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Lakis Lazopoulos
Born Apostolos Lazopoulos
May 6, 1956 (1956-05-06) (age 53)
Larissa, Greece
Years active 1980-present
Official website

Lakis Lazopoulos (Greek: Λάκης Λαζόπουλος) is a Greek playwright, actor and songwriter. His birth name is Apostolos Lazopoulos (Greek: Απόστολος Λαζόπουλος), Lakis being a diminutive.

His career began in 1979, when he wrote his first texts for the theater stage. [1]. Lazopoulos was part of an emerging independent theatre scene in 1980s Athens. Since then he has written and performed in numerous vaudevilles, films and TV shows.

He initaited new era of political satire on Greek commercial television with his versatile performance of over 15 different characters, performing both male and female characters himself, in his hugely successful and controversial television series "10 Mikroi Mitsoi", which aired from April 1992 until March 2003.

In 1997, he was in charge of the Greek Dub localization of the Disney animated feature Hercules. As a voice actor he was personally responsible for the performance of the Greek hero Philoctetes and the demonic imps Pain and Panic, and was subsequently awarded by Roy E. Disney for conceiving the best European localization of the feature[1]. In 2000 he wrote and starred in the romantic comedy film Fovou tous Ellines (Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns). Lazopoulos performed Nikolos, one of the leading roles, in the 2007 film El Greco[2], a Greek biographical film about the life of the Greek painter of the Spanish Renaissance directed by Yannis Smaragdis.

Today he is best known for his work as a stand up comedian starring in his own satirical TV show, Al Tsantiri News, which is broadcast twice a week by the commercial Greek television channel Alpha TV. The title of the television show is a play on the names of Arabic news channels such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, and is in line with the Greek satirical tradition of caricaturizing Arabic or non-European influences on Greek popular culture for comic effect. Despite making an effort to satirize and critique persons and events from across the entire Greek political and social spectrum, as well as offering a televised platform for common people to voice their grievances, the TV show has been criticized for being overtly "ideological" with a decidedly left-wing bias.

Lazopoulos was recently fined by a governmental television overseeing authority for having gone beyond the bounds of common decency on his television show. In response to the government fine of twenty thousand euros, Lazopoulos has stated he will perform live on his television show translated segments from the classical comedies of the much acclaimed comic playwright Aristophanes of ancient Athens, in an attempt to show that his contemporary political satire does not exceed the bounds of decency set by the theatrical canon of Aristophanes. In 2009 Lazopoulos was unsuccesfully sued by a female Greek popular music celebrity for allegedly "defaming" her after satirizing her much publicized involvement with the Greek right-wing populist/nationalist political party LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally). Particularly LAOS parliamentarian Adonis Georgiades and his wife Eugenia Manolidou have been recurrent satirical targets on Al Tsantiri News. Georgiades' extension of an offer of a televised public debate between Lazopoulos and himself was emphatically turned down by the former. Also rejected was an invitation to attend Georgiades' marriage ceremony.

Lazopoulos was involuntarily outed by a Greek member of the press. Lazopoulos has a daughter from a previous relationship and does not wish to publicly label himself. He does regularly satirize contemporary gay culture on his TV show, as well as more archetypal or stereotypical depictions of gender in Greek society, as he has done since the advent of his career.

2010 will be the last television season of Al Tsantiri News, after which Lazopoulos intends concentrate on setting up new theatre school in Greece.

References

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