20 Dec Italians are the funniest nation. It’s a fact.

Who would you say are the funniest people on earth? The Italians, of course! Believe it or not, there’s an organisation that set out to answer this question in an official capacity. The social networking and online dating website Badoo.com spoke to 30 000 people in over 15 countries all over the world and asked them who they thought was the funniest and least funniest nationality. Italians came out in the top three on this list.

Why do Italians come out on top when it comes to being perceived as funny? It could be that the country and its people stereotypically rely on hand gestures when communicating. A researcher from the Roma Tre University found that roughly 250 different gestures are used by Italians in their communication on a daily basis, and the earliest recording of commonly used gestures by Italians was published in 1832 by Canon Andrea de Jorio, so Italians have been doing it for quite some time!

It’s only natural that this fondness for expressing one’s self physically would lend itself well to physical comedy, which relies heavily on facial expressions, movement and the like. As early as the 16th Century Italian shad their own version of Saturday Night Live, where actors and actresses gathered to carry out improvised comedy sketches they called Commedia dell’arte – or the comedy of the profession. This kind of comedy was performed to crowds and often performed outside, without the use of a stage or backdrop. It also relied on improvised dialogue.

It’s apparent that Italians have a handle on comedy and that they’ve been doing it well for quite some time. But how does this play out in the 21st Century? One only needs to look as far as the live comedy circuit to see this in action. After all, live comedy performed to a live audience isrelianton the delivery of jokes as much as the jokes themselves. It’s no surprise then that Italians are considered so funny – and as anyone who has ever seen Italian stand-up comedy performed live before will know it is truly something that sets them apart.