Raúl Cimas: “Sometimes you have to sit down and talk to yourself”

When it crossed my mind to do a series of talks, with friends, more or less known, but certainly important within the cultural scene, I thought it would be good to call them something like:‘Talks from confinement’. But as soon as I spoke to Raúl Cimas and told him that, unfortunately, it would be by phone, he from his house and I from mine instead of in a bar, he replied that he accepted only if he left him a promissory note, because we would have those beers later .

His plan seemed much more lucid to me than mine. In addition, he conveyed better that last end of these talks that begin with him and, thanks to him, what the hell, they have changed the nomenclature to ‘A pending beer’ that may well represent that coffee, or that tap water that we all want to share with someone again. And also, soon; but above all, knowing ourselves safe. Meanwhile, I have invited a few friends -and only in exchange for a pending beer-, to share a while,to tell us how they are carrying this quarantine, how their plans have been and what are the great things they will do soon, very soon. I am convinced that you are going to be surprised and, if at any point, they make us smile – I have laughed out loud – I consider the euros for a beer well invested.

Raúl Cimas was caught in confinement precisely when he had isolated himselfin a small house in the mountains of the Sierra Madrileña. He had managed to put together a few days of vacation to work on the script for the next film ‘Camera Café’. Now he combines this work with that of the programs ‘Late Motiv’ or ‘Zero in history’, of which he is a collaborator more than usual, essential and that, like him, have been reinvented, to continue entertaining the public, now from home.Two miniseries have been removed from his sleeve since his confinement: ‘El hombre y el terroño’(a tribute to ‘Man and Earth’ in true Cimas style)and ‘Chat with Fire’, co-starring with Fire Johnson, who is none other than the fire in his fireplace, with whom he talks so as not to go crazy (or perhaps because it is too late), as if he were Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’, with the important difference that Fire responds and Wilson was never shown for the work.

In addition to the script, the shows and the miniseries, he tells me thathe is drawing a lot, reading, playing the guitar, cooking, chopping wood and even making lye with ashes(Fire must be proud). He is a man who copes well with loneliness, friendly and full of energy that prints in everything he touches. We talked about his trips to Eivissa and how the island changed his vision of nature in some way and even marked the place where he now lives.

I tell him that these days I have reread ‘Prodigios’, his third book that he signed for me (along with the doodle of a demoniac watching over the barbecue) in November. The illustrated book in the broadest sense of the word -Cimas started studying Fine Arts before becoming the well-known television figure-, is full of impossible characters only in appearance. I tell him that I have a favorite: Carlos_paqui, a hater with no other task than to curse any publication of the attractive Birdman who is becoming an influencer before our eyes. The portrait he makes of the world, beyond social networks, is indeed prodigious.

– When they ask you what you do, what do you answer?
– Humorist. Do you realize that comedians throughout history have sung, acted, drawn, written?Humor has many waysto work for.

– Who are you quarantining with? Where are you passing them?
– In the Sierra. I was lucky to be caught a few days before vacationing in a house in the mountains and I’m still here, alone.I’m working on the script for the movie ‘Camera Café’, I came to finish the script and, you see.

– I have seen that these days ‘Camera Café’ has shared a short film encouraging people to stay home and that it is frankly good.
– Yes, it was a surprise to see how people remember them because this is a world, that of television, frankly unfair.The programs, the people, end up dying in the memory. I have been fortunate to participate in things like ‘Niñada Nui’, ‘La hora chanante’, which have remained in the collective memory of people, but the truth is that there are few cases.

– However, we live in a time when perhaps fame has never been so democratic. In other words, perhaps it has never been so easy for anyone to achieve a minute of glory. Then you have to keep it.
– Well, fame, for me, is probably the worst of all this. And I don’t believe much in that democracy of fame. What happens to me is that it usually coincides that I think of the authors, writers, singers, directors that I like, and they are not usually the most famous and, in addition, that measuring stick that is used, seems completely unfair to me .You have to remember what “the dough” is; the mass crucified Jesus, the mass glorified Hitler … You have to be careful with the mass.

– This story between stories from your book ‘Prodigies’, the Bird Man, explains the evolution of this fame, of this mass of social networks.
– Well, that Bird Man representshow do i see popularity. He’s supposed to be a man with a unique talent: a man who can fly, yet uses it to gain followers on Instagram and to go out posing handsome when he could be out there, saving lives. Could I do many more things and that? it’s really happening.

This character is attractive, but then you have those others: Fran Lombriz, the cadastre clerk who, apparently, are not. However, the beginning is the same for everyone: they pose for that photo from the social network that makes them a girlfriend. They are handsome or uglier than the ciborium, but all have that girlfriend who photographs them because for her they are the most handsome.
– Beauty and success are two perishable things and probably, more (laughs) even subnormal. To me, of course,It gives me more pleasure to go to bed thinking that I have done something worthwhile, who has brought out laughter, who has not offended anyone and perhaps in another format would have gotten more applause. Success for me is being able to sleep well.

