Rui Pêgo

Illustration by: Mariana Cáceres

Interview by: João Miguel Fernandes (originally published in 2014)

Occupation: TV & Radio Host

Click here to read the interview in Portuguese


1 – Who influenced you more in your life?

Gisela Serrano (she was part of a reality show and this is obviously a joke), but unfortunately I haven’t met her yet. Now seriously, I have no idols, I don’t have a favorite dish, nor a favorite band. I have some difficulty choosing a person who has influenced me a lot. There are people I think are incredible, like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, from a professional point of view. In Portugal I really like Eládio Climaco, Bruno Nogueira… maybe António Sala too. From a personal point of view it’s easy to say my parents, because I like them and because it was nice of them to have made me. Otherwise I don’t have a specific person.

2 – Tell us about a moment in your childhood that you remember clearly.

I don’t know if I can talk about it, I have to keep something for my biography (laughs). When I was eight I was invited to present something for the first time in my life. They took me to “Mundo Vip”, the tv show hosted by Paulo Pires and Filipa Garnel, and they told me that I was going to do a report. So I went with Ana Marques to Alentejo to interview children. I remember that in the end I was thinking that I already knew how to do that and that it was what I wanted to do for my life.

3 – Given the current crisis in Portugal, what would you do to change something?

I would make people not take themselves so seriously. I would kill EMEL (Municipal Mobility and Parking Company of Lisbon) because I think they are responsible for most of our illnesses. I would had to find some mechanism for people to make a joke that they considered offensive every day. I think people have to mentally free themselves.

4 – Tell us a little bit about your experience on the TV show “Curto Circuito”.

“Curto Circuito” was a lot of fun to do, although it was also scary because when I won the casting I was only nineteen and had a thrombosis, because I spoke a lot like a “beto” (fancy kid). It was three years of a certain violence, because it was every day and you had to deal with a target that was very volatile and opinionated. I loved doing “Curto Circuito” because it had a call center feeling, the most absurd people could call and that made me really happy. I really liked the unexpected tension of the calls, of not having anything written.

I have a thousand funny stories. Once, we connected the webcams and we saw a strange asylum. It’s very difficult to synthesize the experience of three years in a nutshell. It was very good because it made me much confident and better communicator. I feel that “Curto Circuito” was high school and radio was my university.

“I would love to host ” The weakest link” or “Secret Story”, because I love to say whatever I want. I would suggest a mission for competitors where they would be be closed in a basement and read Proust.What interests me most is playing with people’s perceptions, because they are all very serious.”

5 – How has your radio experience been? Do you think radio has plays a more central role in terms of promoting culture?

I never thought I was going to make radio, I didn’t think I had the voice for it. I’ve always been “more television” because I think a lot about images, I didn’t think radio was my area. Then I went to do an internship for “Radar” and I tried to figure out if I could do it. I started going to concerts, promoting bands, Vodafone suddenly appears and the music scene grows, it gets richer. There is no such thing as dictatorship of taste, there are several types of radios. I think Portugal is alive on several points, from pop to indie. I always thought there was room for people to show their music. Radio has created an industry that I don’t know if existed before.

6 – You studied Law, Communication, now History. What caused so much indecision?

I was forced to go to law school because my parents thought it was a really good course. Communication was a very incipient course, my parents thought it didn’t give me a great advantage. They thought I wanted to be a journalist, but I wanted to be a clown. My experience in law was horrible, I hated it. The first year of the course coincided with the year I entered to “Curto Circuito”, so I had one thing I loved and one I hated. I know I could have finished the course, but I didn’t want to. Then I went to Communication Sciences in Lusófona, which was also a less positive experience. I remember in one class that they were trying to explain what “Sic”(portuguese TV channel) was, there I thought I had to go away. I decided to go back and take the national exams again, I went to Portuguese and History classes, with very young kids and I did the national exams, but I didn’t have the classification I wanted for Communication at Nova University. So I went to History and continued to work. I could take a year off to finish the course, but I think at the moment it would be a wrong decision.

7 – Do you think that with the internet, television will be able to survive in the next few years?

 

I think television is going to die. Audiences are not as expressive as they were. At the moment we don’t have a way to produce content only for the internet, but this would be my biggest dream, to have total freedom. Although this is utopian, because you always depend on financing. In Portugal you only have complete freedom when you have financial autonomy. For now, as we are slow to assimilate the changes from outside, I think it will still take a while, television will continue the same, but I think it will not take long until it disappears.

8 – If you could choose a tv show to host what would be this show about?

