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Creator / Marc-Uwe Kling

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Marc-Uwe Kling is the human guy, if you were confused.
I live with a kangaroo. Said kangaroo is really into Nirvana, a damned scrounger and former Vietcong.

Marc-Uwe Kling (born 1982 in Stuttgart) is a German author, comedian, satirist and songwriter from Berlin. Most of his early work was in poetry slam and with the punk band Die Gesellschaft note , but he is most famous for his radio broadcast and subsequent books about his life with his roommate, a communist kangaroo. Four of them have been published:

  • Die Känguru-Chroniken note 
  • Das Känguru-Manifest note 
  • Die Känguru-Offenbarung note 
  • Die Känguru-Apokryphen note 

While a lot of Kling's comedy is based on mundane everyday annoyances, his work is rarely unpolitical. He frequently criticizes right-wing politics (specifically the German far-right populist party Alternative für Deutschland or Donald Trump), capitalism, the police, authoritarianism and bureaucracy, makes fun of social conservatives and their ideas, but also pokes fun at the left. In Germany, Die Känguru-Chroniken are basically considered required reading for anyone on the political left.

In 2017, his comedic cyberpunk dystopian novel Qualityland was published. It tackles and criticizes subjects such as consumerism, capitalism, politics, populism and social relationships in the age of social media, features in-universe advertisements and news articles inbetween chapters, and exists in two available versions - One in light grey for optimists, one in dark gray for pessimists.note 

A movie based loosely on the "Plot" of the Kangaroo novels (which are to a large extent episodic) was released in 2020 to mixed reviews and with a box office performance hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic closing cinemas shortly after release. Despite featuring an obvious Sequel Hook in the Post-Credits Scene, it is not clear whether a subsequent movie will be made.

Marc-Uwe Kling's works include examples of the following tropes:

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    The "Känguru"-Series 
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Kangaroo acts stereotypically male, but it has a pouch, which would mean it's female. This is discussed and not answered, since the Kangaroo keeps dodging the question and Herta divides her toilets not in males and females, but Easterners and Westerners. Which of those two the Kangaroo is not revealed either.
  • The Bartender: Herta, a grumpy lady with a local pub.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Funny and not funny. Developed by the Kangaroo and Marc-Uwe, it was adopted by the entire Anti-Social Network.
    • The Ministry of Productivity uses productive and unproductive on foreigners, and after it was successfully beta-tested (so to say) for everyone else.
  • Borrowed Without Permission: The Modus Operandi of the Kangaroo. This habit is Played for Laughs and goes from the Kangaroo "borrowing" Marc-Uwe's possessions and restaurant ashtrays in the first book to a minor plot point in the third one when they can successfully disguise themselves as penguins because the Kangaroo "borrowed" nun habits while visiting a monastery many chapters ago.
  • Butt-Monkey: Krapotke, a young man on military duty.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Messiah. Given his name, it was discussed and made fun of.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Heard whenever Kling is having problems with technical equipment.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kling's delivery is always deadpan and both he and the kangaroo are snarky.
  • Downer Ending: The second book ends with the Kangaroo being deported.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Since it doesn't accept that left yields to right, the Kangaroo never made a driving license. That doesn't keep it from driving.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Surprisingly, not the actual barkeep (her name is Herta), but the Kangaroo.
  • First-Name Basis: Very few people are mentioned by their full names... except Krapotke.
  • Funny Animal: Apparently all Kangaroos and Penguins, implied with Koalas, Bears, Giraffes and Iguanas.
  • Funny Foreigner: Friedrich-Wilhelm and Otto von, two Turkish immigrants, get introduced as such.
  • German Humour: Not a household name of the scene, though.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Literally everywhere, and occasionally lampshaded.
  • In the Style of: Some chapters adopt the style of classic books like the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Franz Kafka. One of Kling's slam texts (Dienstag vielleicht note ) was written in the style of Loriot.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The Kangaroo likes to borrow stuff.
  • Last-Name Basis: Krapokte's first name is never mentioned.
    • In a letter he receives at the end of the third book we find out it's Axel
  • Magnum Opus: The Kangaroo's unreleased work "Opportunism and Repression", which are often quoted. And the "Kangaroo tetralogy" by Marc-Uwe, which are released in universe as well and makes him somewhat famous.
  • Metafictional Title: The chronicles, the manifesto and the revelation are all texts that Marc-Uwe writes within the stories. The actual books and the broadcast also exist inside the later stories.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Krapotke. Especially by the Kangaroo.
  • No Fourth Wall: Especially when Kling is reading his stories live.
  • No Name Given: Most people, but most importantly the Kangaroo.
  • Not His Sled: A few of the chapters in the books end differently from the broadcasts on which they are based.
  • Secret Diary: One story involves the Kangaroo getting up to some mischief and writing a confession in a diary only started for this purpose, then letting it lie around openly on purpose. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Sequel Escalation: While the first book takes place mostly in Berlin, with Marc-Uwe Kling and the Kangaroo just bumming around for the most part; the second book has them stand up against a Nazi party and takes them outside Berlin at times. The third book takes place in Berlin, the United States, Vietnam, Australia, Toronto, Venezuela, Patmos and other places and features a worldwide conspiracy.
  • Signature Style: When he's not doing a pastiche, he writes in first person and present tense.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: The Kangaroo and the Penguin before things get serious.
  • The Stoner: Have a wild guess who.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Former judge Jörg Dwigs, his 'National conservative party for safety and responsibility and his banker twin brother Jörn, who is bankrolling his party until they have a fallout and Jörn founds his own right-wing party.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Liquor chocolate and vodka for the Kangaroo.
  • Troll: Kling likes to troll a bit both in his stories and in real life interviews. The Kangaroo has trolling as its modus operandi.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No one seems to mind that there is a fully sentient Kangaroo and Penguin roaming the streets of Berlin and doing more or less mundane human stuff. No one, expect the Psychiatrist, that is, which raises other questions.

