Long live Mai Dire Gol

What we have left, today, of a historical transmission such as Never say Goal are the official profiles of Gialappa’s Band on Facebook and Instagram, and a tribute page called “Rivogliamo Mai Dire Gol”. The rest lives inside our memories. Popular wisdom says that very often those who become an iron smoker are the sons of heavy smokers and that the habit of secondhand smoke not only gives birth to a passion but keeps it alive and makes it stainless. Since the early 90s, while still a child, I have been a passive viewer of Never say Goal at levels close to compulsiveness. I watched and re-watched the same episodes, knew every character and every sketch, knew exactly how the comedians would be dressed. My father, my mother, my older brother, my uncles, my cousins ​​watched it. One of them, a forerunner of YouTube, recorded each episode on VHS tapes which he cataloged with precise white labels bearing the episode number and year. I didn’t understand most of the jokes but on Monday nights I was allowed to stay up late with them and I always laughed a second late, waiting for the others to too. I didn’t understand where the voices of Gialappa’s Band came from, I thought about it for years, stopping only when one of my first girls told me one evening but why do you pronounce every line of your life like Mr. Carlo?

Thirty-odd years after the first broadcast, Mediaset has announced a new celebratory edition of four episodes for spring 2023 in which to try to bring together all the comedians and artists who have been part of the cast. A nostalgia operation at maximum power, the very high risk of touching how much we have not only grown but also aged and how much our idols have not managed to escape the passage of time.

The Gialappi

Never say Goal they are Giorgio Gherarducci, Marco Santin and Carlo Taranto written in strict alphabetical order. To say that their name derives from a Mexican floral plant from which a powerful laxative for horses is extracted, Wikipedia is enough, just as it is easy to tell that in the beginning it was Taranto and Gherarducci to whom was later added – as in all the stories of the duo which becomes a trio – Santin. To get to know them well and be certain of distinguishing their voice from a thousand, it took years and years of assiduous visits, an absolute loyalty to which I have not failed even for the less successful products of recent years (and there have been some) and for the rinsing them in Twitch’s Arno, a robe I must say suits them. The fonts and colors of the gimmicks are complementary with the television rhythm and punctuation of the Mr Charles, the disruptive wickedness of Giorgio and the mocking voice of Marco Santin who while terribly taking the piss off you makes you believe you’re cool.

Gialappa’s Band – as a triune entity – can be considered the best television author, comedian, talent scout, anthropologist and presenter of all television from the nineties to the two thousand. The trio has already been YouTubers, podcasters and streamers when all this didn’t exist yet but at the same time they have never been so advanced as not to be understood. Gialappa’s has always done cool, smart things, high the right but also terribly stupid in the best and noblest sense of the term. There is a clip that describes this concept in purity and it is the sketch in which Johnny Glamour, the stuttering deejay played by Giovanni Storti, hosts Marco Pantani: the cyclist from Romagna was injured and shows all his sympathy, and all his embarrassment, in a gag as simple as it is funny and full of melancholy.

Precisely Glamour, who is a character who perhaps can even be defined as minor in the epic maidiregolana, it gives us back what the broadcast was like at that time judging only the level and variety of some guests: Piero Pelù, Don Lurio, Alexis Lasas, Paola Turci and even Fiorella Mannoia. All showmen have a toucha kind of esprit de finesse pascalian which is difficult to control but which the eye of the spectator never escapes: Gialappa’s – like Fiorello for example – has always had it and you have never lost it managing to reinvent itself inside Never Say Goal. As a discoverer of talents that have changed over time and even different ones, from Nico & i Sardi to Medioman passing through Carcarlo Pravettoni, Dr. Frattale and the masseur Primo Drudi to mention a few hidden pearls in years of broadcasting; she never lost the touch not even as a present and absent voice, sometimes shouted sometimes whispered but always perfect in the ways and times to enter. Gialappa’s didn’t overshadow any of her characters but always managed to be the perfect fuel to get everyone off the ground. A performance accelerator as most have seen on Italian television, much more and better than Valerio Lundini and Giovanni Benincasa – two champions, mind you – to mention the strictly current events.

