I Need to Join Rome’s Comedy Club

20 Mar

No, seriously. Put this on my bucket list, immediately.

I became aware of Rome’s Comedy Club some time around the point where I started tweeting, maybe mid-last year. The minute I “discovered” them I was like, ohmygod I need to be a part of this comedy troupe. Obviously that’s entirely do-able because I have so much time on my hands that I have no idea what to do with, between raising three preschoolers as a single mom, working a day job, trying to build an online tarot reading practice in my after hours (I KNOW! this is my dirty super clean little secret!), maintaining local and international friendships with THE COOLEST GIRLS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD — just to mention a few of the women in my life who I admire to no end. And on, and on, and on. But let me tell you, there MUST be room in my life SOMEWHERE for me to audition for these guys. HOLY EFFING … seriously? I want to be Ms. Funny Pants in the dressing room in the video below because I HAVE BEEN THERE. Anyone who is 5’11” and lives in Italy has been there. I want to do a skit where the horrified saleslady looks on when I ask for SIZE FORTY ONE shoes. Basically their expressions are a mix of shock and curiosity to know that there are actually women on this planet who wear the equivalent of U.S. size 10.

Two funnies I’ll share before you watch this:

1) When I was 28 I was promoted to be the “youngest director ever” of the Rome center of a prominent study abroad programs provider with 7 centers worldwide. Since I was going to all of a sudden have to be “boss” to my former colleagues, and I was TWENTY EIGHT and looked all of SEVENTEEN, I thought, I should wear suits. It’s like how Power Rangers wear their costumes, I thought, Insta-Boss here would get more credibility by wearing proper business suits. So I go shopping (during January saldi, obvs) and start trying things on. N.B.: I HATE clothes shopping. I hate shopping in general which makes me anathema here in Italy. Whatever.

So the quote I’ll never forget when I was trying on clothes was when I came out wearing these pants with a sheer green tank top, that psuedo-silky material, and the commesse (salesladies) made me stand in front of a three-way mirror, and one looks at me and goes, “Are you wearing a bra?” OMG mortification. Um, yes. WTF. I guess I need to tighten those bra straps or something. To this day I still feel self-conscious when putting my bra on and am always very careful to tighten those straps that clearly I’m sagging in. I think the commesse are in league with Italian psychotherapists, creating complexes that necessitate deep inner work on the psyche.

2) After I gave birth to my twin girls, six months after to be exact, I came back to Italy with my lil’ family for a vacation and for the girls’ baptism. I had to get a dress for the ceremony and, ahem, let’s just say I wasn’t as svelte as I once was. I had gone up at least 2 or 3 sizes in the meantime. When I tried on one dress that I thought was cute, the commessa helpfully added, (once again as I’m standing vulnerably in front of three way mirrors in the middle of the store), “This one is particularly good for you because it easily hides your belly.” OMG. Seriously. Commesse are the masters of the “backhanded compliment.” You honestly don’t know whether to say Go F yourself or a humble, wow, thanks for that, I really appreciate it.

Anyhoo, major complimenti to Rome’s Comedy Club. Their source material is familiar to me and all expats–we spend long dinners and cocktail hours trading our ha-ha stories about life in Rome as a foreigner. OhmyGOD I have tons of ideas for their next video. I totally need to get in touch with them.


14 Responses to “I Need to Join Rome’s Comedy Club”

  1. triciatierney March 20, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Yes — you do need to do that!
    I unexpectedly gave birth in Italy and within days was told to get a weird girdle thing to hold my stomach in. All the gals had them.

  2. Natalie March 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    My favorite has been when buying face wash, I tried to turn down some stupid expensive 60 euro a bottle stuff.
    Incredulous sales lady: But… you have BLEMISHES!!!

    The insult sale. Love the shaming!

