Chespirito was discovered as an actor while he was waiting in line to apply for a job as a writer and soon he began writing and starring in his children comedy shows. He continuously starred in shows on Mexican television from 1970 to 1995 and became well known throughout Latin America.
His best known roles were in the shows El Chavo del Ocho and El Chapulín Colorado, transmitted on the Mexican TV Network Televisa. Other shows produced by and starring him were the short-lived La Chicharra and, during his last years on air, Chespirito.
In El Chavo del Ocho, Chespirito played an 8 year old boy who often took refuge inside a wooden rain barrel in a Mexican neighborhood, and in El Chapulín Colorado he played a good hearted superhero who always got involved in funny situations. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has declared that he created the Bumblebee Man character after watching El Chapulín Colorado in a motel on the U.S.-Mexico border.
These two shows became hits all over Latin America, the United States and Spain, and the stars of the show found international fame. He also starred in such Mexican movies as El Chanfle and El Chanfle 2.
Gómez Bolaños is also noted as a musical composer. He started writing music as a hobby, and most of his early musical work was related to his comedy work, particularly featured in occasional Chapulín Colorado or Chavo del Ocho special episodes. Later work includes the theme songs for various Mexican movies and telenovelas such as "Alguna Vez Tendremos Alas" and "La Dueña". A comedy song of Gómez, "Chulin Furín Fun Flai", was slightly referenced by Puerto Rican rap duo Calle 13 in a pairing with fellow rapper Voltio, on their song "Ojalai" (which used the made-up word "Culin", a reference to the female derriere, in substitution of "Furin").
He is also the creator of the theater comedy "Once y Doce" which is still played occasionally and it came to be the most successful theater comedy of the whole Mexican history.
Roberto Gómez Bolaños and Edgar Vivar, once received an award from a Laurel and Hardy fan club for performing the funniest impersonation of Laurel and Hardy in Latin America. This impersonation was made during an episode of El Chapulín Colorado.
Despite his international success, in Mexico he is always a controversial figure. He was repeatedly accused of being responsible of keeping the Mexican people ignorant. While some South American presidents gave him honors, the PRI-ruled Mexican government ignored him completely.
During the 2000 and the 2006 Presidential electoral campaigns in Mexico he openly supported the PAN (Partido Acción Nacional, National Action Party) in a TV commercial urging people to vote for this party just like him.
In 2006, he started a campaign against the legalization of abortion in Mexico City. He also wrote the books El Diario de El Chavo del Ocho, ...Y También Poemas and Sin Querer Queriendo: Memorias. In 2008 he went to Peru to present him as Chespirito in the auditorium of the Colegio San Agustín of Lima