In our busy agenda meeting this morning at UOL, almost all we talked about was the death of Jô Soares and how he walked, with his intelligence, culture and good humor, through almost all areas of Brazilian life in the last six decades.
From politics to footballfrom fine humor to criticism of customs, from theater to song, from literature to cinema, from science to the arts, nothing escaped the interest of this man of a thousand instruments. His famous catchphrases are repeated to this day: “Me disconnect the tube”, “Vai pra casa, Padilha”, “Bota Ponta, Telê”, among hundreds of others of his unforgettable characters. Jô Soares was not one, he was many…
Without being a musician, he was worth an entire orchestra; alone on stage, he filled every space, and it wasn’t just for his sturdiness.
Jô had the gift of laughing at himself, and so he gave himself the right to make fun of others who went to his program, he didn’t forgive anyone. Neither did I, as happened once on a recording in which he was particularly inspired, when I went to talk about my memoir “Do Golpe ao Planalto”.
He couldn’t see clearly who appeared in the old photographs projected on a screen, he confused Jesus with Genésio (whoever is interested can check it out in the Globoplay archive). The audience and he were dying of laughter, and I was kind of embarrassed…
With his death, Brazil became a little dumber. A powerful light that illuminated the basements of the powerful of all times and latitudes was extinguished.
Already sick, away from the spotlight that accompanied him all his life, he worked until the end. Lately, he devoted himself hard to the assembly of what would be his last work, the play “À half light”, scheduled for release in September.
Nothing escaped his gaze. Another time, during a dinner, he had fun with the magazine editor Thomaz Souto Correa when he saw me making the dish with everything he was entitled to. “I think you better make one dish at a time… So you tortured the salad that was so beautiful…”
Jô did everything, and he did everything well. He was a perfectionist without being boring; a very cultured man, without being pedantic. He treated everyone the same, calling you, from the President of the Republic to the garbage collector.
In 2004, on the re-launch of his program, after the vacation period, he wanted to interview President Lula at Palácio da Alvorada. He arranged everything with me, who was press secretary, I arranged with the president, and we set the date on the official agenda.
Unbeknownst to me, Lula also arranged an interview for the Ratinho program, which ended up airing before Jô, and he had no doubts. Injured by the slight, he canceled the interview. He was very angry with me, but I was not at fault in this story, as he would later find out. After this quibble, Lula would no longer go to his program. And Jô never gave me an interview again.
He could be very funny, but he didn’t joke around. Very loyal to his many collaborators, who accompanied him throughout his career, such as Diléa Frate, Anne Porlan and Max Nunes, this rare multimedia artist left his talent recorded in TV shows, concerts, books, plays, movie scripts, articles of newspapers and magazines, as you will be able to read and remember in the many articles of my colleagues here at UOL.
For me, it’s the memory of a kind friend, good at talking, a Brazilian citizen who made us proud. They don’t make Jô Soares like they used to…
Life goes on.