Cuban comic says Obama changed script, added Cuban slang to phone call skit (VIDEO)
The video was posted by the US embassy in Cuba and the White House on Saturday, garnering thousands of views online by Monday.
The idea to film a conversation between Panfilo, a comic character in the popular Cuban TV show Vivir del Cuento, and Obama had come to Silva a lot earlier, he told RT.
“In several different episodes my character Panfilo repeatedly cites his telephone calls to President Obama,” Silva said in an interview to RT in Cuba. “He told people that he will call Obama, that he was given his telephone number, that sometimes the line is busy, sometimes it’s not, and he couldn’t contact him. That is why Panfilo was surprised when President Obama picked up the phone himself.”
The nearly three and a half minute video opens with Panfilo trying to call the Meteorological Institute in Casa Blanca, but somehow reaching the White House by mistake. At first, Panfilo is shocked that he got the actual president on the line.
“Oh my God I’m talking with Obama,” the comedian says. “Yes the real Obama. Who’s this?” the president replies.
“I’m Panfilo from Cuba,” the comedian answers.
“The real Panfilo – from the TV show?” Obama plays along speaking in Spanish.
“From the TV show. Oh, he knows me!”
Then the two start talking about Obama’s visit to Cuba, and Panfilo gives the president tourist advice and offers him a ride from the airport. The comedian even tells Obama that he and his wife Michelle can stay at his house if they don’t have a place to crash. Obama swaps a few jokes in Spanish with Panfilo before agreeing to meet him in Havana. They end the conversation like old friends, saying “see you!”
“The White House was always aware of all the details about the call, about the scenario…” Silva said. “In this case we were absolutely open.”
The show makers wrote the scenario, but Obama made some tweaks of his own, changing his lines and adding a new spin to the dialogue, Panfilo added.
“We wrote the scenario, however President Obama added something himself, we were very surprised by this, because he sent his part after he filmed it [with the changes]. We had to put the two parts together and were shocked when we discovered that Obama added the words: ‘¡No me digas! ¿Qué bolá?’ We were struck dumb.”
The phrase means “You don’t say. What’s up?” in Cuban slang.
“I already filmed the part of Panfilo where there was no reaction to this phrase, so we had to modify the video, film it and add Panfilo’s reply behind the scenes,” Silva said.
The popular comedian said that the show makers didn’t expect such a boisterous reaction on social media.
“We’ve worked hard on this show for seven years, so that the humor is worthy, without borders and clear to all strata of society, so that it touched upon various aspects of everyday life. We’re very pleased. We weren’t prepared for such a boisterous reaction on social media. Now papers around the world write about it. It was all so unexpected,” he said. “It is quite natural that if a comic TV show that goes on in Cuba airs a president of a certain country – in this case, the president of the US – it must cause a certain resonance. But we are happy with everything that happened.”
On Sunday, Obama and his family arrived in Havana on a historic visit to Cuba, as the two countries seek to mend ties after over half a century estrangement.