Category Archives: comedy

The Chimpanzee that played Hitler – Obitury

I was sorry today to learn of the death of Cheetah the Chimpanzee.  As most people know, all elderly Americans retire to Florida at some stage, and the well known actor from the Tarzan films was no exception, living out his twilight years in an old chimps’ home on the panhandle.

What not so many people know is that Cheetah was one of the best impersonators of Hitler in Hollywood. As a fitting obitury to the great actor of the Tarzan films, I’d like to share this clip of Cheetah in his best role.  Enjoy!

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Filed under comedy, German video, World War 2

OK OK we got it, Bild!

The problem with the German joke is that it stops being funny when it has to be explained, at length, over a period of days. (Assuming it was funny in the first place).

This appears now to be Bild’s strategy this week in it’s response to the Sun’s original How German are you quiz, based on research that shows 50% of Brits have German genes.

Today Bild is running a story under the title: Oh ja! Wir Engländer sind ja wirklich very peinlich (Oh yes. We English really are very embarrassing). They obviously sent a Bild hack round a bunch of British tourists in Majorca and asked them to do the Bild quiz.

The thing about the Bild quiz was (and this bit was funny, Bild) that all of the multiple choice options gave the same answer. You are totally English.  Not surprising, really,  when there were answers like:

What is your favourite drink?

a: Beer

b: Beer

C: BEER

(And let’s not forget the original premise: 50% of Brits have German genes… so  I don’t think we need to look far to find out where any national liking for beer comes from).

Similarly with the question:

How do you shoot penalties?

a:  Past the left post

b:  Past the right post

c:  Over the bar

That must be our German genes at work too – as illustrated in this clip….

 

Is anyone going for the last word, or can we move on to slagging off the French yet?

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Filed under About Germany, comedy, Life in Germany

Eurovision advice for Lena from the Island Monkeys…

Has it come to this? The Eurovision Song Contest being nobbled? Gott im Himmel! Sacre bleu!

I give you the glorious Fascinating Aida’s advice for Lena for  Eurovision in Düsseldorf…. (or something)

Surely that’s just not cricket!

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Filed under About Germany, comedy, Life in Germany

The angry new word of the year: Wutbürger

The German language has a body which oversees the development of it’s language. The German Language Society tracks down and documents new words which enter the German language. Not only that, every year they select a winner.

Of course German is very prone to adopting new words. Not only are there the very many Denglish imports, but German is the sort of language which automatically creates new words all the time, by sticking ever more components together until you have created the concept you want to convey. Such as Flauschhandtuchbenutzer or Zehenzwischenraumabtrockner.

To be a winning word in the eyes of the German Language Society though, you have to be a word of the times. You have to reflect the mood of the particular period in which you were developed and adopted by the media.

This year’s word is Wutbürger. It means enraged citizen. In a year where people across Germany – and indeed much of Europe – have taken to the streets in protest at a variety of issues – the Wutbürger is the New German of 2010.

Of course you have to wonder what previous protesting Burgers were referred to as. What about 1968 when there were riots on the streets across many German cities and the police fired back with water cannon? Well apparently that was more of a Jugendrevolte.  That’s  “youth revolting”  or “revolting youth”  depending on which side of thirty you happened to be at the time.

But what will happen when the English language decides to assimilate this new German favourite?

To the English ear, the Wutbürger sounds more like another variant of a Hamburger or Beefburger. Perhaps one which will contain more chilli sauce and mustard than usual – or even a few Jalapeno Peppers, just to express its outrage and desire for revenge. It might also have the properties of a dodgy kebab – the sort of food which you wolf down when hungry, but which reappears with alarming speed. It almost certainly wouldn’t contain salad.

The Wutbürger could even end up as the weapon of choice at food fights between today’s revolting youth and the powers of law and order. It would be a massive hit with the media, due to the presence of much red chilli sauce (indistinguishable from blood) which will make for dramatic front page photos.  I can just see it: “Prince Charles struck by a Wutbürger on his way to the theatre – one dinner shirt badly injured.”

Bite me if you dare... GRRRRRR

Wutbürger and chips anyone?

