Interview – iFach Zucco
With his black polo-neck jumper, rimless glasses and confident manner, it seems at first glance that Steve Jobs has come back to life. Take a second look, however, and the clever smile is unmistakable. Graubünden comedian Claudio Zuccolini is back on stage after his ‘circus training’ – his guest performance with Circus Knie. His mission is a grand one: he wants, in short, to save the world. That is why his fourth programme “iFach Zucco” is picking up exactly where the third one left off some two years ago. Claudio teaches us that striving for wealth and success has its darker sides. We would like to find out more about Zucco and his new show before his first performance in Zurich.
“iFach Zucco” – We’ve seen you perform in many different guises, but who is the real Zucco?
Of course I have a self-image but I’d rather keep it to myself. No-one has to reveal their strengths and weaknesses to the whole world. It’s up to people to form their own impression of me. If it’s completely wrong, I’m more than happy to correct it during the show.
Where does your love for the stage come from and when did you discover this passion?
I already felt an urge to entertain people as a child,but there was never any question of it becoming my career. There have been many turning points in my life at which I had to change direction because the path I had been taking turned out to be the wrong one or because I was prevented from taking that route. At one of these points I changed direction again and finally dared to take to the stage. It turned out to be the right decision!
What distinguishes Swiss humour?
That’s a very difficult question. Everyone considers their humour to be more sophisticated than it actually is and feels they have to prove what a great sense of humour they have. The same is true for sport – everyone thinks they can have their say. But at the end of the day, experience shows that it is the simplest jokes, including those which go below the belt, that get the biggest laughs, especially from the women as it happens. I think many people like it when they can already guess the punch line in advance, and are happy when they get it right. I, on the other hand, prefer surprises to predictable punch lines.
What does it take to become a successful comedian in Switzerland?
Stamina, confidence and willpower – and more stamina. That’s the most important thing. You have to keep on offering audiences new material and just go out there and perform, over and over again, everywhere you can and as often as possible. If you always try to give a good performance, people will eventually take notice.
You have also experienced the darker sides of the industry and the world of celebrity. What lessons have you learnt from these experiences and how have they affected you and your new shows?
Bad times are part of life, just like the good ones. Your motto has to be “Don’t give up, just keep on going!” And most importantly, don’t listen to everything people say. I know exactly what I’m capable of and enjoy doing, so I keep on doing it. Perhaps I have made some mistakes in the past, but artists in particular are always taking certain risks. It’s a dangerous process – risking public criticism is certainly more dangerous than sitting in front of a computer all day. But is that always a better and nicer thing to do? It’s definitely right that I am still performing, as my reviews prove.
What is iFach Zucco about?
It’s a continuation of my Erfolgsprogramm show (programme for success). In Erfolgsprogramm, I gave people tips on how to become happy and achieve success. I am now going to show that there are also many disadvantages to having too much money. But what my fourth show is basically about is making the audience laugh with observations from everyday life and topics that they can identify with.
How did you put the programme together?
It was a long process. I note down ideas all the time, and then at some point I get together with my co-author Jürg Zentner, who also presents the many ideas he has come up with. We find a common thread and then each of us goes off and writes potential scenarios based on that. Later, we correct, change and shorten these stories until at some point we have the programme. I then have to learn the whole thing by heart before it finally goes on stage. The first performance is the most important and also the most difficult. If it goes well, the whole programme will be a success.
And how did the premiere in Winterthur go?
Very well – the reviews were almost euphoric.
Did you make any changes to the programme?
I had to shorten large parts of it and still haven’t finished. I also frequently rearrange the topics. But the show is basically going well as it is.
When do you consider a tour to be a success?
When enough people come to see it – in other words when the auditoria are full – and have a really good laugh. Why should our readers be sure not to miss iFach Zucco? Because I have a family of four to feed, so they should see coming to my shows as a kind of donation. Plus you’ll have a fantastic evening with lots of laughs!