Derbez is an expert in detecting hidden laughter

Eugenio Derbez has developed a clinical eye for hidden laughs thanks to the “LOL México” comedy contest in which the craziest jokes and pranks are allowed, even offbeat, but in which the participating comedians are not allowed to laugh.

In the fifth season, the first two episodes of which are broadcast this Friday on the Prime Video streaming platform, Derbez is armed with 50 cameras to detect the slightest laugh and also has assistants who monitor the competitors. The only place where there are no cameras, he says, is the bathroom.

The main rule remains the same, those who laugh will be kicked out and whoever manages to stay in the LOL house for six hours without laughing wins a huge prize which will be donated to a charitable cause.

The competitors are big losers from previous seasons, very famous comedians, audience favorites who deserved a second chance: Capi Pérez, Liliana Arriaga “La Chupitos”, El Diablito, Slobotzky, Ricardo Pérez, Ricardo Peralta, Juan Carlos “El Borrego” Nava and Isabelle Fernández.

The program is the adaptation of “Dokyumentaru” by Japanese comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto released in 2016, but as happened with tropicalized sushi in Mexico, with ingredients like mango and avocado, the local version of LOL ( whose initials stand for “Last One Laughing” or the last to laugh) has been well received around the world and since its premiere in 2018 has led to other adaptations in countries such as Brazil, Australia, Spain and Italy.

“It was a surprise, I did not expect the ‘LOL’ project to be such a success because from the beginning I always said it and I was always very aware that it was an experience, it’s a social experience,” Derbez said in an interview with Video Call from Los Angeles.

“Having a space where you can say whatever you want to talk about whatever you want, with this freedom where there’s no censorship, where you’re allowed to say anything, I think that’s very refreshing for the comedian and the audience, that they know it’s all happening here and I think that’s one of the reasons why LOL is already in its fifth season,” he added.

Things escalate very quickly in the first chapter, where there is a sex simulation, a quinceañera, wrestlers and shots of tequila. It’s definitely an adult program.

“I’ve always said it, if they’re too closed or there are things that can bother them, don’t see it because in LOL everything goes,” Derbez said.

On this occasion, the participation of two competitors La Chupitos and Fernández stands out. Derbez acknowledged that in comedy, women are still a minority.

“Isabel and La Chupitos made a very good performance, they are both wonderful and now they come for everything, they come with the intention of winning the prize,” he said.

But what was definitely different about this season was that instead of laughing, those who couldn’t control themselves ended up laughing a lot.

“They haven’t stopped offering a second and you’ll see that because the laughs they elicit are candid,” Derbez said. “Nothing more than a smile was achieved, here you will see several laughs, it’s very funny for people to see how they break up with a joke.”

It’s not strange that comedians inside and outside of Mexico give cause to talk because of inappropriate jokes about sensitive situations for those involved. For Derbez, it is difficult to navigate between the culture of cancellation and at the same time respecting the limits not to be exceeded.

“It deserves a long debate…Now I feel like everyone is offended by a lot of things,” he said. “It’s clear to me that there are jokes that shouldn’t be told that are offensive or that can hurt and that aren’t valid either, but that line is very thin and it’s also a very thin line. subjective,” he said.

As an example, he recalled that his mother, actress Silvia Derbez, died of cancer, but he wouldn’t be offended to hear a joke about a woman with the disease, despite being aware that if he ever tells a joke about drunks it might offend someone who has an alcoholic in their family.

“I swear I don’t associate it with my mum, to me it’s a joke and that’s it, but there are people who get offended very easily and that’s where the line is very fine. and that we can cross it at any time,” he added. said.

Derbez had his fans nervous this year when it was revealed he suffered an accident while playing with a virtual reality set which left him with a broken shoulder in late August. He is still recovering.

“I’m doing pretty well, I think better than the doctor expected, better than I thought, but still a bit frustrated because I’m still a long way from having the movement I had before in my arm,” said he declared. “It will depend on my physio to see how far I go, but I’m doing pretty well and I’m happy with what I’ve improved.”

The accident led Derbez to miss the premiere of the film “Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe” (“Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe”), based on the homonymous book by Benjamín Alire Sáenz, at the International Festival Toronto Film Festival in early September.

Aitch Alberto’s film is set in El Paso in 1987 and tells the story of two Mexican-American teenagers. Derbez, Eva Longoria, Max Pelayo, Reese Gonzales, Luna Blaise, Isabella Gomez and Kevin Alejandro star in the film co-produced by, among others, Derbez and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Derbez said he will go to upcoming festivals where he will perform. And for the moment he no longer sees such virtual reality sets.

“It’s extremely dangerous, you don’t know the number of cases that are coming to hospitals, I found out now that I was with the doctor… Lots of virtual reality cases,” he said .

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