Note: This is a non-linear continuation of “Excuse Me, Are you Richard??” If you didn’t read that post, then the all you need to know is that I befriended a Chilean reality television star named Richard Rubin. He earned notoriety for being the goofy but straightforward American (gringo) on the popular show Mundos Opuestos 2. Before traveling to Chile, Richard was an established comedian in the US on the show Beauty and the Geek among others.
Viña del Mar, 3:30 P.M. Sat Aug 15th.
It was a gorgeous day in Viña Del Mar, Chile’s most renowned coastal city. Near the beach it was a perfectly pleasant 75 degrees and sunny. Richard and I were strolling through the town and chatting. As we approached the boardwalk, I caught the smell of an invigorating sea salt mixed with a punchy fruit known as a Chirimoya.
“This is legit one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen in my life,” I said. “Everything about it is so pleasing…The beautiful ocean, the giant palm trees everywhere, the crazy abundance of fresh fruit vendors,” I motioned toward a nearby fruit stand filled with ripened bananas and mangos. “Even the woman who sold me the empanada was super nice and cute….and she was wearing just the right amount of perfume. She seriously smelled like fresh-lovely.”
As I stated this a sexy woman in her thirties walked up to Richard, looking at him with anticipation.
“Puedo sacar un foto contigo, Riiichard?!” (Can I get a foto with you?) she asked. He approvingly nodded his head. “Por fiiiiii,” (please) she passed me her cell phone and pleaded in an adorable tone.
Richard wrapped his am around her and flashed a smile that exposed even his wisdom teeth to the fresh coastal breeze. “You know what I love?” I tipped my head towards the woman as I passed her back the camera. “I love when Latin women ask for a quick favor. The way they say ‘por fi…’ It always sounds like they’re flirting, you know?”
Richard began laughing, “True. That’s funny!”
“Yea, and like, when Latin women talk about things they enjoy, they always say, “¡Que rico!” and just the way they trill their R’s and kind of roll their eyes back…it’s hot! It doesn’t matter what a Latin woman is talking about— it could be about how she enjoys sleeping in, or how much she likes a certain spice, she’ll always say, “¡Que rico!” and every time she says it, it’ll sound like she’s purring… purring up a storm of sexy.“
Richard piped a few laughs. “Okay, what do American girls say??” He asked.
“They say, ‘wow! That was delicious.’ Or, ‘Yay, I slept in….’ But there’s no sexual connotation.”
“Well….probably just because you’re too eccentric for American women. Either that or you just flat out don’t know how to tell them on.” he remarked.
I put my hands on my hips and stopped in place. “Richard Rubin… you fucking bastard!!” I yelled as a group of children passed by us on bicycles. Swearing loudly in public has become common place for me in Chile since a large majority of the pedestrians don’t know what I’m saying (safety in numbers).
“Christian, you don’t gotta burst out and yell like that,” Richard stated as he dipped his head and looked to the sides.
“I know, but this is my Saturday, Richard,” I said, “…and I´m not responsible for any of these children, so that means that it´s finally my turn to yell the profanity…. May I?”
He took an extended sigh before finally uttering, “fine.”
“Alright, thank you.” I looked at a nearby women working at a churro stand as she gingerly powdered a new batch. “FUCK yea,” I yelled. She obviously understood the F bomb, because she briefy glanced in our direction.
“Just don’t lose your mind… lot of families around here,” Richard muttered as he hopped off the boardwalk and began kicking the sand the between his feet. “Let’s get to the water, you can swear all you want there.”
‘Alright….sounds good,” I peered to my left and saw a man on the sand wearing bright tight orange pants.
He lifted up his arm, “Riiiichard!” he yelled from his beach umbrella.
“Hola!” Richard gave a thumbs up and waved back.
“Bueno, Richard!” The man continued yelling as he flapped his hand in the air to say hello.
“It cracks me up that you’re basically on high-five and thumbs up duty,” I said.
“I guess you could call it that,” Richard stuck out his tongue.
“So what are you doing now, what’s the next gig for Richard Rubin??” I asked as we continued walking through the sand.
“Maybe a travel show in Europe….I don’t know, we’ll see. What about you? You’ve obviously got some stuff, where are you taking it?”
“Yea, direction…that’s kind of a thing for me… perhaps a problem,” I stated as we reached the shoreline.
“What do you mean, direction is a problem?”
“I mean, it’s just like. I teach English during the day, which is cool, but it can get tiring. I guess when I’m not working as a teacher I look for ways to be the funny gringo guy as you’ve obviously pulled off, although with my own style, which is very distinct.”
“So, when you’re not teaching, you’re thinking about comedy in some way or another.”
“Yea, that’s about right,” I said as we sat down.
“Christian, I’m going to give you some advice…” he paused before he continued, “You don’t have to separate your teaching world from your comedy….think of it like this, you’re being paid to perform! Obviously you still have responsibilities as a teacher, but take the opportunity to do comedy everyday. Billy Crystal was a substitute teacher for years— he practiced his material on his students,” he said as the foamy tide rose to our feet.
“Hmmm….You’re the man Richard, thank you,” I squinted my eyes and gazed into the horizon. “Seriously, you’re the man.” the sound of seagulls squacks reverberated through the air, “I guess I can just make my day like one extended comedy sketch…. An extended, curriculum oriented improv comedy sketch.” I added.
He smiled and nodded his head. “Now you’re getting it,” he said. “Have fun laughing and making people laugh, jump in and be a comedian as often as you can…even while you’re waiting in line at the Super Mercado. You’re a damn foreign guy and that in itself is hilarious,” he grabbed a handful of sand and through it into the ocean. “And hey, if your whole teaching english and doing comedy thing isn’t roping you enough money, you can always be a lemon salesman in Santiago.”
“What about lemon salesmen?” I asked.
“In Santiago, they have lots of protests, you know that right?”
“Yea, the amount of protests they have is pretty obscene!” I exclaimed.
“Yes. Well, almost every protest ends with tear gas,” he stated.
“I know,” I responded. A week earlier I had accidentally walked through a street that was laden with the peppery remains of a protest. Rest assured I cried (just a little).
“Okay, well the only cure for being tear gased is to either breath through a gas mask or to suck on a lemon as forcefully as you can,” he crabwalked back a few steps to avoid the rising tide. He plopped himself back down and continued, “Since lemons are so effective, almost every protest has a few guys that show up selling lemons out of coolers. Christian, you could be a gringo lemon salesman!”
“Richard, you’re a godamn genius!” I fell onto my side in laughter. “All I would have to be good at doing is convincing people that they’re about to get tear gased, which I’m pretty sure I would be fucking great at!”
“Yea, you could say,…’Hey guys, I saw the forecast…70% chance of horrific pain…”
“Get a lemon and buckle your sorry ass up!” I added. A new ocean wave curled and began its smooth advance. I looked at the misty sunset and smiled. It was a great day to be in…
“SHIT- DAMN IT!!” I yelled as I felt the frosty water coursed through my shoes and the bottom part of my pants. “These are the only shoes I brought to Viña!!”
“One day you’ll learn the ways of the gringo Jedi.” Richard calmly stated from his sandy perch a few meters back, “I sure as hell don’t know when…” he commented as I frantically brushed off my pants, “but you’ll certainly join the ranks one day.”