Eugenio González Derbez (born September 2, 1961 in Mexico City, Mexico) is a Mexican comedian who wrote, produced, and starred in a number of popular sketch comedies from the late '80s through the early 2000s. More recently, he's been the producer of two sitcoms, but only the star of one. He practices a style of comedy that walks an exceedingly thin line, with sophisticated and occasionally literary humor on one side, and crass immaturity and scatology on the other. Additionally, he has an infatuation with puns that rivals that of Jasper Fforde; the names of many of his characters, sketches, and the titles of his shows very often make use of some sort of phonetic wordplay. For example, his sketch show Derbez en cuando is a pun on the Spanish phrase "de vez en cuando," or "every once in a while" for English-speakers.
In 2013, he made a successful directorial debut with the film No se aceptan devoluciones (known as Instructions Not Included outside of Mexico).
In 2021, he starred in Sundance hit CODA (2021).
Three of his children (Aislinn, Vadhir, and Jose Eduardo Derbez), as well as his ex-wife Gabriela Michel, are actors in their own right.
(Cultural tidbit: titles are not capitalized in the Spanish language)
- Derbez en cuando, Al derecho y al Derbez, XHDRBZ - His three sketch programs, and Derbez's most recognized works. The first two are almost interchangeable and follow a simple formula: a miscellaneous topic is chosen at the start of each episode and Derbez in character as one of his several bizarre alter egos (usually four or five per episode, each appearing for about as many minutes) would act out sketches relating to that topic. The third one is the black sheep of the litter, as it's all about spoofing a popular TV show. For instance, his X-Files parody changed the title from Los expedientes secretos X (The Secret X-Files) to Los ex-pendientes secretos X (The No-Longer-Relevant Secret X's).
- La familia P. Luche - One of his most long-running series, La familia P. Luche explores the life of one of Derbez's recurring characters, Ludovico P. Luche, who had previously appeared only in the sketches from the aforementioned shows. Since this one is an expansion on a series of short sketches, plenty new material was added by necessity; bit players became fairly major characters with names and well-defined personalities and several completely new characters were added. Another noticeable change is that several characters became rude and vindictive whereas previously they had merely been inept and kinda stupid; whether this makes the series as funny as the original sketches, funnier, or not as funny varies wildly depending on who you ask.
- Vecinos - Derbez's most recent endeavor, and the only one wherein he himself does not perform. Notable for being much more family-friendly than his other shows, all of which rely heavily on adult humor, Vecinos deals with the doings of a group of hapless people who all live together in the same high-rise. It's about as routine as sitcoms get, the humor stemming from the various ways the characters' personalities bounce off each other. Among the cast, there's the ignorant but well-meaning superintendent who insists on being called a "custodian" (as opposed to a "doorman") and used to be a luchador, a responsible office worker and his good-for-nothing slacker roomie, and a female veterinarian whose father is a retired army general who takes his teddy bear (named Rambo) with him wherever he goes.
Some notable characters:
- El Lonje Moco - A clear fan favorite, along with Professor Armando Hoyos. El Lonje Moco (his name is an untranslatable pun involving mucus, stemming from the phrase "el monje loco", or "the mad monk") is a grotesquely deformed and hunchbacked monk who lives in some sort of dreary, old cellar. In every sketch, he attempts to tell the audience a scary story (much like the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt) but is continually sidetracked either by external distractions, because he forgets the next part of the story or starts talking about his family. A living gargoyle, a man in a painting, and even "the audience" often try to help him remember, but in the end El Lonje Moco never gets to tell the end of the story, and ends cutting it short. Known for his popular catchphrase, "¡Fue horrible!" ("It was horrible!")
- Prof. Armando Hoyos - If El Lonje Moco is Derbez's most popular character, then Armando Hoyos is his most famous (Derbez has even authored a couple of comedy books in character as the professor). He's a well-dressed, perfectly-groomed intellectual who wears turtlenecks and enormous, goofy glasses; in every sketch, he tries to explain a nonsensical scientific or literary concept to a confused student or interviewer, who can only become more and more confused as the sketch progresses. This is Derbez's go-to character if he really wants to get creative with his puns, as seen in the many sketches wherein Armando Hoyos reads out spoof definitions from the dictionary. When the interviewer says something (usually praising), he will often interrupt him with his Catchphrase "Cállese, no me interrumpa." ("SHUT UP, don't interrupt me.")
