Edoardo Ferrario: Temi Caldi is a likable, intermittently funny special, but it’s made a little difficult to parse thanks to its very Italian specificity.
They say that laughter is a universal language, but Edoardo Ferrario’s new Netflix stand-up special, Edoardo Ferrario: Temi Caldi, is about to put that theory to the test. Ferrario is a likable comic, and evidently relatively clever, but he’s also Italian, and this new special feels so specific to his culture and experiences that it’ll be undoubtedly hard to digest for international audiences.
Jokes about the state of Rome and Italian culture, in general, will be difficult to parse; you can see the germ of a universal idea, but early on the punchlines always revert back to an alienating specificity. (Note: the special is entirely subtitled.) When Ferrario relaxes a bit his material opens up, and we can all, as a society, bemoan the existence of fancy-pants artisanal stores. Ferrario’s cleverness comes through when he postulates the logical next step of artisanal gasoline, and riffs on art and artists. Sometimes you can feel the audience flicking awkward glances at one another as they try and catch up with his material.
A lot of the stronger bits in Edoardo Ferrario: Temi Caldi concern the comic entering his 30s, perhaps because I’m close to that age myself, and perhaps because it’s the most internationally accessible of his material. The usual anxieties are there, but Ferrario manages to find a novel angle from which to approach most of them, giving his stand-up a certain contemporary freshness that is, ironically, typical of a younger comic.
There’s moderate audience interaction in Edoardo Ferrario: Temi Caldi, but it’s tame; Ferrario isn’t a risque comic, and it helps for the laidback atmosphere of his routine, even if someone like me might lament the lack of sting in his comedy. Then again, as much of a critical cop-out as it might be, this special is so specifically Italian that I’m certain to have missed at least half of the cleverest gags. Nationals will likely get a kick out of this, as will the more cultured among us, but less savvy audiences might find it underwhelming.