An Argentinian comedy-musical group that's internationally popular in Spanish-speaking countries. In Argentina it's equivalent to Monty Python
for its absurd humor and quotability. No relation to Superman's arch-nemesis
The closest thing to this in the USA is P.D.Q. Bach
In case you were wondering, their name is not Spanish; it's French.Members:
- Carlos López Puccio: Violin, keyboards, percussion, viola, cello, vocals, bass, etc.
- Jorge Maronna: Guitar, cello, bass, double-bass, percussion, vocals, keyboards, etc.
- Marcos Mundstock: Percussion, keyboards, trumpet, vocals, etc.
- Carlos Núñez Cortés: Piano, keyboards, recorder, percussion, vocals, etc.
- Daniel Rabinovich: Guitar, violin, bass-pipe, drums, recorder, vocals, bass, keyboards, etc
- Gerardo Masana (1967-1973): Bass-pipe, guitar, percussion, etc.
- Ernesto Acher (1971-1986): Piano, gom-horn, clarinet, percussion, cello, trombone, recorder, etc.
That "etc" includes a wild range of "informal instruments" made by themselves, hence the name (a luthier is a maker of stringed instruments).
For those who don't speak Spanish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7syv95rwXE
For those who speak Spanish but haven't heard of them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro3CTjCM6q0
The first sketch of them that I ever saw, is in Spanish but the second part is quite visual; it is the music of the trailer of a film called The Mysterious Murderer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuTYdXF6_vk
A silent sketch about a silent movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLW-oRP5M7U
This provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Occasional. For instance, Carlos Núñez Cortés sometimes 'plays' a concert pianist (which he is in 'real life') in the sketches. His less-than-desirable ability on guitar is also referenced in one number as well. And then again, jokes are made about Marcos Mundstock's age and Carlos López Puccio's white hair sometimes. Jorge Maronna's character in 'Bossa lividinosa' is called 'Jorginho da Bahia... da Bahia Blanca" (Bahía is a Brazilian town; Bahía Blanca is the Argentine town where Maronna was born).
- Affectionate Parody: More than half of they work are parodies of musical genres and tropes, specially classical music.
- Alliterative Name: All the jazz songs. (Papa Garland had a hat and a jazz band and a mat and a black fat cat (Rag), Pepper Clemens sent the messenger: nevertheless the reverend left the herd (Ten Step), Miss Lilly Higgins sings shimmy in Mississippi's spring (Shimmy), Doctor Bob Gordon shops hot dogs from Boston (Foxtrot), Truthful Lulu pulls thru zulus (Blus))
- Anti-Love Song: Don't worry, someone more handsome will rape you just as one of the examples.
- Appeal To Vanity: Wonderfully, wonderfully subverted in "Jingle Bass Pipe": "You, who are used to success as just one more habit of life... You, who succeed with the same ease in business and in the most exclusive sports... You, who are used to being respected by men and admired by women... You... can you tell us how you do it?".
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Usually subverted, as theirs are mostly actual texts in French, German, Italian, etc. However, there's a straight example from 1971: during a tea ceremony ('Los noticiarios cinematográficos'), the 'alto ambassador' (named Yoko-Hito, who knows why?) sings the following 'Japanese' lyrics: 'Sokiaki, Ho Chi Min, Yoko Ono, Mao Tsé Tsung, Tintenkuli, Chinchulín, Guanban, Chop Suey!'. When they recorded it two years later, they changed it by 'Ikebana, chow en lai, harakiri, tobogán, camiseta, chimpancé, panzón; Mata Hari, salpicón, Honolulu, Tucumán, Walky Talkie, chimpancé, ping pong. Neuquén; Champiñón'.
- Banana Republic: La República de Banania (well, duh) and Feudalia.
- Bilingual Bonus: Some of the background songs that are on another languages are actual songs in English, German, Italian, etc.
- Not to mention a language Marcos Mundstock invented himself: 'Gulevache'.
- Canis Latinicus: 'Gloria', which is presented as an attempt by Johann Sebastian Mastropiero to make a religious sounding song just by putting latin words - or latin-sounding words - is this. And the result is hilarious - because he had made the adaptation for the song from a tango about meeting a woman, going to a date with her and having sex with her several times.
- The Cast Showoff: Well... obviously, as they're all musicians and actors. However, there are some cases worth noting:
- In 1996 - 1999, there was a sketch concerning Daniel Rabinovich working at a 'Suicidal Assistance Centre'. Part of his job consisted of sorting out legal issues with the potential suicide, which he did perfectly, as if he were an actual certified lawyer. Well... he is!