– And in the matter of being offended, how much do you think you have in offending someone and how much do you think he is the one who takes offense?
– Well, I think nowit is fashionable to have thin skin and that you have to rebel a little against all that. There is a desire to put yourself in the role of the victim … Humor, clearly, has a part of incorrectness, now, between that and throwing the stone, going to directly offend a person excusing himself in humor, there is a great grayscale.

What are you telling me that the humorist is getting more and more violent in response to people being more stupid? That people are becoming increasingly sensitive because humor is more aggressive?
– I don’t know, I’ve seen both. In my case, I have spent many years working on white humor, which is the most difficult; away from politics, when I have seen things like this, it has always seemed unfair to me. And then, about opinions, is what we talked about before the mass.It seems that everything is overprimed. It seems that everyone has to comment on everything and thus the opinion is devalued. The opinion of people who have two fingers in front is hidden among the hundreds of thousands of opinions of people who do not think for a second before giving their opinion.

– Ignatius said that we have also made a mistake in calling freedom of expression freedom of expression. That there are those who have ended up confusing freedom of expression with obligation of expression.
– I in ‘La resistance’ told an anecdote from the first time I gave my opinion: it was once that my grandmother had made custard and, in front of the whole family who was admiring the custard,it occurred to me to say that I liked Danone’s more. Then my brother said to me: “Do you know why it is?”, “Why?”, “Because you are an asshole.” And the whole family laughed at me! Even my grandmother laughed, where has a grandmother seen laughing at her grandson! And sometimes your opinion has to be screwed up your ass, but there are people who go around trying to show that they have a personality and are very lazy.

– Tell me about your confinement, are you doing sports? What are you doing?
– Well, I’m doing many things and many creative things. I’m making lye with the ash from the fireplace …

-[Le interrumpo]Bleach with the ashes? I didn’t imagine you at all in confinement doing bleach!
– You are right. And it’s great to spend time on things like that. I think it is a long-term anthropological work; you come across those “ways” that they worked with in the past. And I do sports too, in the garden and that here has snowed. Believe me, between going for firewood, working, there is a lot to do. You arrive with your back shattered at seven in the afternoon.I am also feeding cats that walk around here, and between writing, preparing the recordings …The important thing is to keep your head entertained, get away from the news, try to get to the end of the day tired. That the news has to be seen, stay informed, yes, but once a day, not be all day. But not now with this. It happened before. It is one of the things that I would reflect on. We went from being able to make a political joke because nobody cared about politics. Then, after the 2008 crisis, after the camping, we entered a dynamic that needed to be changed, but which I think is excessive now. There are channels that dedicate all day to the hit I hit you; red versus blue, and there are people out there who are already hard to talk to. At least one other thing.

– What do you miss that you had not imagined? And on the contrary, what surprised you that a month ago you would have thought you would miss and now you see that you did not?
– It seems like a lie, butprobably nothing. Taking into account that it is unnatural that you have to be locked up in your house and that you do not have the freedom of movement, of going to see the people you love, of receiving them; of hugging my mother, my brothers or my friends. But given the circumstances,I am a person who has been very lucky to be where I am. You have to be aware and sensitive to the different realities that exist and I have a garden, I can sunbathe. I have more possibilities than many. But I am also someone who has always cultivated and enjoyed being at home: I like to read, I like to write, I like to play the guitar, cook? I think we live in a time when, a priori, it shouldn’t be a drama to be home for a month, compared to all the good you do. I understand that for people who have to live together, a couple, with children in a small flatIt can end up being maddening, but it is not my case. My house is very humble, but it is in a beautiful place.

– I’m thinking about your recordings of these days, being alone. They are full of planes, of angles … Do you put the mobile to record and you start to run trusting that you will be seen to realize after not seeing you? And the screams that sound? You yell at yourself!
-[Risas]Yes, exactly so. Well, I record the plans and then send them to a friend who edits them and forwards them to me and so, over and over again, in this way.It is a much slower job, of course, and more difficult, but it is that I had already made silence in working with small budgets. ‘Nitrous Oxide’, ‘Low Cost Cinema in Spanish Version’, were four bitches; the series with my friends for ‘Late Motiv’? Somehow I have trained until I have hit the bottom of “me alone with a mobile.” I think it can no longer be done with less. I don’t know, Chinese shadows with your hands, it will be next.

– I value much more when you see that home point, that human point behind the scenes. And I enjoy watching the special effects; the shabby ones, the “old ones”. For example, I read about the recording of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and the snow was asbestos!
– Precisely that film had atrocious results.Some actors got sick after so many hours after those makeups. Maybe you do not know, but the asbestos destroyed the entire wardrobe of Espinete, of the ‘One, two, three?’ Because they are stored in the same place where there were parts of asbestos. It gives you to think about so much work and what is the use of having something like that stored so long.

