Zé Diogo Quintela

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One of the most talented comedians to rise out of Portugal in the last few years, Zé Diogo Quintela is quite the Lisbon aficionado. Known for his participation in the comedy foursome that is “Gato Fedorento”, he’s spread his skills through acting, screenplay writing, theater, books and television.

Soccer is one of the areas where his outspoken views are most widely recognized, as he is known to never miss a game at Estádio de Alvalade, home of Sporting Clube de Portugal, one of the country’s biggest sports superpowers. Politics is also something that distinguishes him from his other 3 colleagues at Gato Fedorento, who lean towards the left politically and prefer Sporting’s soccer rival, whereas he leans more toward the liberal right.

To get to know his Lisbon preferences a bit better, and his comedy as well, we have asked him a few questions which we are sure he answered without any sarcasm whatsoever:

– Secret location?
If I tell you I have to kill you, sorry. A not-so-secret location is La Campania, a restaurant in Rua da Artilharia Um.

– Best view?
The best Lisbon view is from the riverfront in Almada. Second best is from the cacilheiros, the ferrys that cross the river. The third is from the bridge 25 de Abril.

– A guilty pleasure?
Roaming trough Amoreiras Shopping Center.

– What’s the weirdest thing you’ve experienced in Lisbon?
There’s been an increase in the number of hipsters in Lisbon. Which is really weird, since they wear extremely tight trousers and I don’t know how they manage to reproduce.

– Where can we find you on a Saturday afternoon?
Hopefully, at home, watching English Premier League football. Or, if there isn’t a game on, at Jardim da Estrela with the kids, before eating something at Padaria Portuguesa. And I don’t say that just because I’m one of the owners. Of Padaria Portuguesa, not of Jardim da Estrela.

– A trend for Lisbon’s future?
There’s a lot of trends, actually. The biggest is perhaps the aquatic sports complex being developed all over the city. The city hall choses not to do anything about the floods in order to allow the tourists to surf in Avenida da Liberdade and scuba dive in Alcantara. Pure genius.
Lisbon is now visited by a lot of international stars. We should capitalize on that. Next time, say, the Rolling Stones come visit, we should try to get on to die here, so this becomes a place of pilmigrage for fans. Like Jim Morrisson’s grave, in Paris. It’s called glamorbid tourism.

– Favourite drink in the city? Coolest place to have a drink?
Cold beer. The food roulottes at Estádio de Alvalade when Sporting have a home match. Usually while having pork bifana.
Also very fond of any sparkling wine at the Champanharia do Cais.

– What can you do here & nowhere else?
Hail a cab in 15 seconds, top. And then pay very little for the fare. On top of that, listen to good conversation about every possible subject.
Also, there’s the famous light of Lisbon. As anyone will tell you, Lisbon has amazing light. How to describe it? Lisbon’s light is, no doubt, a light that lights Lisbon. Dawn is something special. First, everything is dark. Then, incredibly, the sun starts to rise in the east. As the sun goes up, something amazing happens and things that we couldn’t see before are now observable. It’s best enjoyed from the Castle. From the walls, Lisbon looks just like a city watched from castle walls. First, you don’t see anything, because there’s a stone. Then you see rooftops, because there’s a crenel. And soo n. At the distance, the bridge 25 de Abril reminds you a structure built specifically to unite two river banks. Anywhere else in the world is Lisbon and Almada connected that way.
All this is provided by the famous light of Lisbon. Then, night falls. Lisbon is no longer illuminated by the light of Lisbon and is, from that moment, illuminated by the light of China, the owner of the power company.

– Favourite book/band/movie?
Favorite book with Lisbon on it: “Era bom que trocássemos umas ideias sobre o assunto”, de Mário de Carvalho.
Favorite musician from Lisbon: Rodrigo Leão.
Favorite movie shot in Lisbon: “Cama de Gato”, de Filipa Reis e João Miller Guerra. Actually, it’s not shot in Lisbon. It’s set in Setubal. But the protagonist comes to Lisbon to visit her boyfriend in jail, so…

– Who would you like to do a live comedy act with?
Alive, Jerry Seinfeld. Dead, anyone would do.

– Something that always makes you laugh?
People dressed up as animals. Unfortunately, we don’t get them much in Lisbon.

– Your favourite person to satirize?
My wife. So easy to satirize and annoy.

– Your biggest inspiration?
Having no money. My best work is done when I really need to earn some.

– What is out of bounds in comedy? Where do you draw the line?
I’m very bad at drawing. Every subject has comic potential. When I don’t make a joke is just because I can’t make it a funny one.

– Where do you like to unwind?
Ericeira, half hour from Lisbon. Nice beaches, nice seafood and fish. Home away from home.

– Something you cannot resist?
Arrest. You shouldn’t, you know? Because the police will be rough on you. Just go along with it.
I’m also very partial to people with an accent from the Beiras. Love those sibilants. I try to have a lot of conversations with people that have that accent.

– Someone to take out for dinner?
My friends. To Pinoquio. Greatest seafood + pica-pau + beer combo in Lisbon.

– Someone NOT to be stuck in an elevator with?
People with halitosis.