HAVANA TIMES — Laughing is nothing more than showing joy or rejoicing with inarticulate sounds, accompanied by certain movements of the face and body. It is making fun of people and things, and show that they are not taken seriously.
Laughter is considered one of the best therapies. It makes you relax and distracts you. But for Cubans, laughter is almost a way of life. What for people in other countries would be something of concern or regret, or perceived so circumspect, for us it is taken as a joke .
Something like the saying … if your ill has no cure, why the hurry … It could well be … if your ill has no cure, then laugh about it … We make jokes and parodies of every aspect of our lives.
The joke is part of the national character. Not surprisingly, we have always had a whole host of comedians.
In every art form wit is present. But the comedians have become one of the most esteemed artists groups and their presentations draw audiences as large or larger than that of any singer or popular band.
The Humor Promotion Center must be one of the most profitable companies in the country. Though ticket prices tend to be a bit high, the theaters are crammed for presentations .
The comedy show Por humor a vos is currently on a national tour with three of most well known comedians in the country Kike Quiñones, Carlos Gonzalvo and Luis Silva. These last two popularly known for their characters Mentepollo (Dr. chicken brain) and old Panfilo.
The first is a “multifaceted doctor,” who can be writing a book, giving a lecture, or doing some scientific or sociological research.
The second is “retired,” obsessed with the ration card, the poor quality of the bread, the day the chicken ration arrives and how little his pension purchases.
In their monologues, both the studies of Mentepollo and the lamentations of Panfilo, are strong social criticisms on the situation of food, transportation, low wages, bureaucracy, corruption, among many of our ailments.
That sarcasm that characterizes us brings the laughter of thousands of people. They make us chuckle with issues as pathetic as remembering the sad days of the Special Period crisis of the ‘90s, which in another country with a different culture would be something forgotten or of forced solemnity when mentioned.
Comedians make us laugh heartily about our shortages, our limitations, our miseries. Sometimes a little biting, especially when laughter is at the expense of gays, blacks, or the people from the provinces .
But that’s who we are. It has been an excellent strategy to survive the stress. We make fun of others and laugh at ourselves.