- Ludovico P. Luche - A family man who, as his name suggests, dresses entirely in outrageously-colored plush (peluche), as does his entire family. Each sketch gives him and his family an incredibly simple problem to solve (such as setting up the dinner table to entertain some guests) which, through their ignorance, ineptitude and tendency to start fighting about anything, inevitably snowballs into a catastrophe. This is the character Derbez chose to base an entire series around, perhaps because his world is such a broad canvas, but, as previously stated, whether or not this was a good idea depends on the audience.
- Hans Pujenheimer - A short-lived, but memorable character from XHDRBZ, Hans is a central European man (complete with feather cap and laderhosen) who has recently moved to Mexico and is perpetually enraged by his inability to grasp Mexican cultural nuances, particularly pertaining to local mannerisms and slang. In most of his sketches, he attempts to watch a famous Mexican TV show and gradually becomes angrier and angrier, occasionally pausing the show to complain about the differences between Romance and Germanic languages and the bizarre nature of Mexican turns-of-phrase as a whole. In the end, Hans flies into a rage, turns to the screen, and furiously shouts his catchphrase, "¡Que alguien me explique!" ("Someone explain this to me!")
- Marilyn Mensón - An obvious parody of Marilyn Manson, one of his more one-note characters (insofar as any one of his characters can be more one-note than any other), Marilyn is a perpetually stoned punk rocker who, within series continuity, is dreaded by parents for the objectionable music he presents to the youth. His sketches involve a camera crew attempting to interview him, either out on the street or in a studio set. Marilyn always answers the first question properly but then continues to give the exact same answer for all subsequent questions, sending the camera crew into a haze as they attempt to piece together the "interview" into some kind of coherent whole. Another character who's funny because he confuses the hell out of everyone around him, the difference here being that everyone around him confuses Marilyn just as much. He's also known for making parodies of famous songs, like making the song "Ingrata" (about a cheating woman) into "Ingratos" (about the Mexican Soccer team losing in the world cup).
- El Super Portero - El Super Portero is a soccer goalie-themed superhero whose job it is to make sure TV personalities don't accidentally say the name of a registered trademark on the air, forcing their producers to pay royalties.note Since many Latin American trademarks are simply named after a specific word or phrase, El Super Portero interrupts any given broadcast more often than you think. He forces them to replace the "trademark" with a description of the product, leaving the scene as a nonsensical mess. note Invariably, the character leaves the studio after having declared the broadcast a rousing success, even though whatever was originally being said has now been bowdlerized into an utter, incomprehensible mess.
- Diablito - A young devil who takes any time his dad is out to "Play with Earth". The sketches involve Diablito watching home videos and pressing a Big Red Button to cause the disasters in them. Known for his high-pitched laugh after watching the disasters he causes.
- Aaron Abasolo - A street man who loves to speak in double entendres. Known for his phrase "¡Pregúntame cá, preguuuntame!" (Aaaaask me man, aaaaaask me.)
- Alz and Heimer - An elderly couple who, as their name suggests, are very forgetful. They start talking about a subject but because of their short memory they get sidetracked. The sketch ends with Alz saying "Ay Heimer, a tí ya se te va el avión" (Your plane is leaving, a Mexican phrase meaning to forget) and Heimer leaving the room as fast as he can thinking he's missing a literal plane.
- Eloy Gameno - Catchphrase: "¡Oígame No!" ("Unacceptable!" not literal). And his name is a pun on his own catchprhase "El oigame no" ("The unacceptable guy"). He starts at any situation where he has to meet someone and begin to talk. But he takes any phrase and idiom as a misunderstanding, Double Entendre, or exactly as he say it. This ends with the bystander exasperated and choking Eloy. So he begins to argue and complain of the fact while the one who choked him tries to apologize for his outburst (sometimes the complaining starts getting annoying, though, and he gets choked again).
