“We are sex offenders”
Gerhard Polt doesn’t know what humor is
05/07/2022 3:43 p.m
He knows how to subtly turn the innermost part of people outwards. And has been for several decades – just as lovable as with biting Bavarian irony. Gerhard Polt is now celebrating his 80th birthday.
What humor is – Gerhard Polt should know that. For almost half a century he 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. Gerhard Polt observes the human abyss very sharply and gets to the heart of it with innocent malice.
But when asked what exactly humor is, he only says: “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask someone else.” Of course not. On Saturday (May 7th) the cabaret artist, filmmaker, author and winner of dozens of awards will be 80 years old.
Reached retirement age, quitting is 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 loves the “small space”
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”. .
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.
“Almost like in real life”
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” – 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.
Polt is unpredictable
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.
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.
birthday on stage
Back to the question of humor. Of course he deals with it. For four years they have been trying to establish a “Humour Forum” to promote the topic. The ability to irony is one of the weakest characteristics in humans. Humor can be a “glue to society” – “if it’s 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.”
Polt will spend his birthday on stage. “The Munich Kammerspiele invited us. He would “go on stage” and “do something”.