by Kevin Vaughn

Earlier this year a short called “Piropos” spread around the web like wild fire. It starred Malena Pichot, known previously for her youtube personality “La Loca de Mierda”, playing various characters that different men in the streets are compelled to flash their dicks at. The situations are as ridiculous as they are shockingly sincere. The short set the standard, and what began as a simple segue from youtube fame to late-night television for the comedian has launched the most hilarious thing to hit the Argentine airwaves in a while, “Cualca”, and has put four other young comedians on the radar.

The set-up: each week Pichot and her four onscreen partners, Julián Doregger, Julián Kartun, Julián Lucero and Charo López, produce three 20 second sketches called “Micros” and another short for the late night show “Duro de Domar”. The series has single-handedly (at least for this writer) given hope that late-night television may eventually become something more elevated than Bailando por un sueño. Rather than the hyper machismo or empty consumerism that is generally celebrated by the mainstream, “Cualca” lambastes the social code. This is comedy that stings the stomach while tricking you into thinking. Fingers crossed for some sort of SNL copy or a regular series a la the ingeniously awkward comedy of “Louie” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. 

We got a chance to send some questions over to Charo López, the show’s token “Almodóvar girl”, to talk about her addiction to jokes, comedy in Argentina and the future of “Cualca”.

Were you always the class clown?

No not at all. I was always super timid and sat in the row with all the nerds. We joked around a lot making drawings and songs. It was our way of defending ourselves from the cool kids but in secret.

I read “The Bedwetter”, Sarah Silverman’s auto-biography, and she says that when she was a little girl it became this addiction to make people laugh. Did you experience something similar?

Humor is my form of communication. It’s the way in which I socialize and work. I joke around even when I’m alone, if that’s an addiction I need rehab. I’m not a clown 24 hours a day but I think everything is a lot easier if there is humor in it.

How would you describe your sense of humor? What are the things that you like to make jokes about?

I have a pretty acidic sense of humor. I like to talk sincerely, criticize things from different perspectives. I love to put myself in the place of the things that hurt me or that I think are unjust or hypocritical even if that means putting my own injustices and hypocrisies on blast. I have fun exposing myself and that space that is kind of ambiguous, those moments where you don’t know if it’s a joke or not. I’m interested in showing different realities about the obvious, put myself in an absurd world and show that everything is completely absurd.

What is the stand-up scene like in Argentina?

There is a little bit of everything. The scene is really big so sometimes you find really incredible people and sometimes not so much. But it’s really fantastic that there are so many people in the theaters with a public, it’s tremendous.

How did Cualca get started?

It was Male’s [Pichot] idea, they contacted her to do something for Duro de Domar and she proposed Cualca.

The show got big really quickly. Did that surprise you guys? What did you think was going to happen?

Yeah, we are really happy about it. It is surprising, we didn’t know that all of this would happen. We couldn’t really ask for more.

Cualca has a visual and narrative style that is pretty different from what you normally see on TV here. Did you guys start with a specific vision you wanted to accomplish or have you guys been figuring out as you go along?

I think all of us are slowly understanding the show. What we want to accomplish is creating a humor that looks good on screen and has solid content. Cualca is the result of a lot of people’s work, the actors, the guys at Building Motion Ideas and Cande Rosito in costuming. We are a huge team, the results stem from that.

You guys talk about a lot of social themes, about women’s rights, class, a lot of commentary about the upper class. What message are you trying to get across?

We give our opinion about those things because we want to take advantage of the space and the people that want to listen. It’s a luxury to be able to laugh and think at the same time, show that there are a lot of things in life that are cualca (short for cualquiera, literally “whatever”).

Do you guys have plans to transform it into it’s own series?

We dream about a lot of things.

Do you think that Argentine television is ready for that?

We’d have to try it out.

What do you do when people catcall you? It doesn’t ever make you want to throw one back at them?

I have a few borrowed comebacks that I use when I get a catcall depending on who it comes from. No matter who it is I leave it real clear that I don’t like them at all. That someone feels the need to show me that they want to fuck me doesn’t raise my self-esteem or get me excited. I don’t think it’s romantic. It feels aggressive and invasive. I don’t catcall either, I wouldn’t know how, I don’t really fit into that group. If I want to tell someone that they’re cute I’ll figure out a different way. I think that the catcall is a macho scheme with rules that some men and women like, I’ll pass.

To finish off, who is your favorite Almodovar girl?

I think I love all of them. But if I had to choose, Rosy Depalma and Chus Lampreave, then probably Alaska and Marisa Paredes.