Biography of Chumy Chumez

Chumy Chumez was born in San Sebastian on May 8, 1927, and despite his natural desire for drawing and painting, he studied in order to become a merchant professor, a profession he developed for some years, locked in one of those offices that so little they liked

Biography of Chumy Chumez

  • Born:-  8 May 1927, Donostia / San Sebastián, Spain
  • Died:- 10 April 2003, Madrid, Spain
  • Spouse:-  Cheryl Nan Wong (m. 1969–1978)
  • Movies:-  La edad de la piedra
  • Children:-  Marcel Wong-Gonzalez

His artistic concerns did not leave him, so in the late forties he immigrated to Madrid, convinced of developing a career as a painter. Although he did not have much luck with the palette, his gifts for drawing and humor allowed him to survive, partly collaborating for several newspapers, and partly performing orders of all kinds.

The quail

One day he received an answer to his prayers when Álvaro de Laiglesia, then director of the comedy weekly La Codorniz, sent him a letter offering him a space to collaborate in the historic publication.

It was then that the name came to be known and was consecrated as an artist: Chumy Chumez. “I was called a little Chumy, and when I had to draw and sign on The Quail, I took it. Then I put Chumy Chumez because he gives more serious sir. “This explains José María González Castrillo, Chumy Chumez, the reason for a pseudonym that used during his more than fifty years of professional career as a comedian, painter, Tertullian of the radio and television, filmmaker and narrator.

La Codorniz, a weekly that made him known and collaborated for about thirty years, until his disappearance, was created in 1941 by Miguel Mihura and became one of the few humor magazines that in the middle Francoism exercised a certain criticism social, based, yes, in a humor bordering on the absurd.

Little by little, the black and personal humor of Chumy Chumez, endowed with a simple but shocking and somewhat refreshing graphic for the time, began to popularize in diverse magazines and newspapers, between which emphasized in the sixties Triunfo and the newspaper Madrid, for which he made a daily joke until its closure by government order, which took place in 1971.

At all times, Chumez appeared as a restless creator who reflected on everyday life and his work, and that he sometimes used photomontages for his jokes. As he himself once acknowledged, “our generation was a single-parent generation, we were orphaned by aesthetic parents. When I noticed this aberration, I went back to the past, source and source of so many wisdoms despised by our impatience or our inability to draw things as they are. We did not have teachers. Our teachers had been executed or had fled abroad or lived ostracized. ”

A very personal mood

The Spain that Chumy Chumez reflected as a humorist graphic was that of a country dominated by autarchy and ignorance, sunk in a long political journey overshadowed by the Francoist oligarchy, in which the profession of comedian demanded of special resources to transmit a certain critical content, fundamental aspect in graphic humor.

Chumy Chumez was able to reflect in his jokes and collaborations for the press the true social state of his country, with a humor bordering on nihilism and absurdity, a black humor starring an extensive caterva of quirky characters that Melquiades Prieto, in the prologue one of the last anthologies of Chumy Chumez, describes as follows: “These are the years in which plutocrats, imprisoned spurs, poor to die, prostitutes, infamous parents, hateful women, violent men, artifacts, skulls, decorated skeletons, engravings Goyescos, Solanesque expressionism, provocative bumps and manipulations of classical painting enrich the pages of the press more committed to social changes.

In his own way, this comedian fought for the reinstatement of democracy in Spain, for freedom of expression, participating very actively in magazines and newspapers of the long transition and already in full democracy, among which note Cuadernos para el Dialogo, El Independiente , The Sun, Town, Tele Radio, Saturday Graphic, World Diary or Please.

It was precisely in the midst of transition that Chumy Chumez left La Quimorniz to found a new, more ambitious comic weekly in terms of content and freedom, Hermano Lobo, subtitled “Weekly humor in what can fit.”

Hermano Lobo, who only stayed for four years in kiosks and became the favorite magazine of Spanish university students, was inspired by the critical spirit of political humor marked by French magazines such as Charlie Hebdo, and in his pages collaborated writers and comedians of the stature of Manuel Vicent, Cándido, Francisco Umbral, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Manolo Summers, OPS (El Roto), Forges or Gila.

