Monday, June 21, 2010

Cala Boca Galvão – Brazilian Inside Joke

Explaining Brazilian humor sometimes challenges this writer.
But I’m going to give it a go.


Before you read any further, please look at the video that I've embedded above.
And, if your browser doesn’t show it embedded, click here to see it:
As a matter of fact, you might want to do that anyway.
Because the embedding cuts off the right side of the image.

Okay, you’ve seen the video?

Now admire the poster.
Think you now know what the cala boca galvão movement is all about?
Well, you don’t.

Here’s the real Galvão.
That’s right, a person, not a parrot.
Galvão Bueno is Brazil’s leading sports commentator.
He does play-by-play on all sorts of sports.
Especially football (soccer).
The thing about Galvão is that he talks a lot.
Some people like it.
Others go as far as accusing him of being a bombastic cliché machine and wish he’d shut up and let them enjoy the games.

The World Cup, as I don’t have to tell you, is being played out.
Galvão is calling most of the games.
We’re all hearing him a lot.
And, if you go into a Brazilian bar, or other public place, when a game is on, you’ll often hear someone say “cala boca, Galvão”, the literal meaning of which is “shut up Galvão”.
And, now, in a typical manifestation of Brazilian humor, non-Portuguese speakers around the world are being enlisted to participate.
Under false pretenses.
What they think they’re doing is supporting a movement to save a nonexistent parrot called the galvão.
What they’re actually doing is signing an electronic petition telling Galvão Bueno to shut up.
And over one million of them have already done it.
And, now, there’s this:

If you don’t see it embedded, go here:

As a footnote to the main event, other Brazilians have plugged in phony subtitles to this YouTube video. They purport to show Hitler reacting to the phenomenon. The Lady Gaga comment refers to a secondary hoax, now being spread, that Cala Boca Galvão is actually the title of a new song recorded by Lady Gaga. (The large titles are in Portuguese, but there are small ones, in English, above the image.)

Leighton - Monday


  1. I will send my tweet if I ever stop laughing!

  2. The people who put the Hitler piece together are geniuses. Absurdity translates to every language. This was just plain hilarious.

    I don't Tweet but the idea that Hitler and his henchmen would do so about Lady Gaga, a parrot, and the World Cup sent me back to enjoy that clip more than a few times.

    From what I have read about Anthony Hopkins, he would likely find the use of his portrayal of the monster pretty funny, too.

    So Brazilians don't take anything seriously? Or do they just focus on the serious business of the World Cup and their booming economy?


  3. Thank you, Leighton. I've seen a number of English-language parodies using this Hitler/Hopkins clip, but this is the first in Portugese. And this first to acknowledge Lady Gaga's impact on international politics, the survival of mythical bird species and the tender sensibilities of Brazilian soccer fans.

    What is bothersome, however, is being reminded yet again of the amount of time and passion and effort expended on rooting for a bunch of divas wearing shorts and chasing a new defective Adidas ball while being chastised by old defective referees, at a time when there are so many more important ongoing tragic events that serious adults need to address.

    I mean, we are approaching July and the Cubs are already seven games under .500. This is no time inflict laughter on unsuspecting victims like me.


  4. Hi Leighton,

    That's pretty funny.

    Before I saw Lenny's comment I thought about Harry Kary and Howard Cosell, it was funny he mentioned the Cubs.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the videos, it's nice to a start Monday with a laugh instead of OMG! It's Monday.


  5. Hilarious. I've seen that video before, but with subtitles relating to lackluster sales of Mein Kampf...

  6. Oh, my God, a Cubs fan. I think we should declare this comments section closed as a way to create a virtual moment of silence.

  7. Tim, we need to encourage Cubs fans not to give up. My Red Sox managed it after 86 years and the "Curse of the Bambino".

