I first discovered Nonna Paola while surfing through videos on my smart TV's YouTube app. Immediately, I called over my wife and son and we lost ourselves in laughter for the next hour or more as we played video after video.
This diminutive Calabrian nonna puts up with the provocations, jabs and teasing of her Australian comedian son, Greg, as he records videos of her reactions to the the world around her: telemarketers, smart phones, "sooshi" ("Do I eat-a the paper?"), politics, and priests. In one episode she asks her son to play Metallica in the car. In another, she explains how she bottles and labels her own holy water. One of my all-time favorites is when her son catches her drying chili peppers in the washing machine's spin cycle!
The mix of a loving, prodding son and a thick-accented energetic Nonna is hysterical. The videos has made Nonna Paola a YouTube sensation, with nearly 24,000 subscribers with some of her videos reaching over half a million views!
In many ways (especially in stature) she reminds me of my maternal Grandmother: the way I would always tease her about her "boyfriend", the Pope; trying to put a helmet on her and telling her "today is the day" I was taking her for a ride on my motorcycle; and I perpetually blamed her tomato sauce (overloaded with onions and peppers) as the reason my appendix almost killed me when I was 12 years old.
Their videos are addictive, but I'm trying to pace myself for when I really need to take my mind off of everyday problems of life. When I need it, I'll load up their video channel on Youtube and laugh at the way Nonna fights back at her son by calling him "Dick-a-head", soothing my soul with laughter...
A few of my Nonna Paola favorites...
I you want to learn about Italy, food, life and humor, then Two Greedy Italians is for you. It is a BBC television series that was broadcast on BBC Two in the UK. The series follows charming chefs Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio as they travel back to their homeland for the first time in 15 years... to see how their Italian society and food has evolved over the years. There is also an accompanying cook book called Two Greedy Italians: Carluccio and Contaldo's Return to Italy that you can find on Amazon. A second series entitled Two Greedy Italians: Still Hungry was also produced. These two old chefs have it all.... experience with food, life and great charisma. Lovable, passionate and damned funny together!
(Click the photo at left to see the DVD set on Amazon)
Click the photo below to watch a sample video of Two Greedy Italians