You might not know from following this, but I consume a lot of comedy in various forms, and talk about it constantly. I grew up avidly watching TV sketches and Italian cabaret (Serena Dandini and Renato Pozzetto could be considered my “Bizarro” parents), as well as American movies (Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin above all), and as soon as I realized I could do it I started downloading every stand-up comedy special I could get my figurative hands on from WinMX (there was, you see, a time before YouTube and Netflix).
Being a writer and a scholar of sorts, I’ve always tried to wedge comedy references into every project I worked on: I made my first MA thesis about South Park, and as soon as I started writing for publications that were not art-specific I was pretty much pitching comedy stuff only (I even made a short-lived web series with some friends a couple lives ago, but that might be a story for another time). Thanks to some friendly, patient editors, I was lucky enough to get a lot of that writing published; however, given I was dealing with an Italian audience and mostly American references (or more likely because I use all these annoying parentheses) I never felt I was really reaching “my” folks. In other words, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to really explore this area of interest of mine in a thorough and spontaneous way, without worrying too much about editorial guidelines or other people’s voices and expectations. Plus, after a few years of writing academically, finding an outlet for more spontaneous writing has become pretty urgent — and being only partially employed at the moment gives me some extra time, too.
So here’s the deal: I’m starting this newsletter where I will regularly discuss loosely comedy-related topics at any depth necessary, throwing in scholarship as well as tweets and YouTube videos, relying on personal anecdotes as well as books. It should be fun for me, and if you like to think about comedy or just feel like giving me a shot it’s a win-win.
I’m doing this in English because I spent the last 10+ years living abroad and coming across comedy in different countries, so it just feels right to me. Plus I met lots of people whom I don’t want to alienate from my writing, which makes sense too. If I find out my Italian readers are overwhelmingly more than my international ones I might start a twin newsletter with a translated version of the main one, but I’m pretty confident the Italians who would enjoy this can read English anyway.
And now, to give you an idea of the topics I’d like to touch upon, a bunch of links to stuff I’ve written about comedy over the years:
Being an Italian stand-up comic in the age of Netflix (IT)
Bill Maher and his annoying attitude towards religion (IT)
Trump and South Park’s 20 years of trolling (IT)
A profile of Trevor Noah after he got the Daily Show gig (IT)
Comedy after Louis CK: let’s look at some of the alternative voices already out there (IT)
Dave Chappelle is back (IT)
Dave Chappelle, Bamboozled, and the social responsibility of TV sketches (EN)
Neighbors and the end of the college epic (IT)
The Myth of the American Sleepover (EN)
Attack the Block: The Night the Ghetto Woke Up (EN)
The Dictator: Sacha Baron Cohen goes back to scripted comedy (and it’s not the same)(IT)
Key & Peele and the rise of the Black Nerd (IT)
A piece about Marc Maron and WTF (IT)
In the spirit of not alienating readers, pretty much all of the articles are in Italian (sorry), but this might also give me a good excuse to revisit some of the themes for the newsletter — don’t worry though, I have a list of new topics ready to delve into as well.
So that’s it, let’s see how it goes.