Comedian and T.V. personality Juan Joya Borja, best known in America as the “Spanish Laughing Guy,” has died. Borja was 65 years old and died after what Spanish newspapers described as a “long illness.” He’d been hospitalized in 2020.
Known as El Ristas or “The Giggles” because of his distinct laugh, Borja rose to prominence in his native Spain after being featured on a variety show called Ratones Coloraos. During an interview with host Jesus Quintero, Rojas was telling a funny story about throwing dishes into the ocean while working a job as a young man. Borja found his own story so funny that he could barely get through it between fits of laughter.
Ratones Coloraos uploaded the segment to YouTube that year and it gained popularity in Spain, but Borja’s life as a meme would come almost a decade later. Around 2014, people took the clip and uploaded it with their own subtitles completely unrelated to Borja’s original story. Typically, Borja would take the place of an employee for a large company who would cackle through a story about how stupid their boss or a customer was.
When Apple announced a new MacBook in 2015, El Ristas giggled through its poor specifications as an Apple Engineer. El Ristats stood in for every person who’d encountered a flat earther, fought with their family about Brexit, or tried to buy a new graphics card in the past year.
No matter how bad the news, Borja could help you laugh through it. He is the inverse of the Hitler downfall meme. He’s someone who tells a story or explains a concept that is so ridiculous, he can barely get through it because he’s laughing so much.