First Published in Zeitgeist, September 1st 2006


Three World Cups and a Pope


Published: Autumn 2006 in Zeitgeist, the magazine of the British-German Association

Being the German Comedy Ambassador in the United Kingdom is not the easiest of jobs. The British always say we Germans don’t have a sense of humour. Well, I don’t find that funny.

Performing in comedy clubs up and down the UK made me familiar with most regional stereotypes. Geordies don’t wear coats, Scousers steal the milk out your tea, Welsh love sheep, Scots are skinflints, Cornish have six fingers on a hand and so on and so forth.

Some of the most clearly defined stereotypes are reserved for us Germans though. In the cold light of day presumably nobody really believes that people in Germany goosestep up and down the Hauptstrasse in Lederhosen, singing David Hasselhoff’s latest hits whilst munching on Bratwursts.
But it is such an entertaining thought to have, why adjust it? Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story as the old saying goes. I therefore doubt very much that the positive experiences that English football fans sampled on their trips to the World Cup 2006 will change the stereotypes about Germany in the long term. All it takes for normality to prevail will be a few more reruns of Allo Allo and Dad’s Army.

What makes me chuckle is that it is perfectly acceptable to take the piss out of Germans, or French or ginger people for that matter, whilst society gets its knickers in a twist trying not to offend ethnic minorities. I read the other day that the BBC wants to vet old Only Fools and Horses episodes and cut out remarks which could be considered derogatory to people from Asian or African background. I am all against discrimination but I think the biggest insult is to be deemed too inferior to be mocked.
What would happen to ‘Allo ‘Allo if BBC would decide to cut out all elements that might be deemed insensitive towards Germans? Listen very carefully – as there will not be many words left.

It must be said that in the five years I have been here I have not once felt threatened or offended by any comments as they were all good natured. It just becomes tedious. “Does meine Führer fancy eine pint?” is funny only the first 8,000 times.

As outdated as the British perception of Germany might be, it is equally difficult to characterise the British society because of its incoherence. On the one hand, I see lovely countryside, castles, Natives and Colonial motto parties (Harry, next time you must take me along!) and jam making competitions. On the other hand, I see chair-hurling tattooed yobs singing Rule Britannia and scantily-clad girls lying drunk in the gutter.

What all British classes have in common is an astonishing arrogance in all questions concerning humour. Contrary to the usual trademark modesty and understatement no Brit will get tired of letting the world know about his or her great sense of humour, which all other nations, in particular Germans, lack. You will be shocked to learn that there are not many differences between British and German humour.
Someone falling over or getting a cake in the face is funny everywhere. Also, two fat blokes, a cannibal or a vicar guarantee a good pub joke in any country.

As a rule of thumb, I think the British are perceived by the Germans as what they are: a funny bunch who love a laugh and are useless at playing football and running trains.

Posted by Henning Wehn on Friday, September 1st, 2006.
Filed Under: Writing



CLICK HERE TO GO BACK



Enjoy this blast from the past? Here's some up-to-date live shows coming up..

February 2018

12 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
13 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
14 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
19 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
20 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT

March 2018

5 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
6 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
12 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
13 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
14 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
19 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
20 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
21 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
22 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT

April 2018

09 – BATH – Widcombe Social Club – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
10 – BATH – Widcombe Social Club – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
12 – BORDON – The Phoenix Theatre – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
13 – BORDON – The Phoenix Theatre – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
14 – BORDON – The Phoenix Theatre – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
18 – BEVERLEY – East Riding Theatre – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
19 – POCKLINGTON – Arts Centre – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
20 – POCKLINGTON – Arts Centre – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
21 – BEVERLEY – East Riding Theatre – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
29 – TRING – The Court Theatre – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
30 – TRING – The Court Theatre – TICKETS – Work In Progress

May 2018

1 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
2 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – SOLD OUT
7 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS
8 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS
11 – GREAT TORRINGTON – Plough Arts – SOLD OUT – Work In Progress
12 – GREAT TORRINGTON – Plough Arts – SOLD OUT- Work In Progress
13 – LAUNCESTON – Town Hall – SOLD OUT – Work in Progress
14 – LAUNCESTON – Town Hall –TICKETS – Work In Progress
17 – DARTMOUTH – The Flavel – TICKETS – Work In Progress
18 – FALMOUTH – The Poly – TICKETS  – Work In Progress
19 – PENZANCE – The Acorn – TICKETS – Work In Progress
29 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS
30 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS
31 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS

June 2018

2 – HAYWARDS HEATH – Clair Hall – TICKETS – Work in Progress
7 – NORWICH – Playhouse – TICKETS SOON – Work in Progress
8 – NORWICH – Playhouse – TICKETS SOON – Work in Progress
9 – NORWICH – Playhouse – TICKETS SOON – Work in Progress
11 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS
12 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS
13 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS

July 2018

24 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS
25 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS
26 – LONDON – Betsey Trotwood – TICKETS

August 2018

3-27 EDINBURGH – Venue TBC – TICKETS SOON

September 2018

20 – WAVENDON – The Stables – TICKETS
21 – WAVENDON – The Stables – TICKETS
22 – WAVENDON – The Stables – TICKETS
26 – BRIDPORT – Electric Palace – Extra date – TICKETS
27 – BRIDPORT – Electric Palace – SOLD OUT
28 – WIMBORNE – Tivoli Theatre – SOLD OUT
29 – WIMBORNE – Tivoli Theatre – TICKETS

October 2018

4 – LOUGHBOROUGH – Town Hall – TICKETS
5 – MALVERN – Forum – TICKETS
6 – GUILDFORD – G Live – TICKETS
11 – BEDFORD – Corn Exchange – TICKETS
12 – LEEDS – City Varieties – TICKETS
13 – LEEDS – City Varieties – TICKETS
18 – CHESTER – Story House – TICKETS
19 – SALFORD – Lowry Lyric Theatre – TICKETS
25 – KINGS LYNN – Corn Exchange – TICKETS
26 – PETERBOROUGH – The Cresset – TICKETS
27 – LINCOLN – The Engine Shed – TICKETS

November 2018

8 – WORTHING – Pavilion – TICKETS
9 – BEXHILL – De La Warr Pavilion – TICKETS
10 – SOUTHEND – Cliff’s Pavilion – TICKETS
15 – ST ALBANS – Alban Arena – TICKETS
16 – DARTFORD – The Orchard – TICKETS
17 – READING – Hexagon – TICKETS
21 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
22 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
23 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
24 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
28 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
29 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
30 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS

December 2018

1 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
5 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
6 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
7 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
8 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
12 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
13 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS 
14 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS
15 – LONDON – Leicester Square Theatre – TICKETS 

 

Westphalia Is Not An Option

New DVD!!!
DVD on Amazon

See Henning Live!

Eins, Zwei, DIY

You've got some catching up to do!
Have a look at Henning's previous offerings.
Download now!
DVD on Amazon
Download at iTunes

Henning Knows Bestest DVD

No Surrender DVD

You've got A LOT of catching up to do!
Have a look at Henning's earlier offering.
Download now!

Henning’s Newsletter

Pop your email address in here!