Was born for this. This is the impression that one has when seeing Agustín “Soy Rada” Aristarán live. Every gesture, every smile, every joke, everything shows that the show is not his job but responds to something more primal: it simply cannot help being that way. Magician since his school daysA comedian by nature and an intrepid singer, Rada seems to have histrionics in his veins. Today, all this led to great tours presenting his monologues and a sweeping success with his sketches for social networks. But he doesn’t believe in fate: believes in serendipity and the unpredictability of life.
¿Serendipity? It is an unexpected discovery or find and casual that occurs while looking for something different. As your career as a magician makes you earn more than your old ones being a minor, become a father at age 21 and Have your daughter change your life, or premiere a stand-up special through streaming in the midst of a pandemic that will be seen by thousands of people around the globe. All that and a little more is about –exactly– Serendipity, Rada’s second production for Netflix.
Illusions and illusionism
“No path is linear and chance always does its thing,” explains Rada himself about the show, in which interspersed comedy with illusionism, singing outbursts with physical humor. Everything, according to the times: recorded in an empty theater, with hundreds of vacant seats that no one will occupy. The nightmare of every performer is transformed into the playground from which Agustín dares to let loose all the Radas that live within him.
-Serendipia is a show that you have been presenting in theater for several years now. How was the challenge of bringing it to the screen as a special?
-The proposal had been talked about for a long time and was liked, but with the pandemic things were shelved a bit. It was there that, speaking with my producer, the idea of do it without an audience. Netflix loved it: They had never done it that way and it would be the first. They changed things in the structure and in the way of doing it, in addition to that the duration was modified, to make it more concise. But it was still filmed as if it were in real time: “Action” was said and “Cut” was said at the end of the show. It did not stop in the middle.
– This work without an audience, didn’t it make you lose your back and forth with the people a bit?
-In a special it is sought that nothing is modified for the screen; let it be the faithful record of a live show. But doing it without people allowed us to play a little more with the cameras on stage, because at no point am I turning my back on anyone. What happens is that it is a show that can be done quietly without an audience: we had presented it and worked so hard with the whole team that we understand it perfectly. But it is definitely not a typical show. Every now and then you forget that there are no people, and when the empty seats are shown there is a contrast with which your brain says: “Oops, what’s going on here?”
-Serendipia talks about the challenges and the unexpected in life, although in a humorous way. What role does laughter play in such an uncertain moment?
-Humor always fulfills the same role: that of analgesic or antibiotic, depending on the pathology of the one who receives and the one who does it. Humor is recreation; It is taking something that is a garrón, but speaking it with a maturity that allows you to laugh.
Humor always fulfills the same role: that of an analgesic or antibiotic, depending on the pathology of the one who receives and the one who does it.
-Garrón like what?
– I speak, for example, of my panic attacks but from the comedy, because I already lived them. Maybe if you are suffering them right now, you can’t do it. But I went through them and I can tell it differently. In moments like this, in which we are all the time behind the “last moment”, comedy fulfills the role of inviting us to laugh a bit. If not, we go crazy.
-In that invitation to laughter, a debate arises that is already a classic in comedy: whether or not there are things that one cannot laugh at. How do you position yourself on this?
-For me one can laugh at anything, even the darkest and bravest that you can think of. You can do comedy, but what gives you the limit is the context in which you do it. When you get together with a very close friend, surely you make jokes that you would not dare to say anywhere else and if that person were not there. Because that other understands you, he knows that you are laughing at the joke and not at what you are saying. Any WhatsApp, even the most “pure”, must have its unmistakable jokes. And they make us laugh. Anyway, I position myself in a place of very white humor. Even though I fence church a bit and talk about marijuana, you compare me to other comedians, and you see how soft it is.
-In another of your facets, magic, you took a position and affirmed that it is macho. Do you feel that machismo weighs heavily on entertainment?
-Yes very much. I can’t speak it knowing what happens to a woman, but I can see it. In the media in which entertainment is given, be it a theater or another format, you notice a level of machismo that, although it is a little lower, still exists. But we should already be talking about the fact that it no longer exists; of total equality. In the world of magic it is very clear, based on the fact that one of the best known tricks includes a woman inside a sarcophagus who is cut in half. That is tremendous. The woman is put as an object at the service of a type. In Serendipity I wanted to talk about it.