- Chef Pepe Roni: A parody of the Cooking shows and Italians chefs. His sketches are about him preparing one of his "famous recipes", can be alone or with a interviewer (always a woman). All the ingredients end being visual puns of real ingredients. After each ingredient he will Shout "LIIISTOOO" ("DOOOONE"), or "Está quedando delicioso, hmmmm" ("It is getting delicious, hmmmm").
- Julio Esteban: A parody of astrologer Walter Mercado. He always receives a letter from someone seeking help (making him more a parody of "Doctor Love" types of shows), always with a lot of punny input with a specific theme (elements, animals, hospital, etc). He always ends each episode with a positive reflexion and his catchphrase "Les mando todo, todo (kiss) lo que me sobra." ("I send you all, but all (kiss) my leftovers")note
Tropes frequently used in his work:
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: One would think that El Super Portero's garish multicolored clothes were something come up with to showcase his over-the-top persona, but they were actually a Shout-Out to Jorge Campos, a real-life Mexican soccer goalkeeper, who wore similar clothes.
- Bob Ross Rib: One of his sketches consisted of this, as "Bob Atroz". His parody had the added element of Hong Kong Dub, as the dub of The Joy of Painting in Spanish was notorious for paying little or no attention to lip-synching.
- Camp Straight: Chef Pepe Roni's excited style and reactions to his food would lead someone to make certain assumptions, but he actually made thinly-veiled passes to his female (and always female) interviewer at some moments, before playing dumb when she asked him to come again.
- Catchphrase: Nearly all of his characters have one:
- El Lonje Moco has "¡Fue horrible!" ("It was horrible!")
- Prof. Armando Hoyos has "Cállese, no me interrumpa." ("Shut up, don't interrupt me."), usually when the interviewer says something (usually praising)
- Hans Pujenheimer has "¡Que alguien me explique!" ("Someone explain this to me!")
- El Super Portero has "Córtale mi chavo." ("Cut it, my man.")
- Diablito has his high-pitched laugh after watching the disasters he causes.
- Aaron Abasolo has "¡Pregúntame cá, preguuuntame!" ("Aaaaask me man, aaaaaask me.")
- Eloy Gameno' has "¡Oígame no!''" ("Unacceptable!", not literal)
- Chef Pepe Roni has "¡¡¡LIIISTOOO!!!" ("DOOOONE!!!"), and/or "Está quedando de-li-cioso, hmmmm" ("It is getting de-li-cious, hmmmm").
- Julio Esteban has his Signing-Off Catchphrase "Les mando todo, todo (kiss) lo que me sobra." ("I send you all, but all (kiss) my leftovers")
- Casanova Wannabe: On top of the annoyance that his interruptions are, El Super Portero would also try to hit on any semi-attractive woman would be present at the program he crashed in, usually by kissing them on the forehead and saying "Para que veas que no estoy enojado o rencoroso." ("So you can see that I am not angry or spiteful.")
- Creator Backlash: His feelings for La familia P. Luchenote are practically the same as Alan Moore feels about his works with DC.
- Corpsing: Famous for causing this with ease on fellow actors. He had the ability to leave people laughing to the point of histerics, mostly because he would continue the scene while in-character even when other actors had clearly forgotten their lines or were unable to say them.
- Defictionalization: The in-universe books supposedly written by Armando Hoyos were published eventually.
- Fractured Fairy Tale:
- Some examples include Cenossienta (for Cinderella) and Blanca Nueves (for Snow White).
- Exaggerated in one Lonje Moco sketch, which had the Lonje Moco receiving a letter about the "true story" of Shrek (an Actor Allusion to the fact that Derbez voiced Donkey in the Latin American Spanish dub of Shrek). Given that Shrek is considered a Fractured Fairy Tale already, this was basically a Fractured Fairy Tale of a Fractured Fairy Tale.
- From the Mouths of Babes: Derbez loves playing with how innocent children actually are. One sketch has the shows writers coming up with more and more vulgar double entenderes, but one of them protesting because his kids watch the show. They end up making a dumbed down cake-in-the-face sketch. Cut to the writer's children watching the show and loudly wondering where's the double entendere.
