They laugh their last laughs. 5 useless jokes and scandals with Kvartal 95 that got them in trouble
The new year began with a loud scandal around the Kvartal 95 studio's episode about a girl called "Siskadovska," a resident of the now Russian-occupied Skadovsk who came to Zakarpattia and cannot pronounce even basic words in Ukrainian. For example, instead of "react" she says "ragulut," and instead of "studied" she says "volchara," and so on. Naturally, the clumsy jokes of the Kvartal members caused a lot of outrage online, especially among the natives of the cities and villages that are currently under occupation. However, this is not the first scandal involving Kvartal 95.
In particular, the Kvartal members and related projects have been involved in gender and political scandals, condemned by the public for gloating over the burned house of former NBU Governor Valeria Gontareva, and much more. OBOZ.UA decided to recall the most high-profile ones.
At the end of 2018, the "League of Laughter" project from Kvartal 95 studio aired a frankly inappropriate joke about transgender singer Zi Famelu, who then performed under the pseudonym Zianja, and even earlier - Boris Aprel. The VIP Ternopil team presented a parody of the Kvartal movie, I, You, He, She, in which they replaced one of the characters with Zianja, while calling their "movie" I, You, He, It. This caused outrage among the public. In particular, the transgender singer herself did not remain silent, saying: "How long will I be mocked in Ukraine? How long will I be considered an outcast here? How long will you cherish and nurture the hatred inside you?"
The Kvartal team eventually apologized for the homophobic humor, admitting: "The joke about LGBT communities in the last issue of the League of Laughter was not entirely correct. We share the principles and values of a tolerant society and the right of everyone to gender self-identification." However, not all Internet users believed in the sincerity of these words and noted that the comedians never apologized to Zianja herself.
Violation of language legislation and propaganda of the "Russian world"
The comedy series Wild produced by Kvartal 95 got into a pro-Russian scandal just before the full-scale invasion in January 2022. The civil movement Vidsich noted that everything in the project is "Russian." In particular, this includes the language of the characters, official documentation, inscriptions on the doors of officials, books, and titles.
"The series simply reeks of the 'Russian world'. Article 23 of the law on language, which came into force on July 16, 2021, obliges TV channels to show films exclusively in the state language. Showing this and other Russian-language films and TV series on Plus and other oligarchic channels is a gross violation of the law on language," the activists, who were supported by a large number of Ukrainians, said at the time.
The scandal with Valeria Gontareva
In October 2019, comedians from the Kvartal 95 studio made fun of the arson attack on the house of former National Bank of Ukraine Governor Valeria Gontareva in an episode of Evening Quarter. Stepan Kazanin called it a "bright event," and Yevhen Koshovyi and the Verevka Choir performed an altered version of the song "The Pine Tree Was Burning, It Was Burning." In the comedians' version, the lyrics read: "A house is burning in Horenychi / And in London Valeria is thinking about Valerich / People saw the fire / They started to help / They grabbed buckets and ran / They splashed diesel fuel into the fire."
However, this was not the end of the scandal, but only the beginning. Such "jokes" caused outrage in society, so the Kvartal members decided to "apologize" to Gontareva. But they did it with sarcasm, singing a new song and performing a skit with Kolomoisky, who was portrayed by Oleksandr Pikalov. During the performance, the comedians called Gontareva "the common grief of Ukraine" and added: "We in no way wanted to laugh at the fact that your house burned down. We just wanted to inform you that it burned down. We just saw your declaration and realized that you would not notice it."
Less than a month later, the studio decided to "make fun" of this case again, but this time in the League of Laughter. It was done by the Nash Format team, whose coach at the time was Yuriy Tkach. The comedians performed a parody of the program "Battle of the Psychics". The "host" said that in the last episode, the audience learned who burned down Gontareva's house, and one of the show's participants raised his hand and said that it was him. "Well done! That's why you're in the final," the 'host' replied.
The In Laws 7 was sold to Russia
The seventh season of the TV series The In Laws, produced by the Ukrainian studio Kvartal 95, was released at the end of December 2021. Even before its release, it divided Ukrainians into two camps: some were looking forward to the return of their favorite characters, while others did not understand how it was possible to make a joint product with actors who openly supported the annexation of Crimea and Putin's regime. In the end, the series was shown on 1+1 TV channel in Ukraine and on Russia-1 TV channel in the Russian Federation.
The scandal also erupted because some Ukrainians blamed President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who had previously been involved in the creation of the series. At the time, the Servant of the People party commented on this as follows: "It is necessary to separate the business entities, namely the Kvartal-95 studio and the president, because when Zelenskyy came to power, he stopped communicating with this business. He definitely does not receive any revenue from the studio's activities. If we're talking about royalties, it's his intellectual property, when the appropriate payments are made. But we need to correctly separate royalties and profits."
"Theft" in the Dizel Show
In June 2020, the Ukrainian comedy studio Dizel Show accused Kvartal 95 of stealing jokes. Allegedly, the latter re-shot and passed off as their own the Dizel Show's number about learning English, which they had shown to viewers 5 years earlier, back in 2015. A serious conflict arose between the two comedy projects. The Kvartal team responded to the accusations sharply and rudely. In particular, comedian Artem Gagarin noted that Kvartal 95 had based its episode on an episode from a book that was published in 2013. Thus, according to the comedian, the Dizel Show also "stole" it from the author. In addition, Gagarin poked fun at his fellow competitors for allegedly "not reading books."
It is worth noting that the "dizels were also marked by the New Year's issue of 2024. They were accused of making sexist jokes, promoting alcoholism, and showing Crimeans as "traitors who change their shoes". Prior to that, the Dizel Show created a shameful number about Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied territories. However, instead of apologizing, the project's editor-in-chief Oleksiy Blanar said that he himself had almost died at the hands of the occupiers and was ready to "communicate very specifically in a clear language" with those who did not like the studio's jokes.
As OBOZ.UA previously reported, comedian Irina Gatun, who played the role of a "girl from Skadovsk" in the scandalous episode of Kvartal 95, traveled to occupied Crimea in 2019 and wore a Soviet uniform in 2015. She keeps evidence of this on her Facebook page, among many hundreds of other photos.