Italian Berlusconi woos TikTok with joke about Putin, Biden and himself – Reuters

The former Prime Minister told a classic story of how he made a fool of himself by claiming to be the smartest guy

Veteran Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi has launched his official TikTok channel. The former Prime Minister, currently running for a Senate seat, challenged the platform’s young audience with an old self-deprecating joke.

Berlusconi’s first TikTok video on Thursday was a welcome speech and quickly racked up millions of views, according to Italian media. In the second, he celebrated the audience’s enthusiasm and told a humorous story, presumably to lighten the mood.

It was about a group of public figures, including himself, trapped in a plane about to fall and crash and missing a parachute to save everyone on board. Passengers rushed to claim the craft by merit 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 East respectively, before grabbing parachutes and jumping. Berlusconi said he was the smartest politician in Europe before doing the same. The last two people on board were Pope Francis and his young assistant.

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The head of the Catholic Church offered to stay because, he said, he was an old man who had a good life and was not afraid to die. But his young mate said they needn’t worry because ‘the smartest politician in Europe just took my backpack’ by mistake.

After delivering the punchline, Berlusconi called on voters to “trying to put a parachute over Italy” in the next snap election later this month. The controversial 85-year-old political heavyweight, who leads the liberal-conservative Forza Italia party, announced his ambition to become a senator last month.

The joke about “the smartest person” not to say that the real parachute is quite old and can feature any public figure as the butt, depending on the preferences of the narrator. Berlusconi apparently likes the self-deprecating variant and has been using the routine for some time, for example during a visit to Germany in 2009.

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