Fifteen years ago, Goyo Jiménez rose to fame with his monologue aiguantulivinamerica, in which he laughed at the clichés of American cinema. In this time, the comedian has presented new shows and has become a television and radio presenter, as well as an actor, but he still kept a lot of material around the image that Americans project in the movies. That is why he returns to Donostia with a trilogy of shows that can be seen until Sunday at the Victoria Eugenia Theatre.
It can be said that he is coming to Donostia with a retrospective.
I don’t know what to invent to spend more time there (laughs). The idea of making a trilogy came about because, when I wrote the second part due to popular demand, I wrote a lot of material. It was impossible to put everything in one and, at the same time, it was very difficult to select which one I liked the most, so I did it in two parts and decided to include it as a trilogy. In the same way that to see Star Wars you have to see the original trilogy, I felt that it had to be that way. It is something very new and how I like to open paths that have no trace, there it is. Three parts for the price of two and a half (laughs).
The origin of everything was in a bar, when he started talking to some friends about American things.
Yes. I realized that, those of us who had never been to America, all we knew about it was from the movies. It was something that united us all, wherever we lived. The nice thing was that you could go to Errenteria or Malaga to do the monologue and that, as we had all seen the same films, the show spoke of something that belonged to all of us. I was right and fifteen years later, here I am.
Do we know more about them than they do?
As everywhere, when you are used to a reality you do not notice things that are more easily seen from the outside. I just came back from acting in New York and they asked me if it was really like that, if they repeated the same scheme in the movies. They don’t notice. As a personal anecdote, when I went to the apartment that they had left me in Queens, they were shooting an episode of Law (laughs). It was very funny, because the cinema is in the street.
They may also laugh at us. You just have to watch many movies in which Spain is associated with Mexico.
It has less punch. They do have their clichés about the French or, above all, the English, who are clearer that they are European. For us, most North Americans find it difficult to situate ourselves. They put us in Central America.
As a comedian, did Trump’s USA give him more play than Biden’s?
No. The USA of the movies gives me game. The real United States has all possible chiaroscuro, or more. It is that epic that they build in the movies and in the series that makes them criticizable and funny. It is more the epic that they want to tell us than the reality.
“It is the epic that Americans build in movies and series that makes them criticizable and funny”
Did the ‘show’ completely change your life?
The first part that I am doing now has little to do with what I did fifteen years ago. Our references and the world have changed, so it really is a new show. It is also true that in this time I have learned a lot about technique. My first dedication is the monologue, although I also do television and radio, which are more paid hobbies (laughs). In these fifteen years I have learned a lot and I have done a lot of shows, but these are obviously the ones that have been celebrated the most. In the end, it is the viewer who rules and each entry is a vote.
Is it difficult to remove the label of the Americans?
It’s something I don’t want. The things you do are what people are interested in and that’s it. You can be a fantastic poet, and if you are known as a humorist, you are quite lucky. To me the obsession of some artists to show what they are seems a bit sick.
However, in America it is usual for a comedian to become a great dramatic actor and that is still not seen here.
There the cinema is an industry, above anything else. There are all possible records, so there is such a wide market that there can be anything. If the comic works at the box office, it will work in the industry. Another thing is the artistic consideration, which also happens. It’s hard to see a comedy winning an Oscar or a comedian winning it. This is going to be even more complicated after Will Smith, who has had to make a drama to get it.
He is the presenter of the program ‘A country to laugh at’, with which he tries to recognize the different Spanish comedians. Do you think it is something that is done enough?
Time puts everyone in their place. What I have noticed with this program is the affection of a lot of people. We live in a turbulent time, with many offers, and this program has been very good because I have not heard a bad word from anyone, something that I think it is, because deep down, behind every person who tries to make you laugh, there is someone who wants your happiness. There are madmen who are bothered everywhere, but the great part of society loves comedy very much because it needs it. We live in a golden age in terms of abundance of comedy. There is room for the most classic referents and for new people who are doing amazing things.
“Energumes who are bothered are everywhere, but the great part of society loves comedy very much”
Isn’t it more complicated than ever to do comedy with so much offense?
And when not? When Lope, Tirso and Calderón wrote their theater it was also very difficult to do so. Cervantes himself complained about it in the greatest age of Spanish literature. We have to deal with it, it’s part of the job. I think the comedian’s way of responding should be with more humor. The more control and censorship attempt, the more humor.
In your case, have you ever censored yourself?
No. The profession has taken some paths of partisan humor, but I have always been interested in a type of comedy based more on human absurdity. The temporary, excuse me, brings me a little loose. What I do try is not to take things out of context. You say something in a theater, they take it out of you, cut it up for you and present it to you in a context that suits them very well and is a problem. Still, I think people are tired of that, of the inquisitors and denouncers.
Earlier he commented on the Oscar to Will Smith, who came after the slap to Chris Rock. Do you think there are limits in comedy?
A teacher told me that when you lose your forms, you lose your reasons. The moment violence is applied to correct something, reasoning is over. I am not going to assess whether the comment was in or out of place, because it does not seem to me the appropriate example. Someone who hits another is an example of uncivilization. Justified violence can be justified by Will Smith or Putin, who has bombed a country ruled by a comedian. Being much greater than that of Putin, the parallelism is the same. Violence is always unjustifiable, even by the most unpleasant expression in the world.