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Brazil's Comics Lead New Resistance to Elites

Brazil looks to be in the throes of a significant new stage of cultural evolution: Long-standing allegiances to celebrities and authority figures are being undermined by an emerging generation of politically irreverent stand-up comedians.

Comic Danilo Gentili is leading the charge. If he were telling the jokes that make up his current routine during the reign of Brazil’s former military regime, he could have wound up dead, he says. But social media have helped change that. Heightened public visibility through online exposure gives the country’s stand-up comics considerable protection from the politicians they target, The Guardian reports. –ARK

The Guardian:

… in a country with a reputation for deference to celebrity and authority, he [comedian Danilo Gentili] and the hundreds of fellow stand-ups filling bars and clubs across Brazil represent an increasingly influential break with the past.

Brazil has a rich history of political satire and humour in literature, theatre, art and on television. But never before has it enjoyed such a vibrant stand-up scene, with artists who feel so free to speak their minds. Gentili, for example, the son of a typewriter repair man from the industrial outskirts of São Paulo, has more than two million followers on Twitter. His business partner and fellow comedian Rafinha Bastos was recently named the world’s most influential Twitterer, ahead of Barack Obama, Lady Gaga and Oprah Winfrey.

… Less than 30 years ago, under the military regime, Gentili’s public swipes at politicians would have got him arrested or expelled. “Or dead,” he says drily. But the new, self-confident Brazil, one of the world’s fastest-emerging economic powers, is a different place. And a new generation is falling in love with stand-up performers. “It could never have happened [during the dictatorship],” said Gentili. “Probably in the first two minutes of the show the army would have moved into the theatre and there would have been no more show.”

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