Gui Santana, one of the most versatile and charismatic names in Brazilian humor, has conquered his space on stage, screen and radio throughout a career marked by talent and dedication. Born in the quiet Penápolis, in the interior of São Paulo, he demonstrated his comedic streak from an early age, making people laugh with his imitations and jokes. His journey began on Ativa FM radio, where his irreverent humor and imitations gained prominence on the program “Ninguém Merece!”. The move to São Paulo marked the beginning of a new phase, with a degree in Social Communication from FIAM and his debut on MTV, where he stood out on the programs “Quinta Category” and “Comédia MTV”. Success on the small screen opened the door for participation in “Pânico na Band” and, later, to join the cast of revivals of classics such as “Os Trapalhões” and “Escolinha do Professor Raimundo”. In 2020, he faced the challenge of competing in the reality show ” Made In Japan”, showing his versatility on yet another stage. With a solid career full of laughs, Gui Santana continues to win the hearts of the public with his unique and captivating humor.
What was your journey like from your first steps on Ativa FM radio to becoming one of the main comedians on Brazilian television?
It was an incredible experience, wasn’t it? I started at Radioativa FM in 2005, it was there that I took the first steps in my career. Radio has always been a huge influence in my life. Great comedians started on the radio, like Mauro Gonçalves dos Acarias , Chico Anísio, Tom Cavalcante, the guys from Café com Bobagem, Pânico, Shaolin , all of them have always been humor references for me. I had the dream of working on TV, of being recognized as a great comedian, and I had the opportunity to join a radio program and be part of an environment full of fun, humor and jokes. After that, I didn’t stop. This was my first experience and, then, I was encouraged by the broadcasters to take the radio and television course in São Paulo. I started studying and the opportunity arose to participate in the 5th Category program, on Marcos Miani and Cazé Peçanha ‘s Freshman Show , on MTV. It was there that I launched myself as a TV comedian. It was an incredible experience, you know? I’ve never been pretentious. Of course, I had the ambition to pursue a career, but everything I did, and continue to do to this day, happened naturally, as if it were the first day. I think this is the true essence. I face everything as if it were the first time.
What was the most memorable experience you had during the period you worked on MTV Brasil’s Fifth Category and Comédia MTV program?
Without a doubt, one of the most memorable experiences during my time at MTV, at Comédia MTV and Quinta Category, was sharing the stage with big names in comedy such as Dani Calabresa, Tata Werneck, Marcela Adnet, Rodrigo Capela, Bento Ribeiro, Paulinho Serra, Rafael Queiroga and Fábio Rabin. On some occasions, I found myself participating in scenes, sketches and pictures, sharing the stage with these icons of stand- up , theater and television humor. It was surreal to think that, starting on a small radio program in my city, I would be there, sharing the same space on TV with these figures. Furthermore, big celebrities also participated in the programs, such as NX Zero and even Selton Mello. I remember the day Selton Mello recorded with us on MTV. I arrived at the studio early and, when he also arrived, he saw my back and said: ‘Gui Santana, I’m your fan, man.’ I was astonished. I thought: ‘Wow, does Selton Mello know my work?’ It was an incredible moment of recognition. I believe it was one of the most memorable experiences of my time at MTV.
How was the transition from the radio environment to television? What were the biggest challenges you faced in this process?
The transition from radio to television is always full of challenges and difficulties. On radio, there is this instantaneous dynamic, where you need to offer something new every day, debate topics, exchange ideas and interact with the public quickly. It’s an agile conversation, permeated by humor, irony and sarcasm, requiring fast creativity to keep the pace. On radio, there are no visuals or costumes; The voice is the main instrument, and it is necessary to use creativity to convey the desired tone. On television, different challenges arise, such as acting, character creation and the production of visually attractive and convincing sketches and parodies. At MTV, for example, we didn’t always have many resources at our disposal, so we needed to rely heavily on creativity. The transition between these two means can be seen as a great challenge, which requires different skills, but also represents a unique opportunity for growth and learning.
You mentioned being mistaken for Kiabbo for a while. What was it like dealing with this situation and how did it influence your career?
Oh, there was one time on MTV, on the program ‘Quinta Category’, of which I was part, and there was a program called ’15 Minutos’, with Marcelo Adnet and Philip Ricotta , known as ‘Quiabo’. There was an imitation show, where money was the protagonist. Once, Adnet invited me to participate. He said, ‘Man, I know you walk down the halls imitating okra. Why don’t we do an episode with you?’ I accepted, I recorded ’15 Minutos’ with Adnet imitating okra. Nobody noticed anything. A week or two passed, and production suggested that I reveal my identity, because if this became common, okra would no longer be funny on the show. So in the end I revealed it was me and the secret was out. It was a game we played for a long time, and people came to ask me about ‘Okra’. But it wasn’t me, it was just an imitation. The person who played the character perfectly was Philip. It was fun, it’s always good to play a prank and do a healthy prank, something you can look back on fondly.
What are the main aspects you consider when creating characters and impersonations for your TV shows?
