"Life without a pug is possible but pointless."
Victor "Vicco" von Bülow (aka Loriot
) was a German humorist, caricaturist, director and actor. His importance for the German Humor
could be compared to Rowan Atkinson
's or Monty Python
's for the British.
Though he has directed and starred in two movies (Ödipussy
in 1988 and Pappa ante Portas
in 1991), Loriot is better known for his little sketches - mainly parodying the German everyday life - and his potato-nosed cartoon characters, who seldom change their dull expressions.
And if we say "Germany", we mean The Bonn Republic
He passed away on August the 22nd, 2011.
Loriot's work provides examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: Herr Oldenberg from a TV discussion (in-sketch). The other talking heads manage to get his name wrong each time, and never call him by the same wrong name twice. At one point, he's so confused he forgets his own name.
- Ambiguous Gender: In "Weihnachten bei Hoppenstedts" / "Christmas at the Hoppenstedt's", the gender of "Dicki" Hoppenstedt is purposefully left in the dark (the actor was a girl, though).
- Anti-Christmas Song:
- The poem "Advent", which tells us the grisly tale of a forest warden being murdered by his wife on St Nicholas' Day.
- And then there is the very short "Christmas" poem by Dicki Hoppenstedt:
"Zicke, zacke, Hühnerkacke!" ("Zip, zap, chicken crap!")
- Art Shift: Some of the sketches of his TV show were in live action, others animated in his drawing style.
- Bathtub Bonding: The animated sketch "Die Herren im Bad" ("The Gentlemen in the Bathtub"). The conversation between Dr. Klöbner and Mr. Müller-Lüdenscheidt, while relatively well-mannered, is more bickering rather than bonding, though.
- Bolero Effect: The background music in the "Das Bild hängt schief" ("The picture is crooked") sketch.
- Catch Phrase: Ach?! or Ach was?! (Oh, really?)
- The Comically Serious: Loriot in most of his roles is a pretty good example, though one could argue that this also applies to his co-actors. Without the seriousness their characters display in almost everything they do, it wouldn't be as much fun to watch them.
- Cringe Comedy: Pretty much the source for every single joke in all of his works. Though in a light hearted way.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Disaster Dominoes: The sketch "Das Schiefe Bild" ("The Askew Picture") starts with Loriot trying to straighten a picture hanging askew, and ends in the destruction of every item of furniture in the room.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Parodied — in the sketch "Filmspektrum - Besprechung eines Heiteren Films" ("Film Panoply - Review of a Merry Movie"), two film critics get into a heated argument about a silent movie slapstick clip that is just 4 seconds long.note One of them sees the "movie" as one of the greatest examples of cinematography and artistic quality, while the other one regards it as a socialist allegory about the population revolting against the exploitation by the ruling class.
- German Humour
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: For a show that focuses mostly on the conservative middle-class in 70's Germany, there's a lot of innuendo.
Interviewer: Your jokes never turned sexual...
Loriot: Then you didn't pay enough attention.
- For example the "Es saugt und bläst der Heinzelmann wo Mutti sonst nur saugen kann."
- Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: Would you remove the mask for us? - Which mask?
- Mad Doctor / Mad Scientist: Appears in one sketch. Has invented a medicine that shrinks people down to 0.002 millimeters. He suggests using it to fight overpopulation - but for a start, only with volunteers.
- Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: A common topic, at one point coining the quote: "Männer und Frauen passen einfach nicht zueinander!" (Men and women simply don't fit together!)
- Meaningful Name: "Loriot" is the French name for the oriole. The oriole is his family's coat of arms' mascot, and in fact "Bülow" is an old name for oriole.
- Mood Dissonance: Basically the underlying concept for most of his later works. The speech of the characters is almost never appropriate to the situation. But especially prominent in the "Christmas Poem", in which a kind elderly gentleman recites a Christmas poem that Tastes Like Diabetes, but tells a lurid story about murder and cannibalism.
- My Little Panzer: In his classic sketch "Weihnachten bei Hoppenstedts" ("Christmas at the Hoppenstedt's"), Grandfather Hoppenstedt buys for his grandchildnote a model nuclear power plant. It makes "poof!" if you did a mistake while assembling it.
- Naked People Are Funny: The animated sketch "Die Herren im Bad" ("The Gentlemen in the Bathtub").
- One Scene, Two Monologues: When they have to kill some time before the real interview can start, because of technical difficulties.
Interviewer: My wife is a Capricorn.
Professor: I own a longhaired dachshund.
- Pen Name: It's French for oriole. (A specific kind of bird, part of his family's coat of arms.)
- Popcultural Osmosis Failure: In Pappa ante portas.
Heinrich Lohse: Whom do you admire? Who do you think is swell?
Heinrich Lohse: Michael Jackson... [thinks] He was boxing world champion in cruiser weight, but then Eddie Ahlersmeier beat him clearly on points... [hesitates] That was in 1952. [smiles] Strange enough, I always remember these things. [after a short break] I am just wondering, how does a retired boxer make a living?
Dieter Lohse: Michael Jackson will give a concert next Wednesday at the Congressional Hall.
Heinrich Lohse: Oh really?
- Porky Pig Pronunciation: A newsreader in her attempt to summarize the first part of a British mini series - which hasn't much of a plot, but makes up for it with long and complicated names - gets tangled up in the difference between German and British pronunciation. Schlipth.
- Production Posse: Actress Evelyn Hamann was the female lead in virtually all of Loriot's films and sketches.
- Romance-Inducing Smudge: Averted in a famous sketch in which Loriot tries to declare his love to a woman in an Italian restaurant, but happens to have a piece of noodle in his face. When she points it out, he removes it, but the next time he uses the napkin, the noodle returns to his face. Hilarity Ensues as the noodle moves around. No, he doesn't get the girl.
- Telephone Teleport: This cartoon◊. (The original which we can't find had the caption: "One can't condemn Herr Meier for using the telephone very rarely after this incident.")
- Thoroughly Mistaken Identity:
- In Pappa ante portas.
Heinrich Lohse: Hey, my honey? Come on, put your glasses on, it's me, Heinrich, Heinrich Lohse. I see, you got a little extra weight, but it looks good on you. Is your husband here too?
Käthe "Lisbeth Prenzler": I'm not married.
Heinrich Lohse: Sure you are. We have visited you in Hamburg back then.
Käthe "Lisbeth Prenzler": I live in Würzburg, for 36 years.
Heinrich Lohse: No, your son had studied in Hamburg and lived with you.
Käthe "Lisbeth Prenzler": I don't have a son.
Heinrich Lohse: Sure, you have. Lisbeth!
Käthe "Lisbeth Prenzler": My name is Käthe.
Heinrich Lohse: Oh. [leaves the table] Käthe!
- Another one in a TV sketch:
Interviewer (thinks he’s talking to an astronaut): What is the greatest distance from the Earth you have ever worked at?
Interviewee (actually a low-level bureaucrat): We are now working on the fourth floor.
Interviewer: And were you ever afraid that you might not come back from up there?