SLOVAK ACTOR JÚLIUS SATINSKÝ DIES AFTER LONG SICKNESS

Legendary comedian leaves grief behind

HUNDREDS of people were queuing in a seemingly never-ending line at Śtúdio S theatre on January 3. They had come to say goodbye to the one who had taught them how to laugh about themselves - comedian Július Satinský.
Familiarly called Julo, actor and writer Satinský has left his friends, colleagues and audience in grief after he lost his long battle with cancer on December 29, 2002. He will always be remembered as a clown, a storyteller, a friend to children, Slovakia's uncrowned king of humour and a noble-minded man.
Satinský's name and theatrical career are inseparable from the person of Milan Lasica. The two created a perfect comic duo and during four decades on stage together, they become an institution in Slovakia as well as in the Czech Republic. Their initials, L+S, stood for intelligent, absurd humour, which was based on collages taken from everyday life. In their plays they improvised and juggled with language and even though they never did political cabaret, their sketches always had the right mix of irony and parody to be a reference to current events.


LASICA and Satinský charmed audiences for more than 40 years with their clever wordplay and comic routines.
photo: TASR

HUNDREDS of people were queuing in a seemingly never-ending line at Śtúdio S theatre on January 3. They had come to say goodbye to the one who had taught them how to laugh about themselves - comedian Július Satinský.

Familiarly called Julo, actor and writer Satinský has left his friends, colleagues and audience in grief after he lost his long battle with cancer on December 29, 2002. He will always be remembered as a clown, a storyteller, a friend to children, Slovakia's uncrowned king of humour and a noble-minded man.

Satinský's name and theatrical career are inseparable from the person of Milan Lasica. The two created a perfect comic duo and during four decades on stage together, they become an institution in Slovakia as well as in the Czech Republic. Their initials, L+S, stood for intelligent, absurd humour, which was based on collages taken from everyday life. In their plays they improvised and juggled with language and even though they never did political cabaret, their sketches always had the right mix of irony and parody to be a reference to current events.

Like Laurel and Hardy, their image and performances involved two contrary characters, who complemented each other. Satinský always played the funny guy, in real life and on stage, wearing overalls with a bow tie or a ridiculously long scarf, a chubby villager with a naive expression on his face. And Lasica, with the clothes and vocabulary of a perfect gentleman, portrayed an intellectual with a sceptical grin, the perfect counterpart to Satinský. One of their legendary performances was Milan Kundera's Jacques and His Master, in which Satinský played the servant Jacques and Lasica his master.

Satinský was one of the most popular Slovak actors in the Czech Republic, thanks to a great extent to his role in the movie S tebou mě baví svět (With You, I Enjoy the World, 1983) which was named the Czech comedy of the century. Satinský plays one of three fathers who go on a skiing holiday with all their children but without their wives, resulting in minor catastrophes that lead to an amazing sequence of funny scenes and original dialogue.

He also starred in one of the three Czechoslovak movies to be nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film. And even though Jiří Menzel's film Vesničko má středisková (My Sweet Little Village, 1986) did not win the prestigious award, the movie has become a classic of Slovak and Czech cinema.


CZECH culture minister Pavel Dostál attended the public wake.
photo: TASR

"I remember that when the film was nominated for an Oscar, [Satinský] called me and said that as opposed to me, he didn't have the [Oscar] statue yet. And when we didn't win it, he said that it didn't matter - at least we hadn't become too proud," Menzel said about his friendship with the actor in the daily SME.

One of the many examples of Satinský's tickling humour is a story told by musician and composer Peter Brainer. "I remember a wild night when about 30 people happened to gather in my tiny flat and Julo shouted daringly across the room to a certain female flute player: 'Madam, do you realise that the two of us are of completely different sex?'"

Many of Satinský's quotations have grown so popular that they have become part of the vernacular. Many people have adopted the word 'čučoriedky', which he used not in its original meaning (blueberries) but to describe young girls or women.

Also unforgettable is his quotation: "It's not an art to drink when you feel like it but when you don't!" - sprinkled with just the right amount of irony, which was one of Satinský's trademarks.

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