By Alejandro Feregrino. The television series ‘El Chao del 8’ is perhaps the most important comedy show on Mexican television.
‘Chao’ started as a painting and had its own project from 1973 to 1980. It was later integrated as part of ‘Chespirito’ and continued until 1992, when creator Roberto Gómez Bolaños rejected the decision of ‘Chespirito’ to change weekends, ending its broadcasts.
But when the show ended, Édgar Vivar, who played ‘Señor Barriga’ and the boy ‘Ñoño’, didn’t even get 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 Gomez Bolanos and asked him what had happened. Later, the producer explained that Televisa had plans to turn Canal de los Estrellas into Canal de los Telenovelas.
“It didn’t work and they soon reverted to the format we still know, but that’s the telenovelas channel,” he recalls.
Of all the shows on the channel at the time – Vivar explained – only ‘El Chavo del 8’ and ‘Mujer, casos de la vida real’, hosted by Silvia Pinal, did Televisa want to recover.
But Gómez Bolaños didn’t let that happen and wanted to end the program, which is watched by more than 350 million people every week in most of the Americas.
“Roberto told me something that weighed heavily on me: ‘We need holidays’ and I told him ‘you’re absolutely right'”.
A period of depression
After a short break, Vivar tried to continue his career as an actor, but he ran into a complicated reality: after years of playing ‘Señor Barriga’, ‘oño’ and ‘Botijas’, it was very difficult to break away. Those characters in the audience’s imagination.
“At first – he admits- I was depressed, but it lasted for about three months and I said ‘It’s not over’. So I grabbed my little things and went to Spain, I went to Argentina, where I produced things, I was with Adriana Barraza (…) Produced a series that gave me new energy”.
In Bolivia, Argentina and other countries where “El Sao del 8” is well known, he continued to perform in comedy and circuses with the characters that made him famous.
“You have to find yourself and renew yourself, it gives you new energy, and above all it makes you see how efficient it can be (…) Now I see it from afar, it’s good that it’s happening.”
In recent decades, after overcoming some life-threatening physical problems and losing dozens of kilos, Vivar has strongly resumed his acting career with projects in various countries.
For example, he was the voice of chef Auguste Gusteau in ‘Ratatouille’ and ‘Duck’ in ‘Up: A High Adventure’; In Juan Antonio Bayona’s ‘El Orfanato’, he was a unique psychiatrist; He also appeared in the American film ‘Panditas’ alongside Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek.
But for him, the years of ‘El Chao’ and ‘Cesspirito’ are the ones he will always treasure 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, I have friends I don’t know”.
Even though he had a thorn stuck in Televisa, Edgar Vivar always thanked ‘Cespirito’ for the opportunity to be a part of his shows.
“Roberto was an exceptional man in many ways. He never sought fame, and I always said that fame should be the result of your work, not your goal.”