Comedian behind ‘Spanish laughing guy’ meme dies

Juan Joya Borja’s wheezing laughter made him permanent fixture on the Internet

Kate Ng
Thursday 29 April 2021 23:43
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Spanish comedia Juan Joya Borja, known on the Internet as ‘Spanish laughing guy’, has died at the age of 65
Spanish comedia Juan Joya Borja, known on the Internet as ‘Spanish laughing guy’, has died at the age of 65
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The Spanish comedian whose hilarious and infectious laugh became a global meme has died at the age of 65.

Juan Joya Borja, better known as El Risitas, which means Giggles, died on Wednesday in hospital, according to local media. ABC Seville reported he suffered a “sudden relapse” in his health.

He had been admitted to hospital for health problems last year and thanked his fans in March for a fundraising campaign to buy him an electric mobility scooter after he had a leg amputation.

Borja became known on the Internet as “Spanish laughing guy” after appearing on national television and going viral over his high-pitched laugh while he recounted a story.

He went on a late-night Spanish television show presented by Jesús Quintero about 20 years ago and told the host a story about working as a kitchen helper.

In the clip that eventually brought him fame, he told Ms Quintero about the time he left 20 paella dishes in the sea overnight to allow the salt to clean them, but discovered the next morning that the tide had washed all except one dish away.

He and Mr Quintero burst into fits of uncontrollable and infectious laughter during and after the story, with Borja’s signature wheezing.

The clip was first uploaded on the show’s YouTube channel in 2007, but resurfaced again in 2014 after people began posting the clip with unrelated subtitles to make it seem as though Borja was laughing hysterically at various topics.

His nearly-toothless smile is widely used as an emoticon on the gaming streaming platform Twitch today and his unforgettable laugh has given him a permanent place on the Internet.

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