Happy birthday, Chiquito de la Calzada!
Google Doodle on May 28 to celebrate Chiquito de la Calzada, the stand-up comedian. He is also known as a flamenco singer and actor.
Chiquito de la Calzada became very popular on Spanish TV shows (especially Genio y figura) in the mid-1990s for his unique style, which relies heavily on a surreal approach to jokes and language, and constant movement while telling his jokes and putting his hands in his waist as if in pain. Some of his signature words and phrases like fistro or jarl, as well as his humorous comparisons like “this is more dangerous than an elevator gunfight” quickly became memes and are now part of Spanish slang.
Chiquito de la Calzada was born Gregorio Esteban Sánchez Fernández on this day in 1932. Chiquito’s brilliant comedic style has greatly influenced Spanish comedians and entertainers to this day.
As children, Fernández and his two brothers grew up in poverty in La Calzada de la Trinidad, Spain after the civil war. He began singing and dancing flamenco at the age of eight to support his family. During this time he received his stage name Chiquito de la Calzada.
After hearing Fernández tell jokes at a nearby table, Summers offered him a role in an upcoming comedy show that was airing on Antena 3, a major Spanish TV channel. The new show was called Genio y figura, and the production team thought Summers made a mistake by casting an unidentified 62-year-old man. Summers still took a chance with Fernández, and he was certainly glad he did.
Shortly after the show aired, Fernández became an instant star. Spaniards from all walks of life found his comedic timing, clever puns and over-the-top moves irresistibly funny. Over the next two decades, Fernández developed an original comedic style that continues to influence Spanish comedians and television characters to this day.
In 2019, the Spanish Ministry of Culture recognized his cultural influence by awarding him a Medalla de Oro al mérito en las Bellas Artes (Gold Medal for Merit to the Fine Arts).
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