Roberto Benigni is one of the best Italian comedians.
Describing Benigni is difficult; he started doing poetic improvisation in city squares. This is a tradition in Tuscany, the region of Italy were he was born.
Tuscanians in Italy have a reputation for being witty, sarcastic, sharp-tongued and difficult to bear. Benigni fits perfectly the description.
His mass media debut was in Italian state television RAI, back in the BW era. After an episode where Benigni called the Pope "Woytilaccio" (which means more or less "that bad ass dude, Woytila"), RAI vowed that they wound never transmit Benigni live again.
Roberto Benigni is a comic force of nature. Even the way his forehead wrinkles is funny.
When RAI, many years later, readmitted Benigni live it was in a show where he would be more or less controlled by Pippo Baudo. Baudo is a very conservative, predictable show host.
Benigni said "Pippo, I love you so much I want to swap pants with you". Now, Baudo is probably one foot taller than Benigni. But there was no talking the little man out of it. So they swapped pants. Live. On national TV, and at prime time.
Of the movies mentioned above, my favourite ones are certainly "Non ci resta che piangere" (Nothing left to do but crying) and "Il piccolo diavolo" (The Little Devil). In the second one, the contrast between the grumpy Walter Matthau and the far-out little devil that does not want to go back to hell is a source of endless amusement.