Renato Pozzetto’s Artistic Journey: From Milan’s Cabaret Scene to Iconic Status in Italian Comedy and Cinema.
Renato Pozzetto, born in Milan on July 14, 1940, is a prominent Italian actor, comedian, cabaret artist, singer, screenwriter, and director.
Recognized as one of the founders of Lombard cabaret, Pozzetto is known for his unique brand of humor, marked by a surreal touch, making him a well-known and cherished figure in Italian comedy.
He was born to Armando, from Padua, and Clementina, a Swiss native from Malvaglia in Canton Ticino. The youngest of four siblings, he initially grew up in Gemonio. It was there that he met and befriended his future comedic partner, Aurelio Ponzoni, known as Cochi, who was also displaced to Gemonio. Later, the family moved to Milan, where Pozzetto attended the “Carlo Cattaneo” technical institute for surveyors, beginning his initial foray into the cabaret scene.
In 1964, Pozzetto formed the comic duo “Cochi e Renato” with Ponzoni. They made their debut at Osteria dell’Oca in Milan and performed at Cab 64, eventually joining forces with Enzo Jannacci, Felice Andreasi, Bruno Lauzi, and Lino Toffolo to create “Il Gruppo Motore,” before moving on to Derby di Milano. The duo quickly gained significant popularity.
Their comedic style, both simple and original, rapidly gained them fame. They soon appeared on Rai television, hosting and starring in shows like Quelli della domenica (1968), Il buono e il cattivo (1972), Il poeta e il contadino – l’incontro che non doveva avvenire (1973), Canzonissima, and Vino, whisky e chewing-gum (1974).
During the same period, they recorded several hit songs, notably collaborating with Enzo Jannacci, with songs like La gallina, Canzone intelligente, and particularly E la vita, la vita. From the mid-1970s, Pozzetto pursued a solo career, debuting in the film industry with Per amare Ofelia (1974). His unique acting style, heavily reliant on mime, brought him great popularity. His film characters combined his surreal, original humor with settings typical of the Italian comedy genre. He also achieved success as an amateur racing driver, winning his class in the 1978 Giro automobilistico d’Italia and placing fifth in trucks at the 1987 Paris-Dakar Rally.
Pozzetto’s peak in film came in the 1980s, acting in numerous films (directing five), alongside other Italian cinema figures like Adriano Celentano, Ornella Muti, Massimo Boldi, Carlo Verdone, Diego Abatantuono, and Paolo Villaggio. His success continued into the mid-1990s, when a decline in popularity led him to pause his career.
Since 2000, he has reunited with Cochi Ponzoni for various theater and TV shows. In 2009-2010, he led a government anti-smoking campaign, and in 2013, he starred in the TV series Casa e bottega. In 2019, he made a surprise guest appearance at the Sanremo Music Festival with Lo Stato Sociale, singing E la vita, la vita. In 2021, he played Giuseppe Sgarbi in Pupi Avati’s Lei mi parla ancora, earning a David di Donatello nomination.
Pozzetto was married to Brunella Gubler from 1967 until her passing in 2009, and they had two children, Giacomo and Francesca.
Featured image: Wikimedia,
Topics: Renato Pozzetto’s influence in Italian comedy