After the disappearance of Brother Wolf, Chumy Chumez returned to the pages of the Quail until its closure, and continued collaborating with his jokes in dozens of newspapers and magazines. Lately his work as a comedian could be enjoyed in the pages of El Semanal, Sunday magazine distributed with several Spanish newspapers.

Chumy Chumez, a man known as a hypochondriac by those who knew him and with a strange fixation by death, has been the protagonist of several monographs dedicated to his jokes, among which are Humor of Contraband (1962), Chumy Chumez 1970 (1971) , With the clear and with the yolk (1973), An autobiography (1973), We are all of right (1973), With the crossed tits (1978), The best of Chumy Chumez (1992), Chumy Chumez anthology: shout (2001) or De buena tinta (2002).

As compiler of several anthologies on graphic humor he has signed titles like Cómix Underground USA, with OPS (1972), or 50 years of Spanish humor (1991). His many merits as a comedian have also been recognized with several prizes, such as the first prize of the VII International Salon of Humor and Caricature of Montreal (1970), humor award La Paleta de Aragón (1977), Mingote Prize (1985), the “Francisco Cerecedo” Journalism Award, which annually awards the Spanish section of the Association of European Journalists (1991), or the Ibero-American Graphic Humor Award Quevedos (2002).

A restless and multifaceted man

Chumy Chúmez’s artistic and personal concerns were reflected not only in his contributions to graphic humor, but in his enormous work as a screenwriter of radio and television, filmmaker, narrator and essayist, in addition to his work as a radio and television talk show and as an animator of hundreds of conferences and round tables.

As a writer, his novels and essays, My Uncle Gustavo, stand out in glory (1958); Rabid Pain and Other Consumer Goods (1971); I was happy in the war (1986), a novel in which he recounted his childhood during the Spanish Civil War; Yesterday I almost died (1988); Be a comedian (1988), a reflection on his profession; Illness from the sick (1992); May God confess us (1996); Become a Man (1996) or Letters from a Hypochondriacal to Your Family Doctor(2000). Recently, and posthumously, he was the winner of the 1st Algaba Prize for Biography, Autobiography and Memoirs, awarded by Ámbito Cultural de El Corte Inglés, for his work Vida de maqueto, with an autobiographical cut.

For the television, Chumy Chumez wrote and directed in the sixties and seventies several documentaries on diverse Spanish populations, some short fiction and one chapter of the series Las Pícaras, titled La lozana andaluza (1982), and participated in 1993 in the program de Tele 5 This country needs a review. Also since 1985 he became a regular voice of the radio, participating with other comedians in the section “Debate on the State of the Nation” within the popular program of Luis Del Olmo Protagonistas, and from 1995 like responsible of a space of humor in the program of National Radio of Spain The mornings of Radio 1.

Another of the media in which Chumy Chumez was actively involved was the cinema, for which he wrote along with other creators the scripts of films like I saw her first (Fernando Fernán-Gómez, 1974) or My wife is very decent inside what fits (Antonio Drove, 1974) as well as a chapter of the animated feature love stories and slaughter (Jordi Amorós, 1974), in which other humorists like Perich, Oscar, Ja or IVa participated. As a screenwriter and director was responsible for the films God bless every corner of this house (1977) and But, will not you ever change, Margarita? (1978).

This Renaissance man, an indefatigable worker, a hard-nosed reader of Sigmund Freud, and a very particular sense of humor, was also a great conversationalist who liked to communicate directly with people, as evidenced by his presence in many seminars and conferences of the whole nature that took him to cities like New York, London, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Geneva or Amsterdam and, of course, throughout Spain. In addition, Chumy Chúmez’s graphic work was the subject of several individual and collective exhibitions, notably the one held in Bilbao in 1986 and the one presented at the Coned Duque Cultural Center in Madrid in 1999.