    P.S. DO IT

  3. Michconnors March 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    I love the video! Genius! Forget the sales people, your own family loves to insult you in Italy – every time my husband comes back from America they all say “quanto sei grasso!” Little do they know it’s not hamburgers and milkshakes but prosciutto and pane that is the real culprit. Io rispondo “nella mia cultura non si cerca di offendere le persone”, sia alle commesse che alla famiglia, toh!

  4. Catherine March 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    Oh that was fab!!! I have to show my girlfriends. I’m thinking I should do a Versione Veneta. Gawd. I was having pre-skin cancers burnt off here and my dermatologist helpfully told me that my old (white, Irish-origin) Australian skin could do with a peeling. When I said, quite offended, that I had come here to deal with my health not my vanity, he actually said, Well if you WANT TO KEEP YOUR OLD IRISH SKIN.. I UNDERSTAND WHAT TYPE OF PERSON YOU ARE.. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR OLD IRISH SKIN..YES I CAN SEE YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR OLD IRISH SKIN..

    Tell them to use it in a skit!! Xcat

  5. Un'americana a Roma March 21, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    AHAHAHA Yes! I know what you’re talking about. It’s called a… lemme think… I had to look it up online. It seems it’s called a “pancera” like a tummy band. My friend loaned me one after my emergency C-section and I wore it. I was in such pain for literally months after the op because of the horrible post-op care (you have to do everything for yourself, what a nightmare, I didn’t sleep for five days and nearly had to get admitted to the pscyh ward) … holy God in heaven I need to write a post about pregnancy and birth in Rome but it would be far too horrifying. !!!

  6. Un'americana a Roma March 21, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    AHAHAHA yes! The shame tactic is one that they employ a lot. Holy crap too, the skin care stuff is expensive. One time I got samples for a Sisley product, not knowing it was like the most expensive stuff on the planet. of course I was like, wow, this stuff is awesome. So when I went back to buy it, I asked how much it cost, 90 EUR for like some toner that would have been gone in a month. GASP

  7. Un'americana a Roma March 21, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    OMG that is awesome. I have SOOOO many examples of this. One time I saw my ex-husband’s aunt tell her son’s girlfriend “I don’t like your new haircut. It looks awful on you.” One time my roommate saw me painting my nails and was like, “Ugh, that’s such an ugly color. That’s like what old ladies wear.” WTF? And of course they’re always vocal about weight. Seriously the cultural differences in how we express personal opinions are SOOO vastly different. Esp. when you have kids. I get “helpful advice” on like a daily basis and constantly criticized for not wearing the equivalent of a down comforter on days when it’s 60 degrees F. They shudder and every time I get a cold they say it’s because I don’t dress warm enough.

  8. Un'americana a Roma March 21, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    BAAAAAHAHAHA so ridic. I’ve actually taken to smiling and nodding most of the time now, saying “Hai ragione” but I’ve really had to practice it so as not to come off condescending. Because seriously, everyone here has an opinion!

  9. triciatierney March 21, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Good idea…
    Did you get those shots to shrink your uterus? Yikes! And the bathroom had no toilet seats or hot water or showers.
    And for the first day or so, (my kid was 2 months early so I hadn’t planned on the visit!)I had to borrow the fuck me flops with feathers from the woman in the bed next to me, every time I needed to go – scuffing past the virgin mary with lit lightbulb halo.
    The food was good though – when I got the utensils to eat it with!

  10. Arlene Gibbs Décor March 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Having Caribbean parents has prepped me well for Italy! My own mother once told me, “Your haircut is ugly.”

    Thanks, for the shout out!

  11. janavi March 23, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    I remember once asking for large size pantyhose in Rome, can’t stand anything restrictive around my waist and they yelled out across the store that I wanted a LARGE!!! And anyway not all Italians are so thin, and all the models take size 10 shoes.

  12. Un'americana a Roma March 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Poor thing! Oh well, good we can laugh about it!

  13. Un'americana a Roma March 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    I love you arlaynay!

  14. Marc July 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Poor, poor clerks, in Italy there are some good clerks anyway, the hardest way is to find em!

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