Gerhard Polt turns 80 – “Humor is something deeply political”

Updated on 05/07/2022 at 10:12 am

  • Gerhard Polt is one of the most sought-after cabaret artists in the country and is a master at getting to the heart of human abysses.
  • On May 7th he will be 80 years old – but of course he does not think about retiring.
  • From May he will be on tour again, and there are already new books.

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For almost half a century, Gerhard Polt has been making his fans laugh – which at the same time likes to get stuck in the throat and makes a kind of hiccup between dismay and amusement. The cabaret artist observes the human abyss very sharply and gets to the heart of it with innocent malice. On May 7th, the cabaret artist, filmmaker, author and winner of dozens of awards will be 80 years old.

Quitting is of course not an issue. “Dieter Hildebrandt always said: ‘We are sex offenders’.” He just likes to keep going. So Polt is still on stage, at the microphone, in front of the camera. He has just implemented a weird idea from his son Martin for Servus TV: Gerhard Polt, Gisela Schneeberger and others have dubbed the Japanese soap “Hanbun, Aoi” in an idiosyncratic interpretation – in Bavarian and other dialects, under the title “Die Vroni aus Kawasaki”. .

Polt: Humor is also necessary in times of war

What exactly humor actually is, can and likes pole not say: I don’t know that. You’ll have to ask someone else that. But of course he deals with the question. For four years one has been trying to “Forum Humor” established in order to advance the topic. The ability to irony is one of the weakest characteristics in humans. Humor can play a part in this cement of society beif he is there. Humor is something deeply political.”. He can also help, comfort and distract in difficult situations. When the humor stops, it’s not far to brutalization or barbarism.

And difficult times are pole really not alien. In an interview with the German Press Agency, he recently spoke about how the war in Ukraine evokes memories of his childhood.It is a depressing matter for me personally, which affects me personally very muchlike that pole. And further:”I walked through ruins. Then I see these pictures and all these associations come back to me. Among other things, he remembers a house facade that collapsed and buried children under it.

So it is hardly surprising that the cabaret artist was one of the first to sign the initiative initiated by the publicist Alice Schwarzer open Letters to Chancellor Olaf Scholz and a warning about one third party world war. The signatories appeal under no circumstances to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine and thus to give Vladimir Putin as little motive as possible for escalating the war.

But humor is also allowed in times of war, if not more than is otherwise necessary. In an interview with the Passau New Press said pole: This is of use to the poor dogs in Ukraine at all nothingif one of us doesn’t laugh.”. Humor can also be a comfort, but also a distraction and a way of coming to terms with when you can’t deal with a situation.

Crude in the choice of words: Gerhard Polt turns the innermost part of the people to the outside

From May he will be on tour with the Well brothers from the extended family of musicians who once caused a sensation as Biermösl Blosn in Bavaria. Rehearsals in the Kammerspiele will begin in December – details are not yet available. It’s a difficult subject, he says. “It’s basically a very sad, dreary thing, try to tell it in a way that’s bearable.” Presumably with his own irony, which always allows us to look deep into the human soul.

New books have also been published, one with his interviews from many decades, in another Polt makes fun of a Tegernsee privateer. Followers of more recent Polts can be found on his website. On the garden fence in front of a rural backdrop, he presents gossip from the small world at home – and in it reflects the big one. Gerhard Polt loves “small spaces”, as he once called it. The big picture emerges from this.

Polt’s characters, that’s the common thing, aren’t inventions: there’s the broker, the father of a family, St. Nicholas – and the pope. Anni, Erwin. You meet them on the street, in the supermarket – and also when you look in the mirror in the bathroom. Often coarse in his choice of words and peppered with Bavarian expletives, Polt subtly turns people’s innermost beings outwards.

“Almost like in real life” made Polt known throughout Germany

“Almost like in real life” – that means: like in real life. Just a little pointed. The broadcast of the twelve-part ARD series of the same name with Schneeberger and Hanns Christian Müller made Polt famous in the 1980s.

Born in Munich, he grew up – baptized as a Protestant and later confirmed as a Catholic – at times in the strictly Catholic Altötting. After graduating from high school, he studied in Munich and later in Gothenburg and lived in Sweden for a few years. Back in Munich, Polt worked as a translator, teacher and interpreter.

In 1976 he appeared in Munich for the first time with a cabaret program. This was followed by appearances in Berlin and in Dieter Hildebrandt’s television “window wiper”. For a biting satire on the controversial construction of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, which drove the then CSU “superfather” Franz Josef Strauss upset, he received the Grimme Prize in silver.

Polt also spends his birthday on stage

Sometimes a long silence instead of an acceptance speech like at the presentation of the German cabaret prize in 1980, sometimes a disgusting story about the lung mucus floating in the beer mug at the official presentation of the Oktoberfest mug: Polt is unpredictable. He also skilfully bares a breach of convention.

Married since 1971, Polt lives on Schliersee in Upper Bavaria – and partly in Italy. He has a grown son and is now a grandfather. Polt will spend his birthday on stage. “The Munich Kammerspiele invited us. He would “go on stage” and “do something”. (dpa/dh)