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A month without Zhvanetsky: personal reflections on the phenomenon of a genius satirist

Sergey Evelev

writer, TV and radio host


A month ago, Zhvanetsky left us. The pain will pass. The feeling of loss will dull. It always happens that way. Time spares us, heals our wounds as much as it can. But no one will come to replace him. Not tomorrow, not in a year, not in a hundred. Because nature, although it makes generous gifts, but not so often.

Screenshot: Big Money / YouTube

Hopefully we will learn to appreciate them. Sometimes it works. For billions of us, there are very few Pushkins, Chekhovs, Baryshnikovs, Listovs, Bachs, Chaliapins and Michelangelo. It's a pity, but it's a fact. And all the more joyful that we have found someone of the great and inimitable. Not everyone is so lucky.

Who was he, Mikhal Mikhalych Zhvanetsky? How did he manage to fish out thoughts and clothe them in an incredibly elegant and insanely funny form? I have no idea. Is it a talent? Certainly. This was the award given to him. Many people walked around Odessa. Many have read Chekhov and Babel, but few could turn ordinary words into fireworks of humor and a tsunami of satire. He knew how to do it masterly and filigree, which, again, is a gift from the gods, I think.

Who was he, Michal Mikhalych Zhvanetsky?

Once after the concert I heard how they called him “the buffoon at the king's throne” ... Well, first of all, not the king, but kings, I thought, since he managed to catch several. Some even survive ...

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Yes, the smartest were always chosen as jesters. And the jester was always with any king, no more. And only he, no one else, was allowed to say what he thought and mock those in power, without consequences in the form of poisoning the whole body or cutting off any important part of it. Heads, for example. Everyone knew the jester, loved, understood and prayed for him. He voiced everything that others were thinking, without fear, without bowing to danger, always “walking under the bullets”. But there is a difference. More precisely, Zhvanetsky and the buffoon are even two big differences, since we have already started talking about Odessa. Once upon a time the king appointed the jester. And Michal Mikhalych - whatever one may say, he appointed himself, and probably would not agree with the title of jester. With the title of duty in the country - yes, but a jester ... hardly.

It seems to me that our idol swam against the tide for so many years that, in any case, he deserved all the honors that fell to him, and even more. On the other hand, thanks for not being killed at all for a long tongue. Or they could, easily, and more than once. In the country of “eternally unlearned lessons,” this sometimes happened: either the ice ax landed unsuccessfully on the head, then the truck suddenly jumped out onto the road, then you eat stale or crushed glass mushrooms ... I ate and fell ill ...

So, whatever one may say, but besides his genius, we still have to thank the authorities for not letting go, which I was very afraid, seeing and hearing who he was aiming at and how sharply ... And always. But ... it carried over. They gave a person to live his life and have time to say everything about everyone.

No, of course, he could have made it to a hundred, but it seems to me that in the life of every person there comes a day when a bell rings up above, in heavenly bookkeeping, and the decision of higher powers interrupts earthly life, possibly transferring everyone to another place, where he is needed now. Apparently deciding that here he had already done enough. And indeed, Zhvanetsky did a lot, for which, again, unearthly thanks to everyone. And to his parents, and the environment, and a set of genes, and Odessa, which has perfected its language, and irreconcilability in finding its own path. And the courage to step on it and never, until the last day, leave the course, despite the ninth waves, prohibitions, the periodic absence of a tailwind and a bluebird, censorship and the need not only to create masterpieces, but also to punch through the ever-created obstacles with your head, to take by storm citadels ... So that life does not seem like honey.

Who was he, Michal Mikhalych? Our beacon in the dark A thermometer of conscience, a measure of modesty and decency. A thorn in the ass. A ray of light in an ocean of darkness, filth, filth, meanness, money-grubbing, a system of rejection of talent and a test of strength, which he went through millions of times. Or it might not have passed. And bend over. And break down. And change your mind.

And refuse. And ... to deprive us of hundreds, even thousands, of hours of joy, sparks from our eyes, stomach aches from laughter. But he was lucky. And we ... We were even more lucky. This is understandable right away when our children or grandchildren listen to him and do not smile. Because for them he - speaks the Martian language. And we understand, because he is “our Martian”. He made his dishes from sparks extracted from our brains. He processed them and returned them to the address - back to us, and he did it like no one else. A genius - he is a genius because he cannot be understood, explained, repeated, and very often - not appreciated in time ... Fortunately, this is not the case. We managed to evaluate it.

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Let's celebrate his life as best he can. Carry his word like a rolling banner. No, not red. Red is the color of blood. And they spoiled a lot of blood for him for the right to become who was appointed by fate.

Hurray - Zhvanetsky!

Hurray for his wonderful life filled with people and joy. And we also got a little hurray, because we understood his “laughter through tears” ... a typical Russian game. And they played it with him. And they were able to decorate their life with them, which without such people resembles an Olivier salad without mayonnaise, a bicycle without a steering wheel, or a bare herring in winter ... Because without a fur coat.

If you want to talk with me about it - go to my page in facebook.

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