What are the essential tools for surviving the expat experience in Italy? Well, learning to speak Italian is a good place to start. Some defensive driving skills wouldn’t hurt either. How about a lesson in everyday fashion?
All great ideas, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a healthy sense of humor is your best defense against the forces allied against you as you attempt to adapt and assimilate to life in Rome. As if.
Here’s the deal: as delightful as it is to live in Rome, there are implausible cultural quirks that exist nowhere else in the world. Sure, every place has its unique features, but the ones in Italy seem to spit in the very face of all logic and reason, causing newly arrived expats to question their own sanity. I think the Italians actually enjoy this on some level, as if each citizen is harboring national security secrets that can only be obtained by birthright. I’m sure it’s great fun to watch us stranieri struggle through our lives in this land of wonder and chaos.
Funny Things about Living in Italy
Even someone like Marsha De Salvatore who has lived in Rome for over 12 years is occasionally still befuddled by the oddities that surround her on a daily basis. Fortunately for her, being a comedienne, this environment provides endless fodder for hilarious YouTube skits and stand-up routines. Listen to today’s podcast episode to understand what I mean.
It’s always been my intention on this blog to inject a fair amount of humor where appropriate—and quite often where it’s not appropriate, as well. However, my sense of humor always gravitates towards dry sarcasm, which, as many writers have noted, is usually lost in print.
Marsha, though, achieves a higher form of comedy; the side-splitting belly laugh, rolling on the floor type of humor. My favorite routines are the ones that compare Italian culture to US culture—and mock them both in equal measure. Such as this one, entitled: “Girls’ Night Out”
Marsha De Salvatore
Marsha De Salvatore is clearly, with a name like that, from Ohio. To make things interesting, her parents are both from Calabria. She came to Italy in 2000 to find herself. Instead, she got lost—and found herself teaching English to pay off her fashion-college debt that she had found herself with. She also stumbled into acting while she was at it.
Being bilingual, she has worked the stage in Italian and for the past 5 years she has been a part of Gaby Ford’s “English Theater of Rome.” And then, in 2009, she got it together and brought her crazy life experiences to the stage. As a wise friend once told her, if you want to perform it then create it! And so she did. Thus, Rome’s Comedy Club was born!
Rome’s Comedy Club opens its 6th season this Friday night (25 September 2015). Marsha frequently travels to Second City in Chicago to hone her improv and writing skills, and she also performs for various university and corporate events in Rome.
Additionally, she is actively involved in the world of medicine. Periodically she organizes blood drives to help the never-ending issue of blood shortages in Rome. Drawing from the work of Patch Adams, she has been formally trained in comedy therapy and has volunteered in the cancer ward of Bambino Gesu of Rome with La Carovanna dei Sorrisi.
Visit her website, MarshaDeSalvatore.com, for more information about her various activities around Rome.
And if you want to “catch her in the act,” check out the Facebook Page for Rome’s Comedy Club. She will be performing there on 25 September 2015 and every “last Friday of the month.”
Click the link to check out other episodes and see my list of the best podcasts about Italy.