First Published in The Fix, May 1st 2009


Achtung Britische!?


Published: May 2009 in The Fix, Britain’s foremost comedy magazine

This May you can learn about real (German) humour! Henning Wehn explains

Herr Kuhnle, the funniest man from Düsseldorf – and I – the German Comedy Ambassador – will drag a version of our Edinburgh and Melbourne show 1000 Years of German Humour across Blighty.

Admittedly the show title is a bit of a misnomer as Teutonic jolliness obviously dates back much further than just one magnificent millennium. (Joke number 1)
But let me introduce you to four of the many highlights of German hilarity:

The bat trick

Invented by the Neanderthalers in 40,000 BC this is the world’s oldest piece of physical humour: It involves sneaking up behind a fellow cage man and smacking him one over the head so hard he passes out. Then everyone starts laughing.
Hilarious! There’s still nothing funnier for Germans than seeing someone getting beaten up. Preferably a Dutchman.

Garden gnome taming

With the old Bavarian saying that humour is the little brother of inebriety in mind it doesn’t come as a surprise that lots of German humour has been invented at beer festivals.
Since medieval times the big social highlight of every beer festival is the performance of the garden gnome tamer. Luckily Herr Kuhnle is one of only 7 officially licensed garden gnome tamers and will bring some of his charges to Britain: Hans, Johann-Wolfgang, Friedrich and Horst, a foster gnome from The Gambia who is forced by Herr Kuhnle to perform the most dangerous tricks.

Folk music

Expect a rendition of ‘Im Fruehtau zu Berge’, Herr Kuhnle and my favourite German folk songs. It roughly translates as ‘Get up early in the morning so you’ll get a lot done” which is nothing but commonsense so clearly lacking  in all that foreign modern music on the radio. All those rubbish songs seemto go along the lines of ‘Uh,uh, I’ll fly to the moon on an orange elephant and once I’m up there I’ll smoke crack cocain, uh, uh”. Pathetic! But don’t worry – German folk music keeps it real. Get up early, identify the problem and then solve it. Bloody result!

The ring

Without wanting to reveal too much about the show I can tell The Fix readers that the biggest highlight of German humour is Der Ring der Nibelungen, an old saga turned into a magnificent opera by the likeable composer Richard Wagner in the 19th century. The plot revolves around incestuous love of two twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde and one ring or another. Considering the vulgar content it’s hard to fathom why it’s set on the Rhine rather than the Mersey.
Anyway, the whole opera takes about five days to perform but the first four nothing much happens. In that respect it’s very similar to test cricket. Outside Pakistan, anyway.

If you’re still not decided if 1000 Years of German Humour will be for you let me assure you that it’s not going to be real-time. Mind you, it might feel like it. (Joke number 2)

Auf gehts Deutschland!

Posted by Henning Wehn on Friday, May 1st, 2009.
Filed Under: Writing



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March 2017

2 – SHREWSBURY – Theatre Severn – SOLD OUT – Extra date added 12th November
3 – CHELTENHAM – Town Hall – SOLD OUT
4 – BRISTOL – Colston Halls – SOLD OUT
9 – HARLOW – Playhouse – SOLD OUT
10 – PETERBOROUGH – The Cresset – SOLD OUT
11 – LINCOLN – Engine Shed – SOLD OUT
16 – BEDFORD – Corn Exchange – SOLD OUT
17 – LANCASTER – Grand Theatre – SOLD OUT
18 – GLASGOW – Kings Theatre – TICKETS
19 – BARROW IN FURNESS – The Forum – TICKETS 
Leicester Square Theatre – Limited number of standing tickets available 48 hours before each performance
EXTRA LONDON DATE JUST ANNOUNCED – Hackney Empire 26th October – TICKETS
23 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
24 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT
25 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT
29 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT
30 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT
31 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT

April 2017

1 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre –TICKETS
2 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT
5 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT
6 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT
7 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT
8 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – SOLD OUT
27 – BIRMINGHAM – Town Hall – SOLD OUT – Extra date 13th October 2017 – TICKETS
28 – SOUTHPORT – The Atkinson – SOLD OUT
29 – DOUGLAS – ISLE OF MAN – The Gaiety Theatre – TICKETS

