Costa says democracy “gained color” with Herman, a comedian “committed to freedom”

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The outgoing Prime Minister, António Costa, today praised Herman José’s career, considering him a “comedian unconditionally committed to freedom” and whose programs allowed democracy to leave “black and white television” and gain color.

At the ceremony to award the Medal of Cultural Merit – which took place this afternoon in the gardens of the Prime Minister’s official residence precisely on the day Herman José turned 70 and ended with a cake and congratulations – António Costa considered that “it’s no coincidence” that the comedian’s 50-year career is being celebrated at the same time that Portuguese democracy is also celebrating the same half-century of life.

“The Portuguese government pays tribute to him by awarding him the Medal of Cultural Merit, in recognition of his invaluable life’s work dedicated to television and the performing arts, radio and, in particular, his pioneering work as a comedian unconditionally committed to freedom,” praised António Costa.

According to the Prime Minister, Herman José “began his acting career just a few months after April 25, 1974” in a revue called “Uma no cravo, outra na ditadura”.

Costa recalled his programs such as Tal Canal and Hermanias, which represented a “historic change” and “revolution in the type of humor” that was made in Portugal, considering that Herman “truly invented modern humor in Portugal”.

“With Herman José, our democracy came out of black and white television, gained color, laughed, laughed and made us laugh. With Herman, we grew in democracy and democracy grew in its freedom,” he emphasized.

According to the prime minister, “the absolute freedom” that Herman José brought to prime time on state television, when there were still no private television channels, was “a true test of maturity for a democracy that is still young”.

“Humor is vital for any democratic society because it tests freedom of expression in that society. With Herman José we learned that, even in a democracy, making humor is sometimes an act of courage,” he recalled, referring to the Humor de Perdição program that was “abruptly suspended” by RTP because of a section with historical interviews.

Costa also recalled that, years later, a sketch about the Last Supper “triggered a protest petition with 250,000 signatures that only had no consequences because this time RTP’s management resisted”.

“The succession of television programs that he has written since the 1980s until today, almost without interruption, makes Herman José a unique case of television longevity,” he praised.

At this point in his speech, and drawing laughter from the small audience watching the intimate moment, the Prime Minister, who is still in office, recalled Herman José characters whose “phrases and expressions, repeated from episode to episode, have entered the everyday speech of the Portuguese”, citing some of them such as “There was no need”, by the character Deacon Remédios, or “This man is not from the North” and even “Where were you on April 25th?”.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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