BY Alejandro Feregrino-. The television series ‘El Chavo del 8’ is probably the most important comedy show on Mexican television.
‘Chavo’ began as a sketch and from 1973 to 1980 had its own program. Later it was integrated as part of ‘Chespirito’ and continued until 1992, when it ended its broadcasts because its creator Roberto Gómez Bolaños ‘Chespirito’ refused the company’s decision to change the day of transmission to weekends. .
But when the program finally ended, the actor Édgar Vivar, who played ‘Señor Barriga’ and the boy ‘Ñoño’, did not even receive a thank you from Televisa.
“Not even thank you very much. I came to find out from the newspaper, I swear. They didn’t notify me,” he told Darío Ripoll in an interview for his YouTube channel ‘Acapulco en la azotea’.
After reading the news, he called Gómez Bolaños and asked him what had happened. Then, the producer explained that Televisa had the project to transform the Canal de las Estrellas into the Canal de las Telenovelas.
“It didn’t work and they soon returned to the format we still know, but it was the Telenovelas Channel,” he recalled.
Of all the programming that existed on the channel at that time – Vivar explained – Televisa only wanted to rescue ‘El Chavo del 8’ and ‘Mujer, casos de la vida real’, which was hosted by Silvia Pinal.
But Gómez Bolaños did not allow it and preferred to put an end to the project that, at its best, was seen every week by more than 350 million people in a large part of the American continent.
“Roberto told me something that weighed heavily on me: ‘we need vacations’ and I told him ‘you are absolutely right'”.
The period of depression
After a period of rest, Vivar tried to resume his career as an actor, but he ran into a complicated reality: after so many years playing ‘Señor Barriga’, ‘Ñoño’ and ‘Botijas’, it was very difficult to get rid of those characters in the imagination of viewers.
“At first -he admits- I did get depressed, but it lasted about three months and I said ‘this is not over’. So I grabbed my little things and went to Spain, I went to Argentina and I produced things there, I produced a series with Adriana Barraza (…) that gave me new energy”.
In Bolivia, Argentina and other countries where “El Chavo del 8” was well known, he continued to perform with the characters that made him famous in comedies and circuses.
“You have to invent and reinvent yourself, and this gives you new energy, and above all it makes you see how capable it can be (…) now I see it from a distance and it’s good that it happens.”
In recent decades, after overcoming some physical problems that put his life at risk and losing several dozen kilos, Vivar has strongly resumed his acting career with projects in different countries.
For example, he was the voice of chef Auguste Gusteau in ‘Ratatouille’ and ‘Dug’ in ‘Up: a high adventure’; in the film ‘El orfanato’ by Juan Antonio Bayona, he was a rather unique parapsychologist; and he also had an appearance in the American movie ‘Bandidas’ alongside Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek.
But for him, the years with ‘El Chavo’ and ‘Chespirito’ are a treasure that he will always keep in his heart.
“I can walk from the Rio Grande -he told Omar Chaparro some time ago- No! I think from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and I have friends who have not been introduced to me”.
Despite the fact that he had a thorn stuck with Televisa, Édgar Vivar always thanked ‘Chespirito’ for the opportunity to be part of his programs.
“Roberto was an exceptional being in many ways. He never sought fame, and I have always said that fame should be a consequence of your work, not your goal.”
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