The Scimmie story:
Well it was fun whilst it lasted and what fun we had between May 2003 and November 2007 when some of the top established comedians and some of the soon to be big names in comedy came to Milano to perform at the Scimmie. Often for pocket sized audiences. This is the story so far, I hope it hasn’t ended.
I’d been visiting Milano for some years before I started promoting stand-up comedy in Paris and once comedy was a regular event in the French capital I started to have an interest in putting on shows in Milano. Eddie Izzard struck me as, as good an act as any to introduce stand-up to Italy. After all he had done just that in Paris and since 1995 I had produced four shows with him, but when in 1997 I suggested we go do something in Milano at the Theatro Filodrammatici he informed me that he had yet to master the Italian language. Since it had not occurred to me that the initiation to stand-up comedy in English should be in Italian I decided I’d best look for a ground breaking act elsewhere.
It took a while.
My friend Andy J Forest a musician from New Orleans who enjoyed a good deal of popularity in Italy introduced me to a club that I thought could well be ideal for stand-up comedy. This was Il Scimmie. It took 6 years between my initial conversation with Eddie Izzard and the Milanese arrival of Ross Noble in 2003. It has to be said that il padrone of the Scimmie Sergio Israel and his son David must have thought I was somewhat of a wanker. 6 years is a long time to listen to occasional outpourings from an Englishman who turns up every year or so and says someday we will make people laugh here. However in May 2003 a somewhat jet-lagged (he’d flown in from Australia) Ross Noble took to the jazzy stage of the Scimmie in the name of stand-up comedy and a BBC Radio 4 program. Over the two nights that he performed some 60 or so ex-pat comedy curious souls got to watch one of the great stand-ups of the 21st century in azzione.
Ok 60 souls was not convincing but it was promising and they were good souls. It was worth repeating the experiment.
This we did after the summer.