Happy birthday, Chiquito de la Calzada!
Chiquito de la Calzada, a Spanish singer, actor, and stand-up comedian who had a lasting cultural impact in Spain, is the subject of today’s Doodle. Chiquito’s great humorous approach has affected Spanish comedians and entertainers to this day, as Gregorio Esteban Sánchez Fernández was born on this day in 1932.
Fernández and his two brothers grew raised in poverty in La Calzada de la Trinidad, Spain, after the Civil War. To help feed his family, he began singing and dancing flamenco at the age of eight. Chiquito de la Calzada became his stage moniker during this time.
Fernández has spent the most of his adult life dancing flamenco in Spain and abroad. His life took an unexpected turn when he met a television producer named Tomás Summers in a restaurant after 54 years in the flamenco profession.
Summers offered Fernández a position in an upcoming comedy show aired on Antena 3, a major Spanish television network, after overhearing him perform jokes at a neighbouring table. Summers had placed an unknown 62-year-old guy in the new show Genio y figura, and the production team feared he was making a mistake. Summers went ahead and took a chance on Fernández anyway, and he’s glad he did.
Fernández became an instant celebrity after the show premiered. His humorous timing, brilliant wordplay, and exaggerated motions were hilarious to Spaniards from all walks of life. Fernández established an original humorous style during the next two decades, which continues to influence Spanish comedians and TV personalities today.
In 2019, the Spanish Ministry of Culture honoured him with a Medalla de Oro al Merito in las Bellas Artes, recognising his cultural impact (Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts).