Greek musician and stand-up comedian Tzimis Panousis passed away at the age of 63 on Saturday afternoon. According to media information, he suffered a heart attack and was transferred to a hospital in downtown Athens. Doctors tried to revive him with his body did not respond.
Last month, he has suffered a cardiac arrest while he was performing on a music theater stage. Two doctors among the audience managed to give him first aid. He was transferred with an ambulance to hospital where he remained for a couple of days.
Τhe exuberant, provocative and highly controversial artist made his first appearance in the mid-1970s, performing in various pubs, with his band “Mousikes Taxiarhies” (Musical Brigades).
He enhanced his style of rock music with humorous and sarcastic lyrics. His songs included caustic remarks on the political and social reality of Greece. His varied musical style includes mostly rock, but also reggae and rembetiko.
In his live performances, Panousis delivered sarcastic comments about current events and Greek musicians and personalities. He often interacted with his audience, in a unique type of stand-up comedy. He was also notorious for his phone pranks while on stage or during his radio show. Some found his humor as tasteless, though.
Panousis has had several run-ins with the Greek authorities over his songs lyrics but also with singer Giorgos Dalaras of whom Panousis frequently made fun. he even angered the Church of Greece when he once appeared dressed s a priest with a medallion hanging around his neck which depicted the head of a chicken instead of Virgin Mary.
Panousis has been accused by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece of expressing antisemitic views, not seldom in connection with his standpoint in the Israel-Palestine conflict. During an episode of his satirical radio show Δούρειος Ήχος (“Trojan Sound”) in 2009, he used expressions such as “Jews – Pigs – Murderers […] may you die a horrible death” and “[…] the jews control all the banks in the American empire, they control all of the show biz […]”, while also referring to the conflict in Gaza.
In 2013, Greek Jewish organizations were appalled by the use of a symbol consisting of the David star entwined with a swastika (the symbol itself is used by the Raelites) for the posters of his show “Troika Club”. In relation to this symbol, Panousis has been using the term “nazi Jews” (“εβραιοναζί” in Greek) when describing current Israeli politics.
His countless fans to refer to him as “Tzimakos” Little Jim.