She is the star of the #1 show on the colony of Puerto Rico, on the island’s largest channel. She spends each day criticizing and analyzing current events in Puerto Rico, from politics to crimes. Her shows are now broadcast in the United States via the Internet. Her creator reportedly makes $2 million a year.
She is La Comay, a personality with unfiltered and uncorroborated opinions. And she is a puppet. We repeat: she is a puppet.
In a media age where talking heads and opinion shapers dominate the US mainstream media, La Comay (who is portrayed by actor Kobo Santarrosa) is part gossip queen, part political instigator, and part yellow journalist. The puppet headlines WAPA TV’s SuperXclusivo show, which is broadcast both on the island and on WAPA América in the US.
The format is simple: La Comany sits on her throne, while her sidekick Hector Travieso eggs her on, as they comment, criticize, and expose anyone and anything that they see wrong with Puerto Rico. The show’s tactics reek of typical yellow journalism: the innuendos that are labeled as “exclusivo;” the call-in number “tip” lines; the video loops that keep playing over and over and over again; the photos of individuals pulled from social media sites; and finally, the “journalists” who abuse their craft.
Yet, because of her popularity, La Comay also has the power to interview Governors, as she did in 2009 with Republican Governor Luis Fortuño.
It is a tired and well-proven formula, one that pits class vs. class, politician vs. politician, all in the name of comedy and “bochinche” (“commotion”). La Comay knows her audience: give them gossip, give them juicy stories, and screw anyone who gets in the way. But, as the ratings suggest, the colony of Puerto Rico devours La Comay like a mango. Not a day goes by that the people of Puerto Rico don’t talk about a puppet.
However, it appears that the silence about La Comay has started to end. Recently, La Comay used the word “pato” when describing Ricky Martin’s homosexuality. “Pato,” besides being the Spanish word for “duck,” is an offensive term to describe gays. Looks like the puppet had to apologize. And the apology is quite flowery and lengthy.
This action by La Comay is an obvious realization that the show’s ways of polarizing and offending are starting to get more scrutiny. Perhaps it’s the fact that the show is being broadcast in the United States or maybe the colony of Puerto Rico is starting to speak out.
As for the puppet, we say: don’t hide behind your puppet mask. Show your damn face. Stick to real comedy, and shed the sensationalism. Yellow journalism does nothing to help the colony of Puerto Rico. In fact, your methods just perpetuate a culture of extreme divisiveness and does very little to unite a nation that needs healing.