The Golden Years

The first installment of Never Say Goal it aired on November 18, 1990, continuing every Monday linked to the football season. Yes, the beginning of everything, the magical pretext and leitmotif of a program that has become much more, was football. It must be said and reiterated, at the cost of being rhetorical and repetitive: for many, even contingent, reasons, the world of football has never again been able to tell its story in such a genuine, light-hearted and amusing way. Net of the guests, the imitations, the teasing, two episodes above all to remind us what he was able to do Never say Goal: Ruud Gullit shirtless that sounds like a drum the bald head by Attilio Lombardo at the opening of the 1994 theme song “The cynical lottery of penalties” by Elio e le Storie Tese; Paul Gascoigne who from Lazio’s retirement imitates Elvis Presley together with some companions. And this is only a limited metonym that tells us a part of everything that really can never come back. Never again will any president after Massimo Moratti (together with a Sandro Mazzola in great shape) lend himself to staging the presentation of Rolando – Aldo Baglio – complete with Inter training, all dressed in the ordinance camouflage uniform.

Purists consider the 2001 edition to be the last true edition, followed by an interminable and also fortunate variation of the others Never say: Sunday, Big Brother etc etc. Gialappa’s soon managed to encroach on social satire – superfine in certain peaks such as with Carcarlo Pravettoni – and also politics, maintaining tones that were always appreciated but no less pungent for this. Pierpiero, the gardener from Arcore played by Antonio Albanese remains one of the most refined and horizontal characters as well as the Engineer Cane who was also followed by more classic imitations such as that of Letizia Moratti magnificently played by Paola Cortellesi. Never Say Goal it was also the first broadcast to make fun of television (Blob has always done it in another way, using a sort of meta language) by laying bare its contradictions and fragility. In addition to some grotesque clips from Rai, Mediaset and private TV shows (in no particular order, I quote by heart the cults of Frosinone Culone, the Doctor Marvelli, Maurizio Mosca in all its forms, Luke Juror And Bethel), an amazing parody of Green Line with gathered an incredible series of champions: Maurizio Crozza in the role of the presenter PutignaniClaudio Bisio the mayorLuciana Litizzetto the beauty of the countryFabio De Luigi Bastilani striking ironJoel Dix the intellectual and Ugo Dighero the old lady. Improbable journeys to improbable countries staging what Boris would tell in an even more structured and in-depth way over ten years later.

Those from 1990 to 2001 were intense and very long years, started in the sign of Teo Teocoli at the management. He was the character outside the three factotums who had the most impact on the program also at an authorial and personality level, then leaving like a bolt from the blue. They quarreled, they had some controversy now watered down by time and clarified in the tour of guests that i Gialappi they are doing to present the book about their career. They reconciled to What’s the weather likebut the peace signals had already arrived during an episode of Deejay Call Italy. Teo Teocoli, under the guise of Peo Pericoli, was the first and most famous presenter of the programme, the true host and perfectly integrated voice at three o’clock. The honeymoon that lasted until December 4, 1995 represented perhaps the most successful comedic and intellectual union of modern television. To all this Teocoli added the character of Felice Caccamo, mythological also in his clothing and scenography as well as the best imitation ever made of Adriano Galliani.


The common thread that has held everything together and that still makes it vibrate after so many years is belonging, declined in its various forms. It was nice to belong to the group of Never Say Goal where the comedians felt pampered and fulfilled and did everything to get there, it was nice to belong to a people who didn’t really go out on Monday evenings to watch live broadcasts, it was nice to be part of this generation even almost out of time like it happened to kids who are 30 years old or a little less today.

And now Never Say Goal will try to come back in a special sunset boulevard, as certainly Elio e le Storie Tese would define the celebratory episodes scheduled for April. We can’t say if it will be exciting and if it will have the frenetic pace of the past – probably not – but it will always be nice to be there and be able to say once again «Tonight we’re at home Never say». Maybe it will feel like those old heart games where we watch our old idols play and remember how young we were when they were strong. While now we have white hair and they have a little bacon. There will be some pain on the way back but it will be unforgettable. Like when Bebo Storti, made up with a wretch blackface, sneaked into the opening ceremony of the 1996 World Ski Championships in Sierra Nevada and paraded with the Senegalese flag together with the skier Lamine Gueye. It was Alfio Muschio, he made history. Anyone who changes the channel is a scammer!

Long live Mai Dire Gol