Light. Soy Rada plays with the idea that anything can happen.
– Make a complaint, let’s say?
-I would not say that it is “denounce”, because I don’t want to get off the line, but it does show that with all the wonderful and innocent that surrounds magic, like the appearance and disappearance of an egg, there is also that other side.
-The thing about “not going down the line” you took him to politics and generated debate in networks by lamenting that everything was politicized. Do you feel that as a comedian you are expected to talk about it?
– At one point I was very conflicted: I did not know if I should give my opinion or not on all things. Then I decided: “The two eggs!”. I can’t talk about everything. I am a comedian; sometimes I wear glasses and dress like a unicorn, which for some is great and for others it is bullshit. I don’t know if I can comment on how Alberto Fernández has to buy vaccines. Sometimes they ask you to give your opinion because if they do not qualify you as “lukewarm”. What do I know if I am lukewarm or not. I don’t have to talk about everything. This is how the things we see in the media happen later: anyone talks about whatever it is, and it sucks. If you are not an epidemiologist, do not tell the lady who is watching you not to get vaccinated because they are going to inject her with a chip. Better shut up and let the scientists do the talking.
-It is a bit the double nature of the networks: one day they may criticize you for your positions or not give an opinion, but on the other hand it allows you a great diffusion. Are you grateful to them?
-They changed my life. Instead of a chabón who was celebrating his birthday hiring me to be seen by his friends, today each of them buys a ticket to see me at the theater of their own free will. They allowed me to talk today about a second special, about having dubbed for The Lion King and a lot of other things that are amazing. On a personal level, I can only speak highly of it. But globally, I think it allowed all of us to have a little more voice. That a chabón, with a microphone and an average computer beaten with brooms, can record a song that adds more than 50 million reproductions. That is also the networks.
The networks changed my life. Instead of a chabón who was celebrating his birthday hiring me to be seen by his friends, today each one of them buys a ticket to see me of his own free will.
-You deal with issues that for many are inconvenient, such as marijuana and sexual awakening, but always from your own experiences. How do you do not feel exposed?
-I don’t feel exposed, because what I’m telling is real. Everything I say happenedEither the anecdote of my old ultra-smoked man, calling me and my brother because my mother didn’t know what to do, or that we used to play exorcisms with my daughter when she was little. Of course there is a comedy seasoning to make it attractive and fun, but they are things that happened. I feel that the comedian who talks about himself cannot tell lies and things that did not happen. I would feel exposed if someone revealed something about me that I don’t want to show, but here I am the one who decides and I structure it in a certain way that makes me feel comfortable.
-Many of those anecdotes include your daughter, who is now a teenager, and fatherhood, which you assure changed your life. Does she like to play your game?
-Bianca not only saw the special with me, but accompanied me from the rehearsals in which it was conceived, a few years ago. Every season he was there, also on tours. She tells me what she is most proud of in her dad. My daughter’s mother even went to see me with her husband, and I talk about her a lot in the monologue. They take it super well.
-What do you think of parents who involve their children in the networks without consent?
-Every thing my daughter is involved in, be it an Instagram video or a reaction video, is consulted. Because she is traversed by what I am doing, whether she participates or I tell about her. I always consult her.
This is how it looks. Serendipity, the empty theater show on Netflix.
-In addition, you make part of the rest of your family.
-Yes, but I don’t make a reality show of my life. In reality, it is not known what my life is like outside of what I tell: I show what I want to show. When I’m streaming on Twitch and my old folks drop in and show up, they’re aware that there are a lot of people on the other side watching. But that’s what spontaneity is: they are like that, and with my dad you die of laughter, it is very intense. They know how it is and they take over the game without being obliged.
-At the end of the show, you reflect that life takes directions that one never expects. What balance do you make of your own serendipities?
-The balance I make is not a 10 huh. I’d say it’s 1,000! It’s so much more than I ever imagined as a kid. But I didn’t have time to imagine what I wanted to be either, and I don’t want to imagine where I’m going to get from now on. I am doing things and, more than ever, I wait for the serendipities that life offers me. But they don’t come just because. One cannot stand idly by, waiting for a signal to come and tell you: “This is the way here.”