 

First I wanted to have total autonomy to annoy anyone I wanted. I think there’s a need for different tones of voice. There are some who say everything is bad, then there are others who say something wrong, but that nobody knows or sees. My dream is to have an open channel show in which I could be as scathing as possible. I would love to do a Daily Show, the problem is that in Portugal there is no political topics for a daily program of this nature to exist. There is “Inferno”, but it’s very complicated to get daily jokes. I would love to host ” The weakest link” or “Secret Story”, because I love to say whatever I want. I would suggest a mission for competitors where they would be be closed in a basement and read Proust.

What interests me most is playing with people’s perceptions, because they are all very serious. I don’t see myself as the majority of the young people of my generation. I don’t think there are any figures or shows that are good to download in Portugal. I really liked that this would exist and to contribute to this. I think RTP and RTP 2 have a huge variety of content and this is very important. There must exist more variety of other things too.

9 – How has the experience in the tv show “The Voice Kids” been?

 

It’s been pretty cool, I wasn’t expecting the kids to be so sharp. Children are very spontaneous, but they can also be cruel. I’ve interviewed malevolent kids (laughs), and I find it very funny. I’m never quite sure what I’m going to find, which is quite positive, it’s not predictable. Children deal well with “no,” adults think that program will earn them a career, but that lasts only a few months, with a few exceptions. Children don’t have the same perspective, they just want to sing and have fun and that wins my respect.

“I think that just as music is growing fast, there are also many online magazines, blogs, which gives space for communication to grow as well. The problem is that almost all of this work is on the basis of goodwill, nothing is paid. Everyone in Portugal works for free, they are always waiting for you to do everything without receiving and this annoys me a lot, because it’s a big disregard for your work. “

10 – Do you think tv shows such as “The Voice Kids” can really boost some future talent?

 

I think the portuguese record market is very fragile for twelve-year-olds. They may have enough visibility to later gain some attention, but as children it’s always more complicated. I hope this gives them strength to achieve their dream, even if not immediately, but in the near future nourish that dream. The dream doesn’t end here, but tomorrow they have to go back to their math class.

11 – As for the trip to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, how was this experience for you?

 

When I arrived in Ho Chi Minh I thought I had landed in a pornographic movie because it was all very beautiful. The city has a somewhat pornographic feeling. I slept in a house with a family in the interior, they made fun of me because I wanted to cook and the woman wanted to get me out of the house. I found Cambodia very depressing, because poverty is different from Africa. There are mangos falling from the sky, but they are addicted to tourist money. There are lots of kids asking you for money, there was a girl who was attacked by children. I really enjoyed the temples.

In Cambodia I experienced an unusual experience. We went on a tuk tuk to one of the temples and during that trip I had a strange feeling. On the way I saw a truck and we stopped because it was raining a lot and the lady lowered the plastic protection so that we didn’t get soaked. Then we overpassed a motorcycle, and we went back to the road. Suddenly the time stops and the truck begins to derail and to sweep the man who was in front of us on the motorcycle and to crush him. It was a shock because I had the perfect notion that if we hadn’t stopped it would had been us. Laos is incredible. You have bars playing Rihanna and serving gin, there’s drugs everywhere, this in the middle of a valley. Laos is the most beautiful place on earth, I wouldn’t mind about living there, once in a while, of course.

12 – Communication is a very competitive area in Portugal. Do you think there’s room for so many young people to work here, or do we have to leave the country?

 

I think that just as music is growing fast, there are also many online magazines, blogs, which gives space for communication to grow as well. The problem is that almost all of this work is on the basis of goodwill, nothing is paid. Everyone in Portugal works for free, they are always waiting for you to do everything without receiving and this annoys me a lot, because it’s a big disregard for your work. I think it’s horrible that you expect your work to be worthless. I guess communication doesn’t generate enough money. Radio has to target pop music, because that’s what makes the most money, from a commercial point of view. I have the feeling that all has the same voice, they all have the same speech.

My parents always told me that I had to live abroad, they have incredible careers in Portugal, careers that were done at a time that is not our own. I don’t know to what extent what I have today is volatile. I’m open to emigrate and I think everyone should consider this hypothesis. Going outside makes you grow up as a person. And then there’s that idea that you were out there so if you come back you’re more important, which is ridiculous.

13 – If you had to choose an artist to play a movie, what would this artist be and what would the movie be?

 

I would love that “Rosinha” (pimba-pop artist) would play a Haneke movie. I would love to see “The White Ribbon” with the song “I have a new walk”. I love violating people’s considerations. If it was possible I would cry, I would love it. It would also be a way to get to another audience, the “pimbas” would go to see a cult movie and the movie people would get to know the “pimba” better. You could also mix Miguel and André with a Cronenberg movie. I think there are not enough radio channels and televisions betting on something more irreverent. I think RTP should have that role, they should promote all kinds of voices. I know they tryi to do this, but they’re missing a bit more. To have a show like “5 para a meia noite” at 11pm on an open channel is a great victory.

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