The Jester's more important than you think
11 9 2022
The Jester's more important than you think

Neri Marcoré, Lucrezio Ercoli, Valerio Lundini and Makkox on the social role of comedy

Thales of Miletus, the first philosopher, was once so busy contemplating the sky in its infinite complexity while walking that he fell into a well. A nearby servant, who had seen the scene, laughed at him.

This simple anecdote was used as a starting point to discuss the relationship between comedy and philosophy or, in broader terms, the role of laughter in the representation and understanding of reality.

Neri Marcorè (actor) led the discussion between Lucrezia Ercoli (author, philosopher, artistic director of the Popsophia festival), Valerio Lundini (comedian, TV host, musician) and Makkox (comic book author and artist).

The Thales anecdote illustrates the fundamentals of comedy: observation, disruption, and reevaluation. The speakers and their various backgrounds allowed for a great collision between the theory and practice of comedy.

The speakers touched on several different topics: satire, freedom of speech, political correctness. Ercoli referenced the works of Umberto Eco, Makkox showed short animated films and Lundini intervened with opinions and commentary that felt like part of a stand-up comedy routine.

Self-irony received particular attention as a topic: the philosophical mindset that allows for a continuous questioning on reality, starting from one’s own beliefs. In this sense, comedy and irony become tools for social discussion. The role of the comedian was presented as that of a backward poet, able to grasp the complexity and contradiction of reality.

Comedy, of course, is not always and necessarily healthy and constructive, but on the topic, for example, of racist and homophobic humour, the speakers conjured the very clear image of mosquitoes as a sign of a healthy ecosystem: where “mosquito-like” humour exists, it is a sign that there also is space and freedom of speech for other perspectives, and the comedic debate can respond by building creative spaces for positive perspectives.

Il sito è stato realizzato nell’ambito del progetto Open Festival con il contributo di
INNOVACULTURA - Regione Lombardia, Camere di Commercio Lombarde e Fondazione Cariplo