– That’s what I think about those old cinema posters, those big hand-painted canvases, some brutal works of art, and when the next premiere arrived, they were painted over! So you don’t have to spend money on another canvas.
– Yes, it had to be very painful for the artist.

– Or to know, or maybe he didn’t care. Can you imagine that they would have been taken to a museum, anywhere in the world? I would go.
– Well, there is a part of art that is perishable. Look at the ninots of the Fallas, for example, authentic sculptures and they burn.

– The works made of chalk on the sidewalks, those fantastic and ephemeral castles on the beach …
-[Risas]It has a certain symbolism. Everything or almost everything dies. Precisely that gives value to the pyramids, to those few things that have been there for so long.

– It seems to me that it is a reflection to take a turn these days of confinement: the value of the ephemeral or non-ephemeral. To begin with, we are ephemeral and fragile and many of us were forgetting.
– Yes, andwe have to value many of the things we have, and others that we had and maybe we won’t have again. And not to take them for granted, but a privilege that we enjoy or have enjoyed and, remembering that, it comes in very handy. Life is like that and probably man, especially Western, from the first world, has a disease of arrogance and self-centeredness and from time to time the Earth reminds him of how small he is.

– Are you one of those who believe that humanity, that people are going to get better out of this?
-[Risas]Well, humanity has an impressive capacity to disappoint, so I would not split a spear. Yes, in the short term, sure, but then everything will be forgotten and we will stumble on the same stone again, which is what man has shown time and time again.

– Maybe this just brings out who you really are. He’s pulling out some miserable ones, but he’s also pulling out numerous heroes who perhaps didn’t even know they were. They thought they were normal and they are not: they are extraordinary.
– Well, I do, however. MeI have always had a lot of confidence in the town, in the citizen, in the neighbor. I think that in the end, the history of the human being is one horror after another, that the world is and will be crap and, well, one tries to impregnate himself with other things, there are many wonderful things. We are capable of the best and the worst, or at least that is what we have shown throughout our history. Now we are amazed at how good we are with you know what, but we are the same society that has Africa starving. The lesson that can be learned from this, I hope, is that many people discover how good they can be with themselves and all that they can learn.You know what’s up That this solitude situation is generally avoided, because in solitude attacks the conscience and you have to sit down, sometimes, to talk to yourself. When I started as a monologist, I traveled alone, I acted alone and I went alone to the hostel and, maybe, since I had no other profession or benefit and I was traveling, I stayed four, five days kicking around the city alone. I have spent many hours alone and I have enjoyed them and maybe at the beginning of those trips that feeling of grief took hold of myself, but that feeling you overcome quickly and you, yourself, are a very good company, and now? What do you have internet, phone?

– And the fridge is full, full of everything you want.
– Exactly. There are people here who are having a very, very bad time, because they are sick or because they are fighting without means against something that overflows them. And you see a number of people lamenting frivolities, demanding attention? This is not the time. This is not your time now. There is a need for applause from others that perhaps, now, is exaggerated: one hundred thousand followers, one hundred thousand ‘likes’, that someone tell you how handsome you are?

– I read around, I don’t remember from whom, something old: “He took pictures of himself as if he needed to remind himself that he exists.” It was like the notice that the ‘selfies’ were going to arrive.
– Can be. However, there were many artists who painted themselves not as self-centeredness, but as punishment. Self-centeredness in man, selfishness, should not be denied.Pride also helps you free yourself from some unfair circumstance that imprisons you. The problem is when this breaks down and the most important thing for you, now? is that imbecility. We are social creatures, we are not made to be alone. That other phrase: “Most of man’s problems are that he cannot be alone at home”; that to me, with a lot of respect because I am sure he would be a great thinker, someone better than me, but he seems like a bullshit. It is like saying “most of man’s problems would be solved if they had wings and could fly2. But the thing is that we do not have them! It is like animals that are not made to be in cages either, and they are caged, and in the end, they rebel. But we have the reason to know why we are doing it. Now. Once you leave, surely you have grown somewhat that ability to see that nothing happens for two months without that little house and for listen to you see what you have to say to yourself.

– One of the many things I have read out there: “If you don’t come out with a book or an idea for a new project or business these days, don’t ever say that what you lack is time.” I believe that there is an audience that is not only evaluating what you do, but also that you come out much stronger. See all the work behind you.
– Who is going to write the script for me! No, no … Well, of course, as anyone is called a ‘comedian’, it is logical that some people believe that they write the scripts for us, but no. That cannot be, they are not comical.

– And as a farewell, what would you like to say to the readers?
Let them stay in their fucking house! Let them listen and take advantage to do many thingsand to reunite with themselves. I am referring to those who are not directly affected by the disease and to those who are, to say that they have all our admiration, that this is a curse, an unfortunate lottery. They don’t deserve it, but that we are all with them, that they get ahead, that we need them. And to you, who have a promissory note, you owe me a beer.

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