With his expressive face and thick accent, Italian-Iranian comedian Nicholas De Santo looks a bit like a young Roberto Benigni. When he gets to the jokes, however, the resemblance ends. “A lot of women killing their babies for their careers. Can you imagine killing a baby for your career and still being paid 30% less than a man?” Setting comedy in a Nazi concentration camp is one thing; joking about a woman’s sacred “right to choose” is another altogether.
De Santo’s instinct that the U.K. comedy scene had room for voices on the right has proven correct. After trying out some anti-abortion jokes in Redding, De Santo brought the routine to London in January 2023, where it killed with the audience at the Backyard Comedy Club. De Santo uploaded the set to YouTube in April; it recently passed 1 million views.
De Santo recently spoke with Align about “punching down,” conservatism as counterculture, and the future of comedy. This interview has been edited for clarity.
Align: I don’t want to ruin it for anybody who hasn’t seen it because I think people should just watch it. But you loop in history, and it’s a very … sensitive part of the history. You make it funny. I think even somebody pro-choice could listen to it.
Nicholas De Santo: Obviously, you want to talk to and address your own crowd or your own tribe, because those are the ones who agree with you and those are the ones who are on the same side in this so-called culture war, which is very real, as I’m sure you agree.
But the best comments or the best compliments that I receive are the ones from people on YouTube. For example, this has been seen more than a million times now. People who come and say, yeah, I don’t agree with everything you say or I don’t agree with anything you say, but I still found it funny or I still found it thought-provoking. You still made some good points.
And first of all, it has to remain comedy because it claims to be comedy. So it has to be funny. And that’s a challenge to make such a very divisive, controversial, and also grim topic funny. And so that’s the main point and the main challenge. But of course, the second challenge is that you want to proselytize. You want to make other people think. And that’s the ultimate goal apart from making people laugh: to be socially useful, to do something for this good cause. What is a better cause than defending the most defenseless creatures, namely the unborn baby?
Like many Westerners who come from outside the West, I was very much disappointed and dismayed to see and to find the West that no longer has the will or the confidence to defend itself physically — and you’re watching on the U.S. southern border and European borders at the same time — but also spiritually in terms of the values.
Align: You actually present some great counter-arguments to arguments that really don’t get challenged very often. They become the status quo.
De Santo: You mentioned history before. I’m a bit of a history buff. I’ve always liked history. And of course, I’m based in Europe, born in Italy, lived in Germany. Now I am a naturalized British citizen. And of course, history and the Second World War are very much present.
And nowadays, this Hitler label, this Nazi label, you know, the election, Trump, or anyone who says anything that the lefties, the Democrats, the liberals don’t like, they are automatically Hitler. So these labels, sometimes historic, like Hitler or Nazis, and sometimes other labels like bigot or others, or superficially positive labels like choice, pro-choice, or women’s reproductive health, you know, or women’s reproductive rights.
These euphemisms — they stick in your mind and they sort of change your subconscious, and ultimately it becomes something automatic. Oh, you don’t want immigration? You must be a bigot. You must be a racist. You want to protect the border? Oh, you are against abortion, so you must hate women, right? Even though many, many women, maybe the majority of women, are pro-life.
So my idea, of course, the challenge of making such an unpalatable topic funny was to go after these labels and to go after these pre-established and very much consolidated ideas and try to dismantle them. And of course, what is the ultimate evil nowadays? Taken for granted: Nazism and Hitler.
And it’s so automatic. I start my routine — bit of a spoiler, I suppose — but the routine starts with a contrast or comparison between what Nazis did with unwanted people, including unborn babies, and what the so-called Karens do with unborn babies. Of course the audience has to be the judge, but I could do as much as I could do.
The sheer contrast between the two forces of evil, but one is recognized as evil because they were getting rid of unborn babies who would have been defective, who would have been a burden, and they were at war. And here’s the funny thing. They say they had their own justifications, you know. What is your justification? The absurdity, I think, is quite striking, and that’s what makes it hopefully funny.
And that’s what makes people hopefully think. Because at the end of the day, satire or political satire, it’s all about pointing out the absurdities, pointing out the incongruities, right?
