I, Mussolini | Comedian Leo Pasi: “Evangelicals are completely right-fascist”

Clown, Harlequin and Comedian Leo Passy (New York, 1952) returns to Majorca with I am Mussolini, the work in which the Italian dictator is embodied. In this historical figure, he uses his sense of humor to fight the far right. It will be at the Teatre del Mar and will present three performances: Friday, March 31, Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2.

What should I call him: Leo, Benito or Duce?

After three years of living next to the Duce, following his trail and searching for his story, it is not entirely clear where Mussolini begins and where Leo Bassi ends, it is complicated. I see him now with more love than before.

Mussolini was a puppet, almost a clown.

I don’t know if this is worrisome…

Yes very disturbing [risas]. I discovered that dictators and fascists are puppets of backward powers and that they are the same ones who call themselves democracy. Mussolini was a puppet, almost a clown, which is why, as a clown, I find some similarities with myself. It was great Showman In the hands of powers far greater than him. I’m 70 and I’m Italian, and had it not been for the research I did for this show, there would be things I never would have known.

He created this show to fight the far right.

I make my shows based on my gut, my way of thinking, like the fear I had a few years ago about the rise of the far right. And I thought about what fascism is, Mussolini created fascism and I decided to put on a show and destroy its rise. And I discovered that things are more complicated than I imagined. There are parallels with today’s reality. There are people with power who don’t care if there is an outbreak as long as businesses are running.

He says that fascism is based on scaring people. Is humor a weapon to combat it?

What is humor if not to remove fear from things? Even black humor removes the fear of death. A joke at a good time can eliminate that fear. Fascists don’t like comedians at all. How many comedians have ended up on the line because of a joke that shattered the fear others used to control people?

Have you faced tense situations because of this show?

Yes, in Italy they tore up posters, shouted, because Meloni and others are nostalgic for Mussolini. In Italy you have to be a little brave to do this show, but I don’t lack courage and I laugh a lot at all this. It’s more fun when there’s opposition like that. The meaning of doing theater is not just entertainment, it’s freedom of expression and I love using theater and I think it can still have that power.

Have you thought about doing the Spanish version? Franco’s incarnation?

My voice is much more than Mussolini’s [risas]. In Italy, I have been told, countless times, that I sound like Mussolini in my manner of speaking. Aside from the political dimension, somewhere in my head I knew what to do with it. I don’t think I look like Franco, he’s just a bit different…

What does it mean to return to Mallorca?

a lot of things. The first time I sang in Palma I was about 20 years old. I was in Jumela, in Tito’s, at the first discos. I have a relationship with the longest island. She has performed at the Teatro del Mar on various occasions. It’s a memory of my youth, seeing many friends again and it’s a little personal party. In front of the Mallorca crowd I’ve always been interested in, that’s the thing Mallorcans are usually very proud of, and they don’t need to rely on appearances.

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Back to politics, what do you think Ramon Tamames was Vox’s nominee in the motion of no confidence?

I didn’t follow it up much, it was pathetic, I regret to say that to this gentleman. We are on the brink of World War III, with Ukraine, with atomic bombs, and there were more important things to do Displays.

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And that the People’s Party has resorted to a missionary in the procession?

Yes, i saw that. I go to South America a lot, and in Brazil, Bolsonaro was supported by missionaries. In South America, evangelicals are right-wing not far from Mussolini, it’s totally fascist right-wing and what the People’s Party is doing is trying to collect South American votes with this, but it’s dangerous. Where does freedom end and fascism begin? difficult.

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