A clip from a Ukrainian comedy show starring the country’s now-president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has gone viral after he requested to join the European Union this week.
In a bizarre case of life imitating art, Zelenskyy once produced a political satire series, “Servant of the People,” in which he starred as a schoolteacher who calls out corruption and becomes the president of Ukraine.
It premiered in 2015 and ended after three seasons in 2019 when Zelenskyy launched his own anti-corruption presidential campaign and was elected by a landslide.
A clip circulated Tuesday showing Zelenskyy’s character in the show, Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko, receiving a fictional phone call from then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “We decided to take your country into the European Union,” she says.
“Oh fuck!” Vasyl says. “Oh, I’m sorry, oh wow! ... Thank you very much, all the Ukrainians and all of our country, we’ve been waiting for this so much time.”
Merkel replies: “Ukrainians? Oh, I’m so sorry, that’s a mistake. I was calling to Montenegro.”
After the call, Vasyl storms away, shouting, “fucking Putin.”
The clip was viewed more than 1 million times by Tuesday night.
Zelenskyy submitted an application to the EU on Monday to grant Ukraine immediate membership, something many Ukrainians have wanted for years.
The process to join is complicated and painstaking, and Zelenskyy’s request is unlikely to be granted anytime soon.
An EU spokesperson said Tuesday that joining the bloc “is a complex and quite lengthy process which usually takes years.”
“As of today, we neither accepted Ukraine’s application to join the EU nor do we have any special admission process underway,” she said.
In a passionate speech on Tuesday morning, Zelenskyy told the EU, “Our people are very much motivated, very much so, we are fighting for our rights, for our freedoms, for our life.”
“But we are fighting also to be equal members of Europe. I believe that today we are showing everybody that’s exactly what we are. The European Union is going to be much stronger with us — that’s for sure.”
The Ukrainian leader has received worldwide praise for standing and fighting with his people during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Zelenskyy’s entertainment industry career has also attracted a great deal of interest. Prior to his presidency, he starred in several Ukrainian films and TV series, voiced the bear in Ukraine’s “Paddington” film and won the country’s version of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006.