- Though all five (in other times, six or even seven) of them can play piano well, one of them (Carlos Núñez Cortés) is a professional concert pianist, which has been used several times for mock concerti or otherwise elaborate piano parts with or without built-in comedy elements.
- 'Pepper Clemens sent the messenger, nevertheless the reverend left the herd' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTL2lbdMQXU) - It includes 5 minutes of hilarious acting followed by 7 minutes of the cast playing all sorts of instruments many of which are informal.
- Carlos López Puccio's a licensed orchestral conductor. As such, he's conducted (and sometimes scored) the orchestras for most of their studio albums as well as their legendary 1986 recital in Buenos Aires.
- The Coconut Effect: Parodied on The Mysterious Murderer routine where they make the foley of the film trailer.
- Completely Missing the Point: Many of their sketches are like that.
Marcos Mundstock: The dance muse is Terpsícore.
Daniel Rabinovich: Who?
Marcos: Doctor, don't you tell me you don't know who Terpsícore is ...
Daniel: Not by name, maybe if I see her... Esther Píscore, who is she? No, I don't know who she is. No, no, I'd remember her, I have a good memory for that kind of... Esther Píscore, how is she? Is she nice? Well, I don't care for... Is she hot? I say... Esther Píscore. With a name like that, she surely is well known, right? Esther Píscore, ha ha, Esther Píscore is here.
- Continuity Nod: Mastropiero, the jazz pieces with only one vowel, a Huesito William's melody reappearing for fellow singer-songwriter Manuel Darío, Laxatón (the product, not the Cantata) referenced several years later in 1971, the glamocot being used for 'lust' scenes after its original role as 'Oso libidinoso' (e.g. 'Wildstone' [a college couple going to the bedroom] and 'Princesa Caprichosa').
- Mundstock seems to be fond of Poland and Norway: the 1972 piece Si No Fuera Santiagueño mentions the fictional Polish naturalist Vladislav Atamiski; then there's Añoralgias in 1981, which was discovered by Norwegian researcher Sven Kundsen; the black pianist on Tom Mc Coffee (1989) thought she was of Polish ancestry; the conflict resolution on San Ictícola stems from their realisation of Norwegian tourists visiting the place; last but not least, the corrupt politicians in La Comisión decide to make Norway the country's enemy in order to reinforce the country's patriotism and have someone to blame for problems, while at the same time keeping a close relationship with Spain and the USA.
- Antenor is the name of the robot who wants to play with López Puccio throughout the 1978-1979 recital Muchas Gracias de Nada. In 1985, Antenor Vitupterio is one of the characters of the Epopeya de los Quince Jinetes.
- The 1983 piece Entreteniciencia Familiar has a chamber ensemble replacing the fictional tropical quartet Los Brillantes, who hadn't been able to show up because they'd been drinking. Los Brillantes do show up many years later (2008) on Lutherapia to perform Dilema de Amor.
- Warren Sánchez is still in Miami, as of the group's last performance (to date) of his namesake piece. If he decides to stay at the Normandie Hotel, he may run into Huesito Williams.
- Creative Differences: Ernesto Acher. (He preferred to emphasize music over humor, the exact opposite of the group's preference.)
- However, he was an excellent actor.
- He IS an excellent actor.
- On a different (although sometimes related) note, many of their sketches have been 'killed' after a year or two because some of the members don't like them. That was the case, for instance, of 'La gallina dijo "Eureka"', very popular with the audience, but reportedly disliked by most of the group. It was only performed in 1979 and 1980 and never used as encore or in any of the several anthologies they've done. The fact its protagonist (and allegedly the only one who actually liked the sketch) quit the group in '86 doesn't help either...
- Their 1976-1985 manager also split with them, and it seems it wasn't too amicable to say the least.
- Culture Police: Hinted on the Bananian Act routine. Since the most popular children's tales on Banania is "Once upon a time they lived happily ever after".
- Delusions of Eloquence: Usually Rabinovich.
- The Ditz: It's usually Daniel Rabinovitch but sometimes this is also the role of Carlos López Puccio.
- Either World Domination or Something about Bananas: The last part of the Radio Tertulia routine where the Argentine interviewers try to understand the British band London Inspection. (And they fail miserably.)
