Italy’s Berlusconi woos TikTok with joke about Putin, Biden and himself
Veteran Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi has launched his official TikTok channel. The former prime minister, who is currently running for a seat in the Senate, appealed to the platform’s young audience with a self-deprecating old joke.
Berlusconi’s first TikTok video on Thursday was a welcome speech and quickly scored millions of views, according to Italian media. In the second one he celebrated the public’s enthusiasm and told a humorous story, presumably to lighten the mood.
It was about a group of public figures, himself included, getting trapped on a plane about to fall and crash and lacking one parachute to rescue every person onboard. Passengers rushed to claim the gear by the merits of their superiority, the joke went.
US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed to be the most powerful individuals in the West and in the East respectively, before grabbing parachutes and jumping out. Berlusconi said he was the smartest politician in Europe before doing the same. The last two people onboard were Pope Francis and his young aide.
The leader of the Catholic church offered to stay behind because, he said, he was an old man who had a good life and was not afraid to die. But his young companion said they both had nothing to worry about because “the smartest politician in Europe just took my rucksack” by mistake.
After delivering the punchline, Berlusconi called on voters to “try to put a parachute on Italy” during the upcoming snap election later this month. The 85-year-old controversial political heavyweight, who leads the liberal-conservative Forza Italia party, announced his ambition to serve as a senator last month.
The joke about “the smartest person” failing to tell the real parachute is pretty old and can feature any public figure as the butt, depending on the preferences of the one telling it. Berlusconi apparently likes the self-deprecating variant and has been using the routine for quite some time, for example during a 2009 visit to Germany.