Artist with OI: Felipe Mateos
For the Artists with OI-column in the OIFE Magazine, we interviewed Felipe Mateos, a stand-up comedian from Spain.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m 27 years old and I’ve been a stand-up comedian for eight years. Little by little I am better known in Spain (Television, radio, social networks…) and I have many followers on Instagram. Also, I just wrote a book, ‘Being different is not so strange’, where I talk about my life with OI, about disability, and I explain my personal vision of comedy.
How do you live?
Since a year I have been living with a roommate in a central apartment in Madrid. It has an elevator to the apartment, and I have also bought a small stool to reach the high furniture. I also have an adjustable bed. I normally use a cane to walk, although I also use a wheelchair for long distances.
In what way has OI affected your art?
In my comedy shows I talk about my height and my physique openly. Also, I’m talking about my OI. For example, I explain what OI is. I usually say “It means brittle bones. Meaning if I die, throw me in the recycling bin!” However, OI has never stopped me from doing what I like. I have done stand-up comedy, since I was 18 years old. I have even done shows sitting in a wheelchair due to a fracture or with casts.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently in full promotion of my book ‘Being different is not so strange’ and touring my country with my stand-up comedy show ‘Hate comes in small bottles’. Soon I will release a new stand-up comedy special and a sketch comedy show. Maybe in the next few months I’ll release a podcast, but who knows?
Why do you do what you do?
The first time I got on stage was to do poetry. Then, one day a friend told me that I was very funny and then I decided to try stand-up comedy. Now I do it because it’s my lifestyle and it pays the bills. Also, doing stand-up is what makes me happiest.
Further, I have always hated office work and work that forces me to get up early. Another advantage of dedicating myself to doing stand-up comedy.
What’s your scariest experience related to your work?
There have been and will continue to be bad shows, but I especially remember the first one I did eight years ago. That was terrible! My first performance was for the benefit of deaf and mute people. I had the sun in my face, and I couldn’t see the audience, and next to me there was a sign language interpreter who translated everything I said. Plus, it was in a school, on the street, with fairground rides playing. I thought the show was going very badly because I didn’t hear anyone applauding. But it turns out that deaf and mute people do not clap their hands together, but rather they applaud by waving their hands in the air. But I didn’t see them because I had the sun in my face. A real disaster.
What’s your favourite artwork?
Stand-up comedy. I imagine it won’t surprise anyone… Although I miss writing and reciting poetry.
In your opinion, what role does the artist have in society?
I believe that an artist has the duty to reflect to society what society itself does. Its defects and how to correct them. Its advantages and how to defend them. Furthermore, specifically in stand-up comedy, you have to be critical and try to make the limits of humour less rigid each time. In the specific case of artists with disabilities, I think it is an unbeatable opportunity to make people understand that, above all, we are people. We are not just a wheelchair, or a disease, or a cane…
What is your dream project?
I have been very lucky because in recent years I have been able to fulfil the dreams that I have set for myself. Lately I have a new one… Record a comedy special and have it distributed on a streaming platform like Netflix or HBO.
Do you have any messages for readers of OIFE Magazine or for OIFE?
The only message I can convey to you is the importance of humour, always. To heal, to be better people, to assert ourselves as people with disabilities, to have better mental health and to know ourselves. Let’s never stop making jokes. And you know… See you at the recycling bin!
This article was first published in OIFE Magazine 4-2023.