There is a constant debate among intellects about the meaning of life. Some people live an erratic life, while others restrict their lives, play it safe, and always obey the rules. Among the rest of the people, there are the ones trying to find meaning in life; some find it, some keep on searching, and some never find it. In “This is not a Comedy,” Gabriel is the protagonist who is deliberately trying to find something in his life that will give meaning to his meaningless life. Most of his attempts failed, and now he is struggling with himself, attempting to prove that there is still meaning in his life.
‘This Is Not a Comedy’ Plot Summary
Gabriel is a comedian approaching his 40s. He has been living away from his parents in Mexico City for 15 years, yet his relatives living in the same city have no idea about it. He had left his job at a publishing house to become a comedian, and he was successful in that. But recently, he is not able to write jokes that will really make people laugh. His comedy has become stagnant, as it does with all artists. After losing his only talent for making people laugh, Gabriel feels that nothing is left in his life. He lacks the motivation to live another day.
Gabriel barely has any friends, and he does not get out of the house except for doing gigs. With such an empty life, he does not find inspiration to write comedy sketches. He wants to quit, but has rent and debts to pay. He wants to change his life, but being a comedian has become his identity in people’s eyes. Whatever he does, people see him as a comedian doing it rather than just a person. In his late 30s, Gabriel is passing his days hustling in the hope of changing his life.
Leyre – The Spiritual Believer
Gabriel has a girlfriend, Leyre. If Gabriel is finding meaning in his life, Leyre has already found hers. She believes that aliens communicate with her, and it’s about time she leaves this planet with them. According to her, her life on Earth has reached the top of the amethyst, the imaginary mountain of life. She is pursuing Gabriel to join her, but he is not convinced. At the same time, his friend Melissa has asked him to donate his sperm for her baby. He is confused about whether he should go with Leyre or with Melissa, and in the end, he chooses Melissa. Gabriel was single for a long time before he encountered Leyre, not once but multiple times, and this led Leyre to believe that there was some purpose behind their meeting.
Leyre is spiritual, and she understands the condition that Gabriel is living in. She tries to help Gabriel find the light, but he always chooses to stay in the dark. Before meeting Leyre, Gabriel pitied himself for not having love in his life, but now that he has it, he does not value it. He lives inside his head, oblivious to reality. He might look like everything is under control in his life, but a simple accident of forgetting his house keys has become so much of a habit for him that he calls a locksmith even when he has the keys. As Leyre says, he is not at peace with himself.
Gabriel – Living Inside His Head
Gabriel lost his gig at a local comedy club, and he had seen it coming. He has started writing a story recently. Now that he is broke, he desperately pitches his story to directors. He wants it to be adapted into a film, and everyone thinks that his idea is unrealistic for a movie. The most one can do with his story is adapt it into a theatre play, but only if it has a comedic touch.
His story revolves around a female astronaut who becomes the first human to land on Mars, but even after achieving that, she feels hopeless. She had come to Mars knowing that she wouldn’t be able to go back. Even if she is the first human to set foot on Mars, she will no longer be a human living on Earth. She has left behind her life on Earth and is anxious to find the new meaning of her life, which she expresses through dancing. He has lost his identity as a comedian, and a writer is what he is trying to get meaning back into his life.
Gabriel is so attached to this idea that he imagines it whenever something significant happens in his life. When Melissa asks him to donate his sperm, he imagines him and Melissa, along with the child, being on Mars, when in reality, Melissa just wants his sperm but does not want him to become the father of her baby. The idea of an astronaut seems to come from Leyre, who is going to go live with aliens and never come back to Earth. The astronaut always represents Gabriel himself, who is searching for meaning in his life.
‘This Is Not a Comedy’ Ending Explained
Leyre leaves the Earth, and her step-sister holds a funeral in her name. What Leyre believed in seems like a cult. How she died or did she kill herself is not shown, but according to her own belief, the aliens have picked her, and she is travelling to another galaxy. Meanwhile, Melissa cancels the sperm donation from Gabriel as she gets back with her boyfriend and becomes pregnant. All the little happiness Gabriel found in these two people vanishes. The astronaut in his imagination also vanishes into thin air, indicating the lost battle with himself.
In the end, Gabriel’s story was published as a children’s book, and it became popular among kids and became a bestseller. On the way home, he hears Leyre’s voice on the radio, and she calls him, and a spaceship appears, dramatically pulling Gabriel up. This is highly metaphorical and represents Gabriel finally being at peace with himself. After everything is lost, he publishes his final art, and it being a bestseller gives him the identity of a writer, which becomes an accomplishment after multiple failures.
As Leyre would say, he has finally reached the top of his amethyst and is ready to leave this world. Leaving the world meant death for Leyre, but it could also mean the death of his old self for Gabriel. After all, he anticipated significant events in his life through the astronaut. Gabriel finally leaving for another galaxy shows his contentment in this life.
This Is Not A Comedy is a 2022 Mexican Drama film directed by Rodrigo Guardiola and Gabriel Nuncio. It is streaming on Netflix.