«You can make humor of everything, but not with just any approach»

What are those haunting eyes on the cover, which are also die-cut and move?

The protagonist, Emilio, is a man confused by the things that happen to him, who has lost perspective, and these slightly crazy eyes reflect his confusion.

A humorist who publishes a novel is expected to have made a comic novel, and this one certainly is, but it is also many more things. Has that expectation conditioned you?

Well, for me humor is not an end in itself, but a means, the language that I use to explain a series of things. This novel does not pretend to be a humorous novel, but rather a novel in which humor, which is my natural environment, is at the service of a story that I felt the need to tell. In fact, there has been work to lower the humorous tone of the book, to eliminate jokes so as not to lose sight of what I wanted to narrate.

On the back cover there is talk of Dostoyevsky and you yourself have cited Gogol as a reference. What does Rush have in common with the nineteenth-century Russian novel?

Certainly not the extension [Subidón tiene 159 páginas]. But I was interested in adapting that kind of novel in which a number of things happen to a character who doesn’t quite find out about anything very well. The reader is not going to associate Subidón with Dead Souls of Gogol, but it has been an important influence, with that protagonist who thinks he is smarter than he really is and who is traveling and going through adventures. Of course, that is mixed with other things, such as Jardiel Poncela or Gómez de la Serna… In the end everything leaks out.

The main character is a comedian from La Mancha who makes monologues. I can’t think of where he got his inspiration from.

Emilio Escribano is not me, but choosing him as the protagonist allows me to write about things that I know well. Of course, writing about what you know should be done by all writers, except perhaps science fiction. Although I do not know, because there are many science fiction novels about breakdowns [ríe]…

Emilio’s fame makes him a pretty sorry guy. How did you handle the matter?

I have also felt a bit confused when I have reached a certain level of success or popularity. Let’s see, we are not Lionel Messi either, but it is true that one can fall into foolishness quite easily, although I have a fairly bearable fame. The dangerous thing is not the success itself, but what one does with the success. Emilio loses his papers and enters a loop of guilt and justification and I do identify with that because at times I have been able to feel that way too. Then you gain perspective and you see that things are not so bad.

Emilio often confuses making laugh with being loved. Is that an evil that can be extended to the comedian species?

The comedian in general is usually highly appreciated. I feel like this. Another thing is to get them to take you seriously or to understand that you don’t have to be in funny mode all the time. The way in which Emilio’s fans relate to him in the book is taken from my experience. And there you find everything. Like those people who feel the need to be on the edge with you, who I suppose they do to lower your fumes, so you almost have to thank them.

“Comedians must grow old with their audience. It is very difficult to attract younger people »


Do comedians live with a permanent fear of being out of date and being overtaken by new ways of making humor?

Yes, totally. That is a fear that always accompanies you. I have come to the conclusion that comedians must grow old with their audience. Humor generally works from shared codes and it is very difficult to attract a younger audience from there. Getting to skip a generation is already a great success. And beware, some have managed to do it, such as Faemino and Tired, but it is something very rare. Few comedians have long careers. We are already lasting a long time.

There is now also a questioning not only of the forms but also of the topics on which humor is made.

I am that that speech of “you can no longer make humor of anything” because I have not just seen it. Today there is more humor than ever: on television, in the cinema, on social networks, and people consume it and ask for it. Humor unites us, perhaps more than anything else. And humor, when shared, is the best there is. Another thing is that we do not have to amuse the same things as 20 years ago. The world has changed, society has changed, and I don’t think it’s bad that the comedian has to rethink things that he didn’t think about for a while. I think that says something good about us as a society. You can make humor of everything, the question is the focus. There are jokes that I no longer do, things that I did in the past and that I would not do now. It’s okay for everyone to take responsibility for the jokes they make and the jokes they tell.

The book includes a series of neologisms and idiosyncratic expressions with their corresponding explanation …

Actually, I have tried not to include many idioms from La Mancha, because that has already been studied well, and instead to put neologisms, invented expressions that we use among friends and that make me very funny.

I am fascinated by the definition of trofollata. “When in an Italian restaurant food is ordered more deliberately”.

The trofollata comes from trofollo, which is an expression that Raúl Cimas used and which basically means fat. And Ernesto Sevilla, who is very greedy, took it out one day when we went to an Italian restaurant: «What? Shall we make a trofollata? ». And there it stayed.

Makes sense. It even sounds like an Italian word.

Yes, that makes it funnier. The thing is that we were at La Tagliatella that day and, of course, at La Tagliatella his thing is to make a trofollata.


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