Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
AQ Top 5

AQ Top 5 Political Satirists: Malena Pichot

An Argentine trailblazer using comedy to fight for women’s rights.
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Courtesy of Malena Pichot

This article is adapted from AQ’s latest issue on the politics of water in Latin America. Click here for the rest of our list. | Leer en español

“Sometimes you seem a little angry,” Malena Pichot is told in a sketch she produced called “Mansplaining.”

“I don’t ‘seem, eh’” she replies.

For Pichot, being angry about the things that matter — about sexism and gender violence — has driven much of her comedy. After rising to fame in 2008 with a viral video inspired by a breakup, Pichot has landed her own Netflix stand-up special and roles screenwriting for several web and TV series. This year, Pichot is touring with three other comediennes in a show called Persona.

Pichot, 37, has joined a cohort of high-profile activists who have helped champion a sea change in Argentine views on feminist issues, notably abortion, a hot topic in the country in 2018.

It “came out of the closet,” Pichot told AQ. But though the “term ‘abortion’ stopped being a bad word last year,” she’s been riffing on it for the better part of a decade.

Pichot already had loyal fans on YouTube when she started doing standup in bars, part of the vanguard of the genre in Buenos Aires. “Nobody knew what standup was,” she said.

“There’s no point in shying away from controversy,” she told AQ. Even in Argentina’s hyper-polarized electoral year, Pichot has found that having enemies makes her creative juices flow. “Polarizations always existed and always will,” she said. “There are a lot of people who, no matter what you do, won’t like you. It’s ridiculous not to pick a side.”

Pichot did just that when she endorsed Alberto Fernández in the runup to Argentina’s presidential election. “Everybody I know is living a little worse, and a lot of people I don’t know are living a lot worse,” she posted on Instagram, a reference to the recession under incumbent President Mauricio Macri.

While her work has always carried an agenda, Pichot said, in recent years she’s chilled out.

“When I started I was eager to convince people about feminism and make them understand. But it’s been 10 years,” she said. “I grew up.”

Pichot has instead maintained her focus on the quotidian, wry observations that provide much of her current material. “I feel fulfilled. I don’t want to convince anybody.”

Timerman is a freelance reporter in Buenos Aires. She edits the Latin America Daily Briefing.


Tags: Feminism, Malena Pichot, Satire
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