Italy’s own recipe for comedy
Since ancient times, satire has mostly been based on politics. Comedians have tried to push facts and people to the extreme, making them ridiculous, even when they may have not initially been. In Italy, we can say much of the humor comes from politics, to all that is strictly connected to it or to the economic situation of the country.
Berlusconi and stand up comedy
Italian comedians often mock politicians and the Italian government. From Salvini, Renzi, Di Maio to Beppe Grillo, they create humor about what politicians do and what they say; however, the most targeted of them all is certainly Silvio Berlusconi. His continuous presence, despite some very short spells away from the political scenario, has given comedians the opportunity to create a huge quantity of jokes and give birth to a vast production of Berlusconi-centric satire.
Italians would say bene o male, purché se ne parli (literally translated as positively or negatively, the important thing is to talk about it). This Italian saying corresponds to the English saying “bad attention is better than no attention at all.”
Berlusconi keeps comedic creativity alive, says Roberto Benigni
We don’t know whether it is positive or not, but one thing is sure: Berlusconi is one of the most mentioned politicians in stand up comedy. Perhaps due to its behavior, often inadequate, he gives comedians a lot of material to work on. Actually, he is often mocked abroad, too, due to his sexist jokes and for jeering at people when taking pictures.
In 2013, after a period of absence due to his several issues with justice, Berlusconi returned to the political arena, willing to be active again. His party, PDL, was against this decision, but he was adamant: even if he had to run alone, he was to do it.
It was then that famous Italian comedian Maurizio Crozza decided to re-interpret the famous Korean song GANGMAN style, creating a national “Silvio style,” with dancing moves and hilarious lines recounting Berlusconi’s latest exploits.
This obviously gave other comedians the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon; as Maurizio Crozza himself said, Italy is the wrong place for students, young people, workers, researchers, but it is certainly a good place for comedians, who are given plenty of opportunities to work.
This thesis is, in a certain way, endorsed by what Roberto Benigni has often said, especially about Berlusconi; he has always claimed the presence of Silvio Berlusconi, a character easy to target and with a clear comical allure, was essential to keep comedians creative. Benigni, who is famous for his interpretation of Divina Commedia, also decided to re-invent it by adding the presence of Berlusconi and mock him referring to his sexual activity.
Crozza and the Silvio Style
Berlusconi: from Ruby to Francesca Pascale
It is true that comedians have the purpose of making people laugh, but we can say that, a lot of times, it is Berlusconi who seems to crack jokes and give comedians a lot of opportunities to work. One of his most famous statements was the blatant lie he said about Ruby Mubarak, the underage girl with whom he allegedly had sexual relationships, whom he declared was a relative of the former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.
In more recent years il Berlusca, as he’s commonly known among supporters and detractors alike, has been targeted in numerous occasions for his incredibly young girlfriend, Francesca Pascale (born in 1985. Silvio is 82), and some very trashy appearances of hers on local Neapolitan TVs. To her defense Francesca, pretty quickly profiled as the ultimate money-seeking bimbo, has been faithfully and discretely at the side of her man since 2012. She has a degree in political sciences and was politically active before meeting Il Cavaliere.
Maybe – just maybe – there may be more than blonde hair and big smiles about the lady.
Face lifts galore
However, ask any Italian about Berlusconi and a reason to target him today and they’ll probably answer “his penchant for plastic surgery.”
Indeed, it seems our national Cavaliere (by the way, he surrendered the title in 2014, after his many troubles with justice, but we still like to call him that in Italy) developed an obsession for botox, face lifts and hair dye.
At the age of 82, he cuts a strangely ageless, plasticky figure, with pitch black hair and an outstandingly expressionless face. Some even reckon he had his skin “pulled so tight” he can’t speak properly.
Well, I don’t know about that, but every woman who knows a thing or two about make up can certainly tell the foundation he uses is some heavy duty stuff.
Love him or hate him, Berlusconi remains relevant in both Italian politics and life-style and speaking about him is guaranteed to get the conversation going.