The Italian Almanac

Beppe Grillo

Italian News - October 8

Anti-establishment comic Beppe Grillo has been named one of Time magazine's European heroes for 2005. Grillo, 57, was praised for carrying his work from apolitical stand-up to denunciation-by-humour. His citation recalled a potentially career-destroying stab at then premier Bettino Craxi in 1987 - six years before the Socialist leader's downfall - and prescient riffs on fishy business at Parmalat two years before the dairy group imploded in Europe's biggest-ever bankruptcy.

Describing the burly Genoa native as a cross between John Belushi and Jose' Bove, Time dubbed him "that rare class clown who has done his homework." Grillo's sell-out shows on shady politics, environmental perils and commercial scandals have brought his message home to Italians despite being barred by state and private terrestrial TV since the Craxi jibe, it said. Grillo's touring shows have been broadcast on Rupert Murdoch's Sky Italia satellite network.

The Italian was one of 37 Europeans lauded for their courage in "persevering and provoking, taking on challenges other people would rather duck, and reminding us that a single person can achieve unthinkable results in the face of all adversity."