Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Francesco De Carlo

Italian comedian Francesco De Carlo asks what do you discover when you decide to leave the safety of your sofa in Italy to become a foreigner in the UK, just as the UK decides to leave Europe? And he should know the answer because he did just that and he tells us how he got on in his latest show Comfort Zone. As heard on ‘Welcome to Wherever You Are’ (BBC Radio 4) and seen on ‘Paul Hollywood’s Big Continental Road Trip’ (BBC2) and ‘Unspun With Matt Forde’ (Dave)

Comfort Zone is at Soho Theatre from May 17 - 19. Buy tickets here.

 

What is the last thing you do before you  go on stage (apart from check your flies and/or check your knickers aren't sticking out of your skirt and check for spinach between your teeth)?

I just remind myself to have fun. And, given that for me I’ll be performing in a second language, I also remind myself to speak slowly, because it's very hard for people to laugh if they don't understand what I'm talking about. 

 

What irritates you?

I would love to answer "stupidity" or "hypocrisy", but the thing that irritates me the most are thin curtains; it's the biggest problem I’ve faced in the UK. I know that in this country you guys are very happy when the sun shows up, but I need to sleep. 

 

What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?

In Italy, mothers repeatedly tell their children that when you’re at the beach you have to wait three hours after lunch before you’re allowed to swim in the sea, in order to finish your digestion - three hours! Once I only waited two hours 45 minutes. So dangerous!

 

What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?

I watched a TV series from the third episode, by mistake, so I wasn't able to understand what was going on. The day after, I commented to a friend who had recommended the show that the writing wasn't as good as they had told me it would be and that the plot was too obscure for me to follow etc. They made fun of me for days.

 

What has surprised you the most during your career in comedy?

How developed comedy is here in the UK. As an Italian comedian, when you have an idea for a routine or a joke and you think that it is very clever and original, you always have to check, because it’s more than likely that some British comedians have already done the same joke in 1971. Since moving here, my comedy has definitely improved, which is why I always suggest to my colleagues back in Italy that they come here, or to the Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival, in order to learn from such an established scene.

Interview continues here.

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