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Filed under About Germany, comedy, food, Life in Germany

Teatime and Cellos in Düsseldorf

Just a quick alert for anyone in Düsseldorf on October 3rd. I will be appearing at Teatime and Cellos on Planet Germany.

The event is organised by Rhinebuzz. It will be an afternoon of fabulous classical music interspersed with me reading funny passages from Planet Germany . It starts at 5 p.m. (that’s 17.00 if you’re German) and will be at  Kwadrat, Blücherstrasse 51, Düsseldorf.

I really hope to meet some of my regular readers there!

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Filed under About Germany, books, comedy, german art, German language, Life in Germany

Dancing horses and worshipful chefs

Do you ever sneak up on a town unannounced… you know, just to find out what people get up to when they don’t know you’re coming?

Yesterday I paid an unannounced visit to Münster. I went there with Eldest Daughter, because she has just been awarded a place at its university, and she wanted to get an impression of the town.

Despite the unannounced nature of our visit, I’m convinced that they’d found out we were coming. Someone must have been tracking the car, and the minute we turned onto the A43, the phonelines must have been buzzing with the news: “Achtung Münster! Middle-aged British comedy writer approaching…”

When we got there, even before we’d parked the car, we were held up by what appeared to be a procession of people dressed as chefs, waving banners and being afforded police protection to allow them to pass.

I already saw this as a bad omen. You turn up at a city and all the chefs have taken to the streets. A protest at being asked to cater to British tastes perhaps? What if they are actually on strike? Whatever will we do about lunch?

Pushing these worries to the back of our mind, we parked the car and set out to explore the city. Münster, we learned, is a scenic place with a dark side to its history. Take the pretty St. Lamberti church with it’s lacy spire. Closer inspection of the area above the clock reveals three iron cages which once held the tortured bodies of some anabaptists who the city fathers had taken a dislike to. Clearly not a town council one should annoy. From this point on, we were very careful not to drop litter.

The town itself was packed. Not only was it market day… but, we soon learned, the entire city was full of horses. And not just any old nags… no, we’d inadvertently landed in the middle of Germany’s horsing event of the year. The Deutsche Meisterschaft for show jumping and dressage.

The horses, it seemed, were camping in their hundreds. In supersized special horse-tents. A sort of equestrian refugee camp slap bang in front of the Schloss. From the smell of the place, it wouldn’t surprise me if some ponies found themselves dangling in irons on the church spire for fouling the pavements before the weekend’s out!

Show jumping is a sport I can sort of understand. But dressage is just weird. It seems to be a form of Strictly Come Dancing done by horses. I assumed this was all part of the City of Münster’s plot to make a comedy writer feel at home, by picking the least appropriate animal available to try and waltz to the Blue Danube.

Moving back into the city, we tried to visit the cathedral. This was tricky, first because the world’s largest market appeared to have sprung up around the building itself, so we had to battle through crowds lugging baskets of vegetables and wielding salamis and cheeses to get there. Once inside, the entirety of the cathedral turned out to be occupied by the striking chefs.

It turns out that they weren’t on strike at all. In fact, there were around 800 of them in Münster for some kind of annual competitive Bake-Off. We’d caught them in a moment of solemn contemplation, following which they would be wielding their cleavers and meat tenderisers in anger, each trying to out-cook their rivals.

Now, call me a conspiracy theorist, but I see more than just a casual coincidence here. First, the town is filled with hundreds of large farm animals, all herded together into what on the surface seemed to be a camp site for horses, but could equally serve as a canvas abbatoir. Second, several hundred chefs with their pots, pans and kitchen knives gather only a hundred metres away for a cookery contest.While I confess I didn’t see a written menu anywhere for the huge feast which was to be held at the Rathausinnenhof that evening…. I rather suspect Kebab de Cheval might be on the menu…

Kebab de Cheval anyone?

Can I have fries with that?

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Filed under About Germany, comedy, food, German festivals, Life in Germany

Hitler meets Volksmusik

This has to be one of the most bizarre spoofs on Youtube…

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Filed under comedy, german television, German video, Life in Germany, World War 2