In stand-up comedy, we’ve all heard this concept of punching up and punching down. They say you shouldn’t be punching down. You shouldn’t go after the poor immigrant who is poor or the poor Muslim who is oppressed or the poor woman. You shouldn’t go make jokes about it. You should talk truth to the power, and you should stick it to the man, and you should defend the defenseless. So who is the most defenseless creature of all if not an unborn baby being targeted by his or her own mother?
Align: So what does “the West” — what does that phrase mean to you? What is the West? What does it symbolize?
De Santo: Well, the West for me was the ideal to reach because I was born in the West, but I was taken away during my teenage years at the worst possible time because my father was a career diplomat, and I always struggled a lot to get back in, which I did.
And like many Westerners who come from outside the West, I was very much disappointed and dismayed to see and to find the West that no longer has the will or the confidence to defend itself physically — and you’re watching on the U.S. southern border and European borders at the same time — but also spiritually in terms of the values.
And so it’s quite disheartening, it’s quite alarming, disconcerting to come back and see that everything in the West that I fought so hard to get back to, and that we are accused of wanting to export to the poor people in the third war, is actually being dismantled step by step.
We are under invasion, physical invasion, because the numbers speak for themselves, and a moral invasion. We have abandoned Christianity, we have abandoned traditional values, we have abandoned family values for consumerism, for corporatism. See how popular communism and Marxism are at our universities; you don’t know where to start.
It’s just a huge tragedy. And then you have the World Economic Forum telling us to, you know, eat bugs and stop traveling and give up our privacy. They just want to turn us into atomized, stateless, borderless, faithless, godless, genderless, gender-fluid, beige people who just watch Netflix and buy from Amazon because, in the words of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, that makes us easier to control. That’s why everything has become a social construct identity. Nations don’t have meaning. “Imagine there are no countries.” They love this song, right, and they don’t want God.
They just want to control us. The Great Reset, the Net Zero, and the Great Replacement and all that. So that is the worst I found, and I thought I was going to be of help by being a journalist, but then I realized, hey, legacy media is just a lackey of the globalism.
So I wasn’t feeling good about that, so I thought, you know, maybe I try comedy. I believe this is our last, or at least one of our last, trenches to fight because it’s still, although dominated by the left like pretty much any other sphere of our culture, comedy still gives you some margin to experiment, to push back boundaries, and to raise your voice.
Align:What’s your prediction for the future of comedy? Best case and worst case.
De Santo: Well, let’s start with the worst case. Worst case is that the long march of the left into the institutions, which was actually theorized by this Italian communist — Antonio Gramsci Street is named after him in Bologna, the Italian city where I graduated, actually. That’s the stronghold of the Italian Communist Party, the biggest in the Western world.
The long march of the left into our institutions will continue. They have corrupted university campuses, mainstream media, the judiciary, Hollywood TV commercials, and of course comedy. And their current plan is to bring in tens of millions of outsiders, whether it’s through the Mexican border or through the Mediterranean Sea.
And then give them amnesty, and hopefully they will all become voters for the left. Okay. So that’s the worst-case scenario that we are doomed beyond redemption. Demographic decline is past, you know, the point of no return and all that.
And the best-case scenario, which I hope of course it’s going to happen, is that there is an awakening. And partly because of new technology, because if you’re talking to me, if Blaze Media exists or similar outlets, if people have watched my pro-life routine a million times, it hasn’t been through legacy media. And that’s why they are going after these platforms as well, by the way, but through the help of technology, people have become wiser. People are waking up. There are farmers demonstrating and protesting. And as we speak in Berlin, they did this in the Netherlands; we had the truckers in Canada.
We have the traditionalist prime minister in Italy, whom I just quoted. In the U.K., we had Brexit. In the U.S., we have Trump hoping to win the presidential election for the third time.
So people waking up and people telling these globalists: Hang on a minute, you know, we love our countries. We are not bigots for not wanting to be demographically replaced and for holding on to our values and families and our cultural and genetic assets and features and the civilization, the Western civilization that gave the world liberalism, in the noble sense of the term, and lifted tens of millions of people, if not more, out of poverty. And these human rights that they’re using against us, who wrote them? White, pale, stale dudes with Christian beliefs, they gave the world human rights, and now they’re using them against us.