- Gag Dub: If he ends up involved in the dubbing of a series or a movie, expect tons of this.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: He dubs Jim Carrey to Spanish in the Latin American Spanish dub of Yes-Man and he even voices him when Carrey's character is speaking in Korean. While his Korean is decent, he pronounces it with a very thick Mexico City accent. This is justified since Mexicans (and Spanish-speakers) have many problems trying to pronounce Korean words the right way, unlike with the Japanese language.
- He Also Did:
- His shows were famous for hosting this. You would be surprised how many current Televisa (and sometimes even TV Azteca) A-list actors had at least one guest perfomance in his shows before they were famous, doubly so if are current A-list comedic acts.
- For the man himself, he was an extra in the popular (but nowadays extremely outdated) 80s comedy series Cachun Cachun ra ra! He refferenced the fact he only had one line on the entire series in his early interviews quite a lot.
- Hilarious Outtakes: Often during the credits of his shows, often helped by Derbez' refusal to break character and on-point improvising. Consuelo Duval, who plays Ludovico P. Luche's wife, is particularly known for her fits of laughter when she forgets her lines. (Seriously, just take a look)
- Hurricane of Puns: As repetedly stated.
- Insane Troll Logic: The Profe Tizo ("Professor Tizo", a pun of "profetizo", roughly "prophet") runs on this. He will compare two people for barely related things and muse "Coincidence or destiny?"
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: According to one sketch, Osama bin Laden is the most wanted terrorist by the FBI, the CIA, the KGB, the BBC, the NFL, and XHDRBZ.
- The Nth Doctor: In the original sketches of La Familia Peluche, Ludovico's son, Ludoviquito, was played by a kid of Asian descent, in the series proper is replaced by another kid. This is "explained" by them sending Ludoviquito to Summer camp, where he hypnotized another kid to believe he is Ludoviquito Peluche so he can change homes.
- Parody Assistance
- A variant. In his parody of The X-Files, in which Derbez played the Agent Mulder parody, he was dubbed over by Alfonso Obregón, the voice actor who voiced David Duchovny's Agent Mulder in the Latin American Spanish dub of the show. (Likewise, the actress playing the Agent Scully analogue was voiced by the same actress who dubbed Scully.)
- One sketch had Derbez As Himself supposedly interviewing Sharon Stone while promoting Sphere, using archival footage from an actual interview Stone did for the film. (Hilarity Ensues when in Derbez's version the interview becomes nonsensical.) In the sketch, Stone is dubbed by the same actress who dubbed Stone in Sphere.
- He created a parody of telenovela Cuna de lobos, in which he got Maria Rubio to reprise her role as the evil matriarch of the family.
- Product Displacement: The whole point of El Super Portero is avoid any mention of any brand on any show, to ridiculous degrees. Parodied on his introduction; while explaining his purpose, he covered the brand of a car so nobody would know from which company that car was. The car in question was a Volkswagen Beetle, one of the most recognizable cars in the world.
- Punny Name: The name of the Super Portero ("Super Goalkeeper") is a pun on how the act of TV personalities accidentally saying the name of a registered trademark on the air is informally known as "marcar un gol" ("scoring a goal") in Mexico, as his job is to make sure TV personalities don't do it, forcing their producers to pay royalties.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: John Lee Brito, a character who appeared during Derbez's 2012 Olympic Games comedy special.
- Subverted Kids' Show: Derbez loves this trope and is very cruel with it.
- Unintentional Period Piece: His sketch shows are filled to the brim with references to pop culture from the late 1990s and early 2000s, including parodies of then-current Televisa programs and personalities. The fact that one of his recurring characters for a while was a parody of Marilyn Manson (himself famous for falling out of pop culture relevance dramatically fast) attests to this.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Many of his jokes are based on very obscure information mixed with puns.
- Visual Pun: A lot of his sketches. But specially "Hablemos Blanco", hosted by Aaron. Aaron starts by saying that on his show he would never say any cuss word, then starts telling a story, but while telling it he will get stuck in a phrase while his cousing walks on the background holding something referencing a swear word, before Aaron himself continues with something completely different.
- Woolseyism: If he ends up involved in the dubbing of a series or a movie, expect tons of this.