12 Apr Why Italians, Comedy And Religion Have Plenty In Common
When it comes to humour and religion, most people are of the opinion that the two should remain separate. On the other hand, the famed philosopher and scientist Aristotle famously believed that “the gods too are fond of a joke”, so perhaps humour and religion aren’t as separate as we’d like to believe. And if there’s any nationality that can find a balance between the two, it would be the Italians. Trust me on this.
The Pew Research Centre recently released a paper centred on how people view national identity. They found that while Italians consider themselves Catholic (both practicing and non-practicing), that much fewer consider this to be a part of their national identity and that customs and traditions are less important. In fact, most Italians believe that speaking Italian is a more important indicator of identity than having been born in the country and being part of the Catholic faith.
This goes to show that our stereotypical view of religious societies frowning on humour and laughter is unfounded – and that today’s generation of Italians don’t see any problems with combining faith and humour. Having performed to hundreds of Italians of all ages over my long career as a stand-up comedian, I’ve experienced first-hand that most Italians are ok with laughing at themselves and enjoying humour.
Of course, there is a limit to the kind of humour that most people find funny. Humour that encourages us to laugh at ourselves and our behaviour (including certain harmless aspects of religion) is appreciated, but that doesn’t mean that gratuitously offensive jokes are. It’s all about remembering that you are laughing with someone and not laughing at them.
Being someone who regular performs as an MC and entertainer at wedding ceremonies and corporate events, the skill of combining light-hearted humour with sensitive subjects is one I do well. It’s why I’m able to perform to packed out crowds of Italians (and comedy fans) all over the world.
So if you still need proof that Italians, humour and religion aren’t mutually exclusive subjects, I’d suggest you start by checking out one of my DVDs to see for yourself.