    It may have to do with the fan frenzy that makes the Red Sox kings of the Boston sports world. I don't want to disparage Chicago Cubs fans but the Red Sox have sold out every home game since May 15, 2003, a total of 587 games. Yes, I realize Fenway is small but it is the intent of the fans to never let a seat go unoccupied that inflames the loyalty of the fans to the point that they ignore that seats at Fenway are the most expensive in either league (except for, maybe, the Yankees but they always have to try to go one better than the Sox).

    Lenny,the Red Sox fans of the world understand the pain that Cubs fans suffer. We can sympathize with them and cheer for them because they aren't in the same league. We even remember when the National League was good.



  8. God, some people are SO much nicer than others.

  9. Wait a minute. You "remember when the National League was good?" Excuse ME? The designated hitter alone makes the American League the adult version of Pop Warner baseball.

    How could I ever have thought you were nice? What a profound disappointment.

  10. Tim, I think you missed the first part of my post, the part where I write "My Red Sox". Even the Cubs were spared the humiliation that was heaped upon the Red Sox year in and year out by the Yankees, the team about whom a musical was written with a title stolen from Red Sox fans.

    What I did not say was that I know anything about the sport, or any other for that matter. I understand the basic fundamentals of hockey and basketball. The object is to get our round thing into the mesh container defended by the opponent. The best description of football I ever read was written by Dave Barry. He described his toddler-age daughter calling the action as she saw it: "They stand up. Oh, they fall down. They stand up. Oh, they fall down." Looks like that to me, too. Of course, we do have Tom Brady and a couple or three Superbowl Championships so football is talked about year-round, such as, "Will Brady move to Brazil?" Maybe, Leighton, he could start playing soccer (football) for Gisele's country.

    Tim, I am sorry that I misrepresented myself to you but even four brothers couldn't get me interested in the finer points of the game. My husband is more interested in baseball than the other sports; after 35 years he doesn't bother trying to explain it.

  11. Tim, Beth--

    Thank you for your commiseration.

    Being a Cubs fan isn't entirely terrible. We've learned to appreciate the pleasure in small victories, such as the way our very existence amuses fans of other teams, the kind who win something every century or so.

    Even the worst aspect of being a Cubs fan--which is the way we subscribe to the delusion that somehow things will be different next year--brings with it the pride of knowing the Cubs are far and away the most Chekovian of major league franchises.

    But to get back to the topic of this blog entry: how to get rid of an annoying announcer. Leighton, satirical videos about Hitler and nonexistent species are fun but aren't going to cut it. Perhaps someone can start a social networking movement to persuade all of Brazil to turn off the sound on their TV sets during matches, and listen to the radio commentary.

    Of course, if Galvao also does the radio feed, you guys are screwed. At which point Brazilians will have to make like Cubs fans and seek philosophical solace.

    What's Portugese for: "At least we're not France?"


  12. LOVE your posts.

    FYI Leighton - you can adjust the width and height of the embed code to get You Tube videos to fit. I discovered this after fighting with it for a while. Look for the words width and height and reduce the numbers until you get a good fit. The numbers will appear at the beginning and end of the code.

  13. Annamaria
    Please don't tweet. I'm starting to feel sorry for Galvão. It is, after all, his art. Kinda like asking us to stop writing.

    Brazilians take football (sorry, soccer) very seriously indeed - but Diego Maradona, the great Argentinean striker of yore, and their current coach, keeps provoking the Brazilian team, saying that they're only interested in jokes and samba. Hitler's remarks are another Brazilian in-joke - and it's directed at him.

    The thing about football (soccer) as compared to baseball is that our balls are much bigger than yours and... (No, wait, that didn't come out right.)
    As to the other topics:
    Galvão does do a radio feed, but there are other options. And the folks that don't like him worked that out long ago.
    And the translation you asked for is "Pelo menos nós não somos a França". (Not in this Cup, thank God.)

    Bless you. Let me express my gratitude for all of us on this blog. Nobody had any idea that you could re-size those YouTube videos.
    I, for one, shall be sure to do it from now on.