Imagine 1984 but more futuristic, and also funny.
  • Canon Welding: The Old Man is heavily implied to be Marc-Uwe from the Kangaroo novels
  • Crapsack World: Qualityland is an extremely technologically advanced Mega City and practically a surveillance state ruled by the bosses of the biggest monopolies.
  • Funny Robot: The defect robots Peter keeps in his basement. There's Carrie, a drone who's scared to fly, a sex robot named Romeo who's fallen in love, a Qualitypad named Pink who's been messed with by an amateur hacker and has since adapted the personality of a certain leftist kangaroo, a combat robot with PTSD, and Kalliope, an automatic poet with writer's block.
  • Do Androids Dream?: Romeo certainly does, as he's in love with TV hostess Julia Nonne. It's the reason he's been sent off to be scrapped.
  • Doublethink:
    • Henryk Ingenieur's explanation as to why he won't let Peter return his dolphin vibrator. Acknowledging that a customer was sent a wrong product would mean acknowledging that there's a fault in the code that the systems of Qualityland operate under. So he simply decides that there is no fault in the code, and that Peter wasn't sent a wrong product. He is perfectly aware of his own cognitive dissonance.
    • The death of the current elderly president. In the beginning of the book, doctors calculated that she only has 64 days left to live, so a new president is to be elected and announced on her exact death day. The calculations are off. She cannot face that fact and instead begs a nurse to turn off her life support, which he does not, but he hands her over the control so she can do it herself.
  • Hidden Depths: Peter actually loves machines and wanted to become a machine therapist. It's just too bad that just before he could finish his tution the "Replace, don't repair!" rule got introduced, which didn't just waste years of his life, but also threw him into an identity crisis, depression and avolition. To add insult to injury, the machine loving Peter was forced to become a machine scrapper to avoid joblessness, simply because the job had "something to do with machines". Weirdly enough this is also quite a literal example, since Peter hides his robot buddies within the hidden depths of his house. Neither Kalliope nor Kiki expected this from him, when they first saw it.
  • Humiliation Conga: Martyn has an epic one in 2.0
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: And a damn stupid one at that. In fact, the entire plot of the book can be summed up to Peter Arbeitsloser being delivered a dolphin vibrator by The Shop — an Amazon-esque delivery service that sends you stuff based on highly personalized algorithms that analyze your actions, moods and thoughts — when he obviously has no use for it, and him trying to return it. Turns out he's gotta go all the way to the top and face Henryk Ingenieur, the chief executive officer of The Shop and the most powerful man in Qualityland, and not even he is willing to take back this product as admitting that something was wrongly sent to a customer would mean that the algorithm all of Qualityland's systems operate under is flawed.
    • It gets even dumber. The reason he was miscategorised in the first place was when he spotted a celebrity taking a glance in front of a sex shop window. Photographing her was in vain, since she had anti-paparazzi measurements installed, which prevents photographs from taking pictures of her, so Peter thought, he could outwit the measurements, by pretending that he is actually taking a selfie of himself and that celebrity just so happens to be in the picture. This of course was fruitless, the celebrity was removed from the photo so the object the celