Jaime Bayly: We at the Indy (Want to) Hate You, Too


My experiences surrounding mysteriously-coiffed Peruvian celebrity novelist Jaime Bayly as of now have been lackluster.

My first encounter with this strange uniformed character occurred when I was about seven years old. “Jaime Bayly: A new Late-Night show for the quick-minded, the educated, the intellectuals”- or so claimed the Telemundo spokesperson. Jaime’s was the new show replacing “A Oscuras Pero Encendidos” (“In the Dark, but Turned On”), which had been cancelled. At the age of seven, I was neither quick-minded, educated, nor intellectual, and certainly not yet into boys enough to appreciate a weird-looking dude in a suit. Not to mention that “A Oscuras”, with its obnoxious white dog- Azuquita (“Little Sugar”)- that told anti-Castro jokes, fat guy named Lancelot with Eiffel Tower hats, and scantily-clad Cuban ladies hitting on torturously unfunny host Paul Bouche, pictured with Lancelot, (no, I didn’t know what “Bouche” rhymes with back then), was my favorite show. No ferret-headed Peruvian could come close to the glory that was “A Oscuras”.

I was right. “Bayly” was cancelled within months, replaced by yet another Latin American variety show with scantily clad models and fat sidekicks.

Another twelve years passed, and that stuffy bore that replaced my favorite show as a youth became a distant, apparently non-existent, memory. It’s amazing the grudges that all these new cable channels can give and take away. I get a call from my parents in my dorm room one autumn night, as they made a discovery on the South America Channel:

“This guy is great! There’s this guy on TV here that’s really funny!”
“Really? Who is he?”
“I don’t know- his name is Bayly, he’s anti-communist.”

By Thanksgiving break, I was extremely curious to meet this Bayly character. At the age of 19, I certain was quick-minded, Harvard-educated, and intellectual- and I appreciated a funny-looking dude in a suit, even if it is the same exact one every night. It only took one look at his now-aging ferret hair to bring back the memory. “Jaime Bayly? Is his name Jaime?” I asked my parents with some amazement at my recollection of names, much better than my recollection of faces (but up there with my recollection of hair styles, apparently). “Yeah, how did you know?”

“It’s the telemundo guy! He was on when ‘A Oscuras Pero Encendidos’ was on!”

From then on, I, like the good little academic I am, decided to do some research.

After grabbing some of his books at Widener, watching all his YouTube clips, and going to the office hours of everyone’s favorite if-he’s-not-tenured-all-Harvard-College-will-riot professor of Latin American politics for some info on the guy, I decided it was time to write, but, for that, I needed one more piece of the puzzle that was to be my most researched article for the Indy, ever (ok, so that’s not saying much, but still).

Well, Jaime, you tell me I can send you interview questions, charmingly complimenting my writing skills in Spanish. The fact that you answered my email request merely seconds after I sent it was very exciting for a young writer that was accustomed to writing commentary with the same political tinge as the one you read off your teleprompter. You do this, of course, only to then ignore my constant emails demanding a response (sent several weeks later). You only answer the email titled “Happy Birthday” with “thanks, love- all the best to you and yours”, making me miss my first deadline ever (and leaving my editor-in-chief, who has no clue who you are, thoroughly confused).

Clearly, as you are the cause of the only stain on my journalistic record (not to mention the demise of one of the best programs ever to be broadcast on Telemundo), I should have an impardonable grudge against you. And, in some ways, I do. I’ve never finished one of your novels (they tend to get insipid around Chapter 5). I watched the movie version of “No Se Lo Digas a Nadie” (“Don’t Tell Anyone”) and was underwhelmed. In a recent article from Peru’s Correo, you state you prefer enemies to friends, because at least they write about you in their publications and don’t come to visit. Well, apparently, it’s true, even if it is in a language you appear to barely understand (Bayly requested a Spanish version of the questions he never answered).

Yet I’ve given up compatriot and fellow Harvardian Conan O’Brien to watch your tripe syndicated on South American television. I guess it is true that nice guys finish last (and, conversely, that pretentious bi guys finish first, no matter what your mom says). Or maybe it’s just the hair.

Note: Sorry for all the Spanish Links, my monolingual friends. There’s not much of a way around it in this post, though.

  • R.