May 2017

4 – REDHILL – Harlequin – SOLD OUT
5 – NOTTINGHAM – Playhouse – SOLD OUT – Extra date added 25th November – TICKETS
6 – BROMLEY – Churchill Theatre – SOLD OUT
10 – OXFORD – Playhouse – SOLD OUT – Extra date added 31st May – TICKETS
11 – STAFFORD – Gatehouse – SOLD OUT
12 – SHEFFIELD – Octagon – TICKETS
13 – COLNE – The Muni – TICKETS
14 – BUXTON – Opera House – SOLD OUT
19 – BASINGSTOKE – The Anvil – SOLD OUT – Extra date 2nd November – TICKETS
20 – COVENTRY – Warwick Arts Centre Butterworth Hall – SOLD OUT
21 – LEICESTER – The Curve – TICKETS
24 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS – NEW MATERIAL NIGHT – NOT A SHOW
26 – WESTON SUPER MARE – The Playhouse – TICKETS
27 – YEOVIL – Westlands – TICKETS
28 – SOUTHAMPTON – Nuffield Theatre – SOLD OUT
31 – OXFORD – Playhouse – TICKETS

June 2017

1 – NORTHAMPTON – Derngate – TICKETS
2 – TORQUAY – Babbacombe Theatre – DVD Recording – TICKETS
3 – TORQUAY – Babbacombe Theatre – DVD Recording – TICKETS
9 – GUILDFORD – G Live – TICKETS
10 – READING – Hexagon – SOLD OUT – Extra date added 8th November TICKETS
11 – BOURNEMOUTH – Pavilion – TICKETS
17 – JERSEY – Opera House – TICKETS
19 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS – NEW MATERIAL NIGHT – NOT A SHOW
21 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS – NEW MATERIAL NIGHT – NOT A SHOW

July 2017

24 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS – NEW MATERIAL NIGHT – NOT A SHOW
25 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS – NEW MATERIAL NIGHT – NOT A SHOW
26 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS – NEW MATERIAL NIGHT – NOT A SHOW
28 – BARTON on HUMBER – Ropewalk – TICKETS SOON
29 – YORK – Barbican – Great Yorkshire Fringe – TICKETS SOON
30 – MACCLESFIELD – Gawsworth Hall – TICKETS SOON

August 2017

3 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
4 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
5 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
6 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
10 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
11 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
12 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
13 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
17 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
18 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
19 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS
20 – EDINBURGH – The Queen’s Hall – TICKETS

September 2017

20 – EPSOM – Playhouse – TICKETS
21 – DUNSTABLE – Grove Theatre – TICKETS
22 – DARTFORD – The Orchard – TICKETS
23 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS – Assembly Hall – TICKETS
29 – CLACTON-on-SEA – Princes Theatre – TICKETS
30 – IPSWICH – Regent Theatre – TICKETS

October 2017

1 – LOWESTOFT – Marina Theatre – TICKETS SOON
6 – HIGH WYCOMBE – The Swan – TICKETS
7 – WATFORD – Colosseum – TICKETS
8 – LEAMINGTON SPA – Royal Spa Centre – TICKETS SOON
12 – WREXHAM – William Aston Hall – TICKETS
13 – BIRMINGHAM – Town Hall – SOLD OUT
14 – BIRMINGHAM – Town Hall – TICKETS
15 – KETTERING Lighthouse – TICKETS
19 – DONCASTER – Cast – TICKETS SOON
20 – KENDAL – Westmoreland Hall – TICKETS
21 – CARLISLE – Sands Centre – TICKETS
22 – NEWCASTLE – Theatre Royal – TICKETS
26 – LONDON – Hackney Empire – TICKETS
27 – WOLVERHAMPTON – Wulfrun Hall – TICKETS
28 – MELTON MOWBRAY – Melton Theatre – TICKETS
29 – CHESTERFIELD – Pomegranate Theatre – TICKETS

November 2017

2 – BASINGSTOKE – The Anvil – TICKETS
3 – CRAWLEY – The Hawth  – TICKETS
8 – READING – Hexagon – TICKETS
9 – CANTERBURY – Marlowe Theatre – TICKETS SOON
11 – STOCKPORT – Plaza – TICKETS
12 – SHREWSBURY – Theatre Severn – TICKETS
16 – CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange – TICKETS
17 – BRIGHTON – Dome  – TICKETS
18 – HAYES – Beck Theatre – TICKETS
19 – SALISBURY – City Hall – TICKETS
23 – BARNSLEY – Civic Theatre – TICKETS
24 – SCARBOROUGH – The Spa Theatre – TICKETS
25 – NOTTINGHAM – Playhouse – TICKETS

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