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Saturday, August 19, 2017

By David Alire Garcia

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) — Decked out in dark suits and outlandish blond wigs, a clutch of Mexico’s most popular comedians lambasts Donald Trump as a dangerous buffoon in a new play that hits back over his anti-Mexican comments on the U.S. election campaign trail.

When he entered the presidential race in June, Trump thundered against Mexico and its undocumented migrants in the United States, dismissing them as rapists and drug runners.

Since then, the controversial billionaire and front-runner for the Republican nomination has advocated deporting millions and even criticized rival Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish in public.

Trump’s comments helped propel him to the front of the Republican field but have caused offense south of the border, where about a third of all Mexicans have relatives living in the United States.

The new show, Sons of Trump, kicks off with a massive image of his grinning face projected onto a $100 bill before a voice in a heavy American accent bellows: “Welcome, frijoleros!” an anti-Mexican slur meaning “beaners”, or “bean lovers.”

In a series of sketches over the next 80 minutes, the play turns the tables on the 69-year-old Trump, portraying him as a caricature of the Ugly American who early on sums up his philosophy as: “You have to steal, kill, blame others.”

Audience members roared their approval at the slapstick put-downs of Trump during Friday night’s premiere in Mexico City.

“As we say here, if you dish it out, you’ve got to be able to take it,” comic Freddy Ortega, one of the stars of the show, told Reuters.

Humor is therapeutic for Mexicans struggling to make sense of Trump’s political rise, said Ortega, who is best known for skewering his own country’s politicians.

“I came because of all the ridicule he’s heaped on Mexicans, and now it’s our turn to make fun of him,” said Patricia Gomez, a 60-year-old psychologist.

“This is a parody of what Mexicans think of Americans like Trump,” said actress Ruby Araoz, 27.

The drubbing of Trump as a greedy capitalist was not custom-made for the real estate mogul — the show is a remake of “Brokers”, a satire on the excesses of high finance that has run in Mexico City over the past few years.

“But now that Donald Trump has exploded in the news… it made sense to do it again and I think they’re going to make a lot of money,” said Sergio Villegas, a top Mexican set designer.

The outrage over Trump’s comments has, however, also inspired some new attempts at flying the flag for Mexico.

Former foreign minister Jorge Castaneda last week unveiled a television advertising blitz targeting U.S. airwaves under the slogan “Proud to be Mexican” that will feature high profile figures such as billionaire tycoon Carlos Slim, Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuaron and soccer star Javier Hernandez.

“We’ve come together to refute Trump and tell Americans that Mexico is a nation of successful people, both in our country and in his,” Castaneda said in a video posted online.

Taking a blunter approach, Ortega said Sons of Trump is booked for a six-week run in Mexico City, and will then look to travel to U.S. venues including Los Angeles and Chicago.

Beyond the jokes, he acknowledges that Trump’s success to date has caused real pain.

“But you’ve got to find humor in all things,” he said. “In life, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”

 

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Simon Gardner and Kieran Murray)

Mexican comics, one of them dressed as U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (front C), poke fun at the candidate during the show entitled “Sons of Trump” at the Aldana theater in Mexico City, Mexico October 3, 2015. REUTERS/Henry Romero