    I never got to watch his show on Telemundo, but seeing what they did to ‘A Oscuras Pero Encendidos’ (it was actually worth watching when it was still on TeleMiami or whatever that network was called) and that they are reponsible for bringing Laura to this hemisphere… I’m glad I didn’t.

    Other than that, his pretentious tripe is quite good, but I don’t think his writing translates well onto film.

  • Well I guess you’d be surprised to know who gets to read your postings. This is the “torturously unfunny” host Paul Bouche writing to you. Hahahahaha. A producer of ours forwarded this to me with the title “you wont believe this…”. And to be honest I was quite surprised.

    I loved your piece. I am impressed you got every character’s name right. I am happy to have left a (possitive?) mark on your childhood. You might care to know that my former Producer @ “A Oscuras…” was a Harvard grad. Now we have a gradate from Kellogg (Sorry…)

    Just a couple of quick notes: Jaime was on Telemundo once a week for like 4 weeks ending his run about 2 months prior to our arrival. We where in Telemundo for 6 months after 6 years on Local Television Channel 41 and Galavision. Also… Azuquita doesn’t talk about Fidel too much… That is beneath him. His purpose in life is to try to outsmart everyone specially our models with street “balsero” talk. But for a 7 year old you were quite accurate in your depictions. I am quite pleased. You pass!

    We have been developing our next production for 3 years now (A Oscuras took 4) and quite soon you might get another call from your parents. It makes me happy to see you write about some of our unpretentious ideas that were intended to make people go to bed with a smile. Hope we were able to achieve that with your parents and with yourself at least one of our 1,100 nights. You can visit Astracanada.com or Labocaloca.com to find a way to stay in touch with us.

    Much success with your studies. And by the way congrats on your TV taste (and I don’t mean Jaime) LOL Just kidding he is great.

    All the best,


  • Jessica Lunna

    About two hours ago I Googled “Alex Cambert” and somehow I am now reading this. I met Paul Bouche while I worked at Radio Unica in 2001.

    At the time there was a lot of criticism behind the scenes because Radio Unica had just replaced a very solid morning program with RIcardo Brown and Ana Patricia Candiani with Bouche’s “Arriba con Paul”.

    “Arriba con Paul” was launched on September 10, 2001…..and the very next day the world changed, but Bouche and his crew didn’t know what to make of it of the 9/11 attacks.

    I had a few brief interactions with Paul Bouche while at Radio Unica, and I thought he was a stuck-up A**hole. I never thought he was funny or very smart, but obviously other people saw something in him.

    I have now grown up a bit more, I am willing to give him another chance. Good luck with this new venture Paul. At least you have outlasted the disaster that was Radio Unica.

  • okay

    His program got cancelled by MegaTV after rightfully complaining on the owner of megatv.

  • Ed Armstrong

    Mr. Jaime Bayly during the show air the 11/05/08 made several racist Anti-American remarks on which he put down the Importance of the Island of Hawaii for the United States of America in order to remark that Mr. Obama was not really a US Citizen. Not only that he also made remarks that Obama was a “A Negro realizing his Disney dream”.

    I can’t take a person that call my country a “Mickey Mouse Democracy” literally. He has no experience in the USA and is just a naturalize citizen that under oath he promised to defend and not to defecated our country.

    Someone has to stop this clown, remove his Citizenship and sent it back to Peru.

    • Sonda

      You’re an intolerant racist my friend. When someone acquires a citizenship of any country in the world, it acquires duties and rights as well. And unfortunately for you, he acquired the right to defecate over now his adopting country. You must shut up instead to defecate over your country with racist comments.

  • Hugh Fasanati

    I have just discovered, out of boredom, what Frances Martel wrote about writer Jaime Bayly a year ago. Miss Martel is a very small person with a big ego and no talent. The “Harward-educated intellectual”, as she calls herself, refers to Bayly as “funny looking.” Frances should take a look at herself, in her pantsuit, in the video about her campaigning for president of Harward.

    Bayly is the author of more than a dozen books, most of them published by firms of the stature of Barnes and Noble. How many books has Miss Martel authored?

  • Diego B

    His job is to lie, criticize, and make weird jokes on television, he is not a role model, so he is not worthy to write about. Can you please send me his e-mail, I’ve been trying to get in contact with him. I’d appretiate it.