Nino Frassica, from Renzo Arbore to LOL 3: 'Making people laugh is a serious matter'

The 'Bravo presenter' left Messina half a century ago to arrive at the third edition of the Prime Video program. In between, a lot of study, a thousand gimmicks and the discovery that for his mother, success was a truck full of panettone

  nino-frassica-today-11 Nino Frassica, 73, is part of the cast of the third edition of LOL Photo Video

After a half-century long pilgrimage, friar Antonino da Scasazza has arrived at LOL, the last frontier of comedy on TV. But for Nino Frassica, going from Arbore to Fedez was not a leap into the void - photo | video

Lol 3, interview with the cast of the new edition Lol 3, interview with the cast of the new edition

«As soon as I saw the first edition of the program, I realized that it was born from a brilliant idea, which worked very well. When you participate as a competitor you have to start from a reality: you are not faced with an audience that wants to laugh, but with professionals who will do anything not to laugh. The repertoire jokes in LOL don't work: the opponents know the mechanics of comedy, they are able to intercept them in advance and prepare to collect them. You fool them only with the surprise effect, with the counterattack, the counterattack.
Let's say you have to focus on situationism: I grew up with 'Arborian' improvisations, I found myself at ease. For the same reasons, I feared Maccio Capatonda in the race: he is a friend, and this makes you lower the barriers ».

Nino Frassica, from Don Matteo to the first novel: “And I believe that cinema is in credit with me

Who never expected to make people laugh? «Everything that happened to LOL is a secret, indeed, I deny having worked on it. But I have a medal pinned to my chest: I made Woody Allen laugh. I was cast in the film To Rome with love. My part was that of a shower salesman: they gave me free rein and I did it inspired by Roberto da Crema, that asthmatic and anxiety-provoking telesalesman. The assistant director translated what I was saying to Allen, and he laughed a lot. But then in editing they cut everything. I was sorry about it.'

You started from Galati Marina, a fraction of Messina: how much imagination was needed to achieve success? «Well, the comic mechanisms, the reversal of reality, also came in handy at the beginning of my career. To find an opportunity, I asked the owner of a restaurant in Messina if he had ever thought of including a comedy show in his evenings, and he replied: 'Look, no one has ever asked me, there is no audience'. As soon as home, it occurred to me The health care doctor : in the film, Sordi's mother went to the pharmacies and lined up among the customers, denigrating the other doctors, exalting her son. So I called my friends, who over the next few weeks dropped by the venue asking if there were any comedians on the bill. When I called again with the manager it was a triumph: “Luckily you've come back! Everyone is asking me to resign comedians in the program ”. I was very determined: I wanted to be a comedian, I had decided that it would be my job».

Nino Frassica: “I would like not to be an actor, but a mask like Totò

To be a dancer you study dance, to be a musician you go to the conservatory, but how do you go about being a comedian? «I studied all of Arbore, I am 'arboreal'. I listened and re-listened to his programs. I disassembled all the mechanisms of each sketch in my head. When I knocked on his door, I was ready.'

So what is the secret to success? «The golden rule is simple: experiment everything, then try to understand what you do better than others and focus everything on that. It was certainly valid as long as to get on TV you had to have some credit. But today it happens that you have space, and not just on the news, because maybe you're a scoundrel».

In Fabio Fazio's living room, Maurizio Ferrini regained his share, complaining that he had fallen into disgrace: is TV bad? «I think Maurizio should have been more patient. Our job is made up of successes and dark periods, but when the phone doesn't ring you just have to wait. If you're good, and he's good, sooner or later someone will call you.'

When did you realize you made it? «At my house, the world of entertainment seemed very distant, unattainable. But I wanted my mom to understand that I had been successful. I tried to tell her that I had some money from her, but she didn't flinch. I convinced her only when she was already sick, and in an unusual way. I sent her a truck loaded with Maina panettone, of which I was testimonial. She distributed them throughout the country, and I finally saw her happy, proud to share my good fortune.'

A lot has changed since its inception. There is a lot of attention to language, and for those who go wrong there is the immediate pillory of social media. «Even for those who don't make a mistake: I was massacred by the no vax. The web allows everyone to intervene on any issue, and this is a good thing. Unfortunately there are also those too morons to express their opinions. We should all do an examination: you are normal, you can write on Facebook. Instead, you are an idiot, no social media ».

Movies, fiction, lots of TV: is there anything you would still like to do? «I have in mind a project for a sit-com hybridized with variety, with a high percentage of improvisation. I don't know if it will ever have space, also because some of the classic comedy doesn't make me laugh. It exploits very specific strands, such as married life and failures with women, but it is a bit obvious. In fact, among the colleagues I admire the most are Gene Gnocchi and Maurizio Milani, professionals who write texts with great imagination, outside the box, just like I understand comedy».