- Ensemble Cast: While Mundstock and Rabinovich do act more often than the others, they're all in the foreground at some point and they all contribute vastly to at least one creative area: Maronna and López Puccio write scripts, lyrics and music; Marcos Mundstock conceptualises and writes scripts, as well as introductory texts for each piece; Carlos Núñez composes music and builds instruments; Daniel Rabinovich is a versatile improviser, actor and musician whose roles include both comic and serious performances and instruments from several families (e.g., violin, recorder, trombone, drums, keyboards), which is essential for the group.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Subverted with one of the owners of Thompson & Company, the late Mr. Henry Company (on the Quartet for Quintet).
- Everything Is an Instrument: That's what the group is about... well, partly.
- Far East: The Half-Eastern Sonata.
- Fictional Document: Too many to count.
- Flanderization: Daniel Rabinovich in particular.
- In Mastropiero que nunca, Mastropiero was a compositor with plenty of anecdotes a small quantity of them were Take Thats to him. Fast Forward to Lutherapia and the whole show is about making fun of Mastropiero's many flaws, including plagiarizing the auto-biography from another compositor.
- Foreshadowing: Common in their early shows - a member went in 'too soon' and played excerpts from a piece (usually the last or second last in the set) before being cut off by his mates. By the time they did play the piece in question, the audience was already familiar with it (which worked very well).
- Fun with Acronyms: The Commision for Perpetual Mantainance and Updating of the Song "Fatherland" (the national anthem). The fun part? they bother to pronounce CPMUOTSF with varying results (mostly wet).
- Groin Attack: Many times, usually self-inflicted. Kathy, La Reina del Saloon being the most hilarious and famous example.
- Another example: in Radio Tertulia, they speak about a soap opera where one of the twists is that a woman is revealed to have been a man. When one of the presenters asks the other about how that happened, he says "A viper".
- Happily Married: In real life, five of the members (past and present) have undergone (sometimes messy) divorces and re-married. Founder Gerardo Masana was married, literally, until death did them part, and Daniel Rabinovich has remained with his first and only wife for decades.
- Hypocritical Humor: Complaining about today's young people: 'they've got no ideology - because they do drugs; they only care about the bike and the car - because they do drugs; they dance all day long - because they do drugs; and they make love all night long - which drug do they do?'.
- Hurricane of Puns: Too many to count.
- I Am Not Spock: Though moderately successful as an orchestral conductor and arranger, Ernesto Acher still faces being typecast as a former member of Les Luthiers even though he hasn't been with them for over 24 years. Moreover, he tends to be remembered mostly as the actor who played "Don Rodrigo" and the kid from "La Gallina Dijo Eureka", which overlooks his enormous musical contributions to the group (a group that still plays several of his songs, by the way). When Marcos Mundstock has tried to have parallel stints as a serious presenter, he's failed miserably as people expect jokes to appear.
- Layman's Terms: ... or Expo Speak Gag, depending on how you look at it: Yoghurtu Nghé is an African young man who's telling his (also African) uncle about life in the USA. He explains he got a job 'in something breathtaking, which I'll try to explain to you: two long iron tapes are laid and on top of them a gigantic caterpillar slides; it drags wheeled cabins which carry people inside of them. It's fantastic!'. His uncle replies: 'I'm really impressed about that caterpillar with cabins you tell me about. Never in my life had I ever heard of something that so accurately resembled a train!'
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Marcos Mundstock does it relatively often, acknowledging the audience's laughter or the occasional technical failures, as the shows are performed live. For instance, on one sketch he acted as therapist and there were some noises from the mics, he incorporated them to his counselling ("I know you feel disturbed, as if there were strange noises in the background"), receiving a well-deserved ovation from the public.
- "Dear Nephew: I didn't write to you until now because the audience was applauding."
- Limited Wardrobe: The only thing they wear on they shows are tuxedos, as any classical musician will do in a concert.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: Anything related to the convoluted life of Johann Sebastian Mastropiero. It's unknown when he died, or even if he actually died.
- Long Runners: Celebrated their 40 anniversary in 2007.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: In Lutherapia, It turns out Ramirez was Mastropiero's son (and brother to the Anti-Christ) and that was the reason of his stress .
- Lyrical Dissonance
- Mother Daughter Threesome: Taken Up to Eleven and Played for Laughs:
Mastropiero was an intimate friend of the Duchess of Lowbridge, mature woman whose charms had not diminished with the years... they had disappeared completely. Mastropiero feigned a fiery passion for the Duchess, but behind her back he was seducing her daughter, Genevieve. Thus he could enter the castle freely... to meet her granddaughter, Mathilde. This game of gallant pretenses gave excellent results. It was not the first time this system was used... by the three women.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: on Himnovaciones and Acto en Banania.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: General Eutanasio Rodriguez and Escipion the Blood-Thirsty Killer.
