“Comedy police got strict”
“Bully” Herbig Wouldn’t Make Winnetou Parody Like That Anymore
09/05/2022, 11:13 AM (updated)
Comedian Michael Herbig thinks it’s right that some things aren’t talked about like they were 20 years ago. Today he questions his parody “The Shoe of Manitou”. However, the justification does not sound very convincing. He is still looking for answers in the current debate.
Comedian, actor and director Michael Herbig wouldn’t make the Karl May film parody “Der Schuh des Manitou” like that anymore today. “I made the film 22 years ago and it was a parody of films that were in cinemas 60 years ago,” said the comedian, often referred to as “Bully” Herbig, on the Radio Bremen talk show “3 nach 9” . di Lorenzo. It had to do with passion, the pleasure of playing and the realization of dreams. He wouldn’t act like that today, Herbig said.
Why? “The comedy police have become so strict.” That takes away some of the innocence and freedom, said the comedian, who as a director will bring to the cinema “A Thousand Lines” with Elyas M’Barek and Jonas Nay at the end of September, a cinematic approach to the scandal surrounding the ” Spiegel” reporter Claas Relotius, who is here called Lars Bogenius. Herbig said he thinks it’s right that people don’t talk about certain things like they did 20 years ago. There are a lot of loud voices these days and everyone is “dissatisfied with the overall situation”; he still doesn’t have an answer for himself, Herbig says.
He was asked about the current debate on cultural appropriation and racism. This came about after Ravensburger publishers announced in mid-August that they would discontinue and remove two children’s books for the film of the same name “The Young Chief Winnetou”. In an Instagram post, Ravensburger wrote that user feedback shows that “we hurt the feelings of others with the Winnetou titles”. A number of users of the social media platform accused the company of giving in to criticism. On the other hand, there was also support for the decision.
Comedies are more difficult these days
Herbig became popular in the 1990s with the comedy show “Bullyparade”. The film “Der Schuh des Manitou” is about the two blood brothers Abahachi (Herbig) and Ranger (Christian Tramitz) who are falsely accused of murder. The images of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand speak Bavarian and are looking for a treasure map, crime boss Santa Maria (Sky du Mont) is on their tail. The film also stars gay Abahachi twin brother Winnetouch, who runs a beauty farm on the “Powder Pink Ranch”. Many love the comedy, which has had millions of movie viewers, for others it is just a cloak. The gay cliché in it has often been criticized.
Herbig said on “3 After 9” that shooting a comedy is much harder these days: “Because you feel like you’re stepping on people’s toes very quickly.” If someone throws the “You hurt my feelings” argument at you, you can’t say “That’s not true at all”. He believes there will soon be fewer people doing comedy because many think “that’s too hot for me”.
Herbig also said it gets very complicated when a group seen in the film is divided into camps. Then there are those who say: “I think it’s funny, I recognize myself there, I feel caught, I can laugh about it” and others who say: “I feel discriminated against or I feel insulted, hurt”. Herbig: “Then I’m out, then I don’t know who to listen to anymore.”
(This article was first published on Saturday, September 3, 2022.)