Look, I always try to create some exaggerated feature in imitations, you know? Something that highlights the person’s personality. So, I try to understand a little who the person is and then I create an exaggerated version of them, something that perhaps they would never do, but that maintains some striking feature. Sometimes, it is not so important to perfectly reproduce the timbre of the voice, but rather to create a caricature, complemented by the costume. This helps compose the character. I love buffoon theater, which works with deformed characters, those who have exaggerated characteristics, such as one arm that is larger than the other or a large belly. They are somewhat sinuous and unusual figures, but that is precisely what makes the character interesting. I have a buffoon character who is an exaggerated version of the Mouse, for example, with surreal and unusual characteristics, and I like that aspect.
Could you share with us any memorable experiences you had while recording the program “Pânico na Band”?
I would like to share one of the greatest moments of my career at Pânico na Band. It was during the program’s 10th anniversary, already a decade on the air, that I had the opportunity to pay tribute to all the iconic characters created over the years, through the show ‘Pânico na Bunda’. In this context, I imitated Emílio and other members of the program, something I have always admired and it was a great achievement to be able to work with them. It was an absolute success, and for three months, I had the chance to satirize Scream itself in a very fun way. Without a doubt, it was a defining moment in my career.
What was it like playing the character Zaca in the revival of “Os Trapalhões”? What were the challenges of reviving a Brazilian television classic?
In 2017, I had the opportunity to participate in the new version of Trapalhões, playing the character Zacarias, a clear reference to the iconic original Zacarias. It was a wonderful experience, participating in a project as grand as Os Trapalhões. Who would have thought that the character I imitated as a child could be revived years later, on this show? It was unbelievable for me to be at Globo, living alongside Dedé Santana and Renato Aragão, paying homage to this classic of Brazilian television. It was like feeling nostalgic, reliving some of the Trapalhões sketches. I was very happy with the result. Of course we face challenges, such as comparison with the originals, but it is important to remember that this is a reinterpretation, and each actor has the freedom to create their own version of the character. Furthermore, there was the issue of adapting to current times, when the banter was looser. The new version aired at a more familiar time, on Sundays at noon, which brought new challenges, but it was without a doubt one of the greatest works of my life.
Taking on the role of Nerso da Capitinga at Professor Raimundo’s Escolinha was a great responsibility. How did you prepare for this role?
The following year, in 2018, I had the opportunity to revive the character Nerso da Capitinga in the new version of A Escolinha do Professor Raimundo. It’s curious how life takes turns, isn’t it? I watched Escolinha when I was a child and was a fan of Nerso da Capitinga. My whole family loved this character. I even did shows in my city, but as I was a child, I couldn’t go, as they were events for adults. I was fascinated whenever I saw someone imitating Nerso or telling jokes in his style. Pedro Bismarchi, one of the greatest joke tellers, created this incredible character. Interestingly, at the time of MTV, we did a satire in which Adnet was Rolando Lero, Dani Calabresa was Catifunda and I was Nerso da Capitinga. Years later, in the new version of Escolinha, we all fulfilled this dream and became the characters ourselves. It was surreal, man. It’s always challenging to face comparisons, to think about whether I’ll do the role well, whether I’ll be able to tell Nerso’s jokes, since I have no experience in telling jokes. But as they say, you have to have the gift and dedicate yourself to playing the role in the best way possible.
You participated in the reality show Made In Japan . What was that experience like and what did you learn from it?
When I left the Pânico na Band program, Record approached me for 3 years to participate in A Fazenda, but I always refused. I didn’t see myself on a reality show, I don’t like the idea of being stuck in a house, interacting in a competitive environment. However, I ended up accepting the invitation to Made in Japan, initially planned to be in Japan and with comedians. However, the format changed, but I decided to participate anyway, as I knew some people involved, like Sabrina Sato. However, the experience was not good for me. The reality show lasted 30 days, and I didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t like this competitive and stressful environment, where people constantly fight. I can’t adapt to this energy. It’s something that’s out of my control and I can’t produce or create it. I didn’t have a good experience and I realized it’s not something I would like to repeat.
How do you see the future of comedy on Brazilian television? What projects do you still want to pursue in your career?
I see the future of Brazilian comedy. It’s in review programs, in programs where you can bring together some comedians, right? And doing something on stage, something live is like something unpretentious, something that the mood would be resolved there in front, there on the stage or in front of the audience, but without being produced, I think that production today Nowadays, on Brazilian television, television is a little scared by the values, right? The television. She needs money. No, she doesn’t want to spend money, she has her eye on the money.
So, putting together a cast, creating productions for that, is not creating texts. EE, then staying on that fine line Um, are we going to cause any discomfort to any class? Will some people not like this joke? So television no longer wants to take risks with what I see is humor productions outside of TV. If someone wants to produce comedy, produce fiction, they will produce it abroad. Me. I still don’t see ATV open in this aspect yet, right? As in the past, she produced a lot of humor, there was a very high demand for comedians, but nowadays she doesn’t want to commit, she doesn’t want to take risks. This is the big problem with television.
She doesn’t want to invest money in humor, right? What humor needs is to be consumed, to be consumed again as it was before, so that it can generate profit. Then the theory will want it, but for now I don’t see it. I don’t see ATV producing comedy programs, as it did before. The comedians will be in these stage reviews and receive a guest playing on top, I don’t know, it’s resolving it as if it were like this live and I plan for my career. I think it’s a movie, right? Investing in audiovisual, something humorous, that’s what I want to do, I want to create my own program on the internet, even in streaming, it’s not a career in shows. I have already opened my career, with shows, my schedule for this year I also intend to do some international shows. And that’s it, guys, thank you very much, really.
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