemoration: artists, well-known athletes or even a multitude of politicians from our country, including the President of the Government.
The generalized sadness caused by his death, it’s a proof that Chiquito de la Calzada has become an icon of popular culture in Spain.
From Spaneasy we recommend you to watch his shows and tell us on the comments section what do you think about it. Do you think the cultural differences are a barrier for the sense of humor?

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