The showman answers the questions of Gian Marco Chiocci, director of Tg1
From the Sanremo Festival to the friendship with Amadeus, from Pippo Baudo’s idol at the beginning of his career, from the memory of Silvio Berlusconi to that of Mike Bongiorno and Maurizio Costanzo. Fiorello at 360 degrees in the interview with the director of Tg1, Gian Marco Chioccito ‘Tonight I’ll speak’.
Pippo Baudo “was and is a reference figure for all Sicilians who have undertaken this career. Pippo Baudo is Pippo Baudo, for us celebrating his birthday is like Christmas. I had the honor of knowing him and being his friend,” says the showman. “He told me I had to do something else, in the sense that I wasn’t a three-minute artist. ‘In three minutes you only say your name’, were his words. ‘And I need people who can give me a show in three minutes. You need an entire program but I’m already in this program’ Baudo told me then.”
“Despite my 40-year career, I always fear interviews, I think I’m banal, not adequate or always saying the same things. While the interviewer asks me the question, I’m already racking my brains on how to answer, also because today, with political correctness, everything becomes more difficult, you have to measure your words”, he says and jokingly confesses that he “already has a sweaty moustache” for anxiety.
And he confesses that the things that make him smile are life events, like when he sees the spectator “with all white hair who tells me: ‘my husband brought me here as a birthday present’. And I say to her: ‘Mrs. , but how cute is she, how old is she?’ And she: ’60’. But how? I’m 64! You get older and don’t realize it, you always see people as if they were a little older than you, but they’re not! And this made me laugh… .”.
“The things that don’t make me laugh, however, are the news we hear on the news or what we read in the newspapers, like the wars and feminicides that have been talked about so much. They are the things that we at ‘Viva Rai2!’ we try to omit news that darkens our lives. This is why we never talk about it in the morning, because we would like to be that little window of good humor that lasts 45 minutes, so then, after these 45 minutes, we will talk about those topics for the rest of the day “, says Fiorello.
“My first Sanremo was one of the worst moments of my lifeI worked at Radio DJ and I should have gone around doing interviews and while I was there, the news arrived of the death of my father who was very young, he was 58 years old”, he says leafing through the album of memories and they talk about the Sanremo Festival 1990 when they told him over the phone that his father Nicola had died. “Now I’m older than my father was when he left and it seems very strange to me”, confesses the showman.
In just over a month, Festiva again. “Amadeus has brought the Sanremo Festival back to the glories of Baudism, a fact recognized by everyone, even by Pippo Baudo himself”, he says. “Is this Amadeus’ last Sanremo? Yes, the last of the series, now, but in my opinion it will be back in two years…”. And to Chiocci’s question if there was any disagreement with the host and artistic director of the Festival, Fiorello is clear: “Arguing with Amadeus? Never argued, with him you can’t… There’s an alchemy that was born from the first day we saw each other, love at first sight of friendship.”
The showman talks about the experience of the Festival without an audience in 2021, during the pandemic: “It was difficult – he confesses – and the most complicated role was mine because Ama had to present the singers and I had to entertain… but who? I had to imagine the audience at home and I can assure you that it was difficult. But I’m happy I did it, it’s something that will remain within me. I remember saying to Amadeus ‘I’ll start by singing’. And so I go down the stairs, I start singing and I see the audience empty. When I finish singing, the silence… just at the moment when you are used to hearing applause. Well, that was the worst fraction of a second of my career”, reveals Fiorello.
As for the 2024 edition, “I only know one thing – says the showman – that there will be the glass of ‘Viva Rai2!’ outside the Ariston and I will have the opportunity to enter the theater but not to go on stage. We have made a rule because I have to go on stage on Saturday, the last night of the Festival and the last night of the Amadeus festival, when I will go on stage to take it away. So before then I can enter the hall, but there will be signs on the stage saying ‘I cannot enter with my face’. I will be able to get to the top of the stairs but not go down them, and I will be able to go to the stalls but not go on stage. Amadeus, on the other hand, being artistic director, can come down, cross the audience and come to me inside the glass where there may be guests that he doesn’t know about, even crazy guests even from Festivals, but I will have them. Who knows…”, says Fiorello again.
“What if they asked me to go into politics? When I was in Milan, yes, Berlusconi was there at the time, we worked together with him so it happened”, he reveals, adding: “I wouldn’t be capable of it”.
Fiorello doesn’t say too much about his relationship with politics: “I’m part of the old guard, although I want to compare myself to those greats – he observes – but at the time we didn’t know who Walter Chiari was voting for. I want to do entertainment and not politics”. And when Chiocci asks him who he votes for, Fiorello laughs: “I will never tell you. Do you want to know who I voted for? In the last three elections I have changed sides twice. Who will I vote for in the European elections? I will call you as soon as I leave the booth to tell you who I voted for”, jokes Fiorello.
“Mike Bongiorno and Maurizio Costanzo, among the missing characters, are the ones I miss a lot, I had the most to do with them”, he confesses. “Costanzo was decisive for the change in my life, he welcomed me when I decided to come to Rome from Milan. On that occasion I met Susanna (Susanna Biondo, wife of the showman, ed.) and Costanzo told me: ‘Don’t do this run away, eh?’. I worked a lot with Mike and he had fun like a child”, recalls Fiorello who admits: “I have no regrets about my choices, I would do everything again”.
Fiorello talks about his daughter Angelica who sang ‘Io vagabondo’ on ‘Viva Rai2!’, on the occasion of her father’s 63rd birthday, making him move: “For kids of her age it’s not an easy period, because today’s 17-year-olds are like pre-pandemic 14-year-olds. Sometimes we talk about violent teenagers and in my opinion everything can be traced back to those two years of the pandemic. For us who are of a certain age, two years are nothing, but for a 14-year-old they are a lifetime.”
Regrets? “My biggest problem is that I didn’t study as I would have liked because it was a question of attendance, when I went to school I did well”. And he reveals that he would have liked to “read more, study music and learn to play an instrument, but above all learn a foreign language. I envy English children who can speak English at the age of six,” she jokes.
The showman also jokes about his possible retirement from the stage: “I have reached 63 years old, 64 in May, and I think we are approaching the moment in which I will retire. I am not one of those who have a super-long career, let’s say that between. .. okay, let’s not say anything, we’re not people of our word. Once I said ‘I’ll stop at 50’ and I’m already at 63, so…”, laughs Fiorello.