- No Longer With Us: "Huesito Williams has left us... it's hard to believe his seat remains empty. But he's in a better place. He lives... in Normandy Hotel, Miami."
- Promoted Fanboy: More often than one would think. They started off being four plus their 'luthier's luthier' (not officially a member). Then:
- Carlos Núñez Cortés, former groupmate in another music/humour team and longtime admirer of them, was called in 1969 to be their rehearsal conductor. He was then promoted to co-arranger, co-composer, co-performer and finally fellow member.
- Later on in 1970, Carlos López Puccio was promoted from fan to friend/consultant and then, due to a last-minute emergency (the violinist they hired quit), he was called in to step in as guest musician for a full season. Not only he learnt the repertoire in a day: the group members were so impressed that they made him partner in 1971.
- Ernesto Acher had seen Les Luthiers live and admired them deeply. He befriended them one summer and soon afterwards was invited to be a guest at one of their shows; later on, he became a hired musician / presenter / composer and finally (in 1971 as well as López Puccio) made partner. He'd continue with them until 1986.
- When their luthier's luthier, Carlos Iraldi, passed away, fellow instrument maker Hugo Domínguez, who'd admired the group for a while, wrote a letter offering his services. He's been their luthier's luthier since.
- For the last 15 years or so, they've hired understudies, who replace one of the members in case of disease or emergency. They've got a very tough job as they need to learn every vocal and instrumental part each member does just in case, but it's not quite a struggle as most of them have been people who actually grew up listening to Les Luthiers.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Parodied several times. On the song of the 7th platoon, General Archibald Weaving declares: "If we don't Win, we have lost" and "The eagle's feather won't be an oil drop" that same afternoon he is taken to a mental institution.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: What happens whenever Rabinovich tries to perform the opening monologue.
- Running Gag: many times, the humor comes from this.
- Ruritania: Gulevandia. Set of the opera on fictional language Cardoso en Gulevandia.
- Secret Relationship: Mastropiero with many women.
- Self-Deprecation: In a way... the sketches are usually introduced as being horrendous and their fictional composer (usually Mastropiero) as mediocre, at best.
- Sitting Sexy on a Piano: In one of the backstories, a girl called Hanriette does this while Mastropiero plays the piano and her mother watches.
Marcos Mundstock: Hanriette, luckily for her, was deaf. And the mother, luckily for Mastropiero, was blind.
- Small Reference Pools: Too many to count, specially on their earlier era.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: Johann Sebastian Mastropiero. Who sometimes was called Wolfgang Amadeus Mastropiero and Petrov Ilich Mastropiero.
- Strawman U: The Wildstone University routine. A commercial of a college on the United States so lame that party and fun isn't less important than study (they are more important); and the alumni are described as "stupid, idiot and criminal students" by the dean (though the supposed Spanish dubbing calls them crafty and mischievous students instead).
- Subverted Kids Show: Theresa & The Bear, a subverted children's song on the same vein that Peter and the Wolf.
- Also, in Mastropiero Awards, the adult children music comedy Valdemar and the sorcerer.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion
- Sue Donym: Mastropiero with Johann Severo Mastropiano. Getting his father this letter "My child, if you use that pseudonym everyone will know that I am not just the father of a composer, but also the father of an imbecile".
- Synthesizeritis: They introduced them in 1979, and they eventually almost vanished their trademark "informal instruments" from long parts of the shows. Often used together with pre-recorded MIDI tracks.
- This Is My Name on Foreign: All the illegitimate children of composer Johann Sebastian Mastropiero with the contessa Shortshot were translations of Shortshot in different languages: Patrick McKleinschuss, Giovanni Colpocorto, Rafael Brevetiro, Mario Abraham Kortzclap, Anatole Tirecourt, Johnny Littlebang.
- The Voiceless: López Puccio on ''Tom Mc Coffee'. Except for "vaya vaya" (which can either mean "go away" or "wow" depending on the tone).
- Trailers Always Spoil: The Mysterious Murderer routine.
- Unusual Euphemism : Kids these days, they only need chatter to reach Erasmus
- Why Didnt You Just Say So: The Nuits De Paris routine. Whereas the whole group tries to comunicate with a famous French singer...'s brother-in-law in French and happens to be that he could speak Spanish all along.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: In this case Spanish, played both straight and subverted.