April 10, 2019

COMEDY IS NOT PRETTY. OR EVEN ALLOWED. In Venezuela, Comedy Is Protest. Until the Government Finds Out.

In November 2017, the stand-up comic Nacho Redondo told a joke at a university about the Paralympics that upset some audience members and drew controversy online, which he promptly used to promote his next shows. It may sound like a common, even mundane story.

But in Venezuela, where Redondo, 32, developed a following for his brash, dark humor, the price for a joke that offends can be much higher than online outrage or a boycott. After politicians harshly criticized him on state-run television, Redondo received death threats online, and the government sued him. He fled the country on the day the lawsuit was filed, and hasn’t returned. “I was terrified and then paranoid and scared for my life,” Redondo said by Skype from Mexico City, where he now lives, adding that he didn’t want to leave his aging mother and other family members but felt he had no choice. “You get jailed there because of tweets.”

Here, too, if the Totalitarian Left gets its way.

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