Boasting hilarious skits as original as its name, Sooshi Mango is a trio made up of brothers, Joe and Carlo Salanitri, and their close family friend, Andrew Manfre.
With the parents of all three members hailing from the southern Italian island of Sicily and its nearby Eolian Islands, many of the group’s most well-known characters are based on the stereotypes associated with older members of “ethnic” families.
The group’s rise on the Australian comedy scene has been nothing short of meteoric, with the trio gaining over 70 million views online and hitting stages across Australia and around the world.
They have joined Greek-Australian comedy legend, Nick Giannopoulos, on two sold out national tours and are fresh off a sold out solo international tour of Canada.
Now, Sooshi Mango is gearing up to head off on its first solo national tour, ‘Fifty Shades of Ethnic’.
While the group never expected to go viral, what started with a few videos in their spare time soon evolved into something much bigger, and their desire to bring more comedy to their new fans grew with every view.
“When people start to react to it, you sort of become a little bit addicted to that,” Carlo said.
The three friends soon named their enterprise Sooshi Mango, inspired by Joe’s son: just a toddler when his dad and uncle were trying to come up with a name that would stick, he was running around the house saying “sushi mango” for some unknown reason.
While Sooshi Mango’s early skits were more generic in their content, the group soon carved out a unique spot for themselves within the genre of ethnic comedy.
“We stick with the word ‘ethnic’ because a lot of our followers are [also] Serbs, Croats, Macedonians, Turks, Lebanese, so they identify with that word better,” Carlo said.
The trio believe their success is due to the way their comedy evokes a sense of nostalgia among audiences who share a similar background and upbringing.
“It comes down to relatability, really,” Andrew said.
“We’ve struck a nerve with the audience about their childhood, their parents, or their loved ones who have passed.”
“People come up to us and say that we remind them of their mum or dad,” Joe added.
Joe said that Sooshi Mango’s skits are inspired by their own family members and pay homage to their heritage.
“At the end of the day, we are playing our family,” he explained.
“Whatever we do is always in full respect to our heritage.
“We understand it’s a gross generalisation – not all Italians of that era are like that – but it’s based on our relatives.”
The group affirmed that it’s all about keeping alive the quirks and characteristics of the older generation.
“They’re a funny generation,” Carlo added.
“You just want to grab them and hug them; they’re not going to be around forever, and we’re here to portray what they’re like so people don’t forget ... Because we’re not going to do zucchini, tomatoes and cucumber like they did back in the day!”
Sooshi Mango’s national tour kicks off at the Forum Theatre from September 14, before heading to Wollongong, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.
The show will feature two hours of brand new live skits, videos and hilarious musical numbers.
The production has been six months in the making and now the final touches are being put in place.
All three members hope their audiences across the nation walk away from the show feeling satisfied and all laughed out.
“We certainly don’t want people crying,” Carlo joked.
“Unless it’s with laughter!”
Andrew added that there is no underlying message or political agenda behind the show.
“We just want to make ourselves laugh and make people laugh,” he said.
“We also want people to feel a sense of pride of who they are and where they come from.”
Joe concluded with a tongue-in-cheek comment:
“I hope they walk away with some merchandise as well.”
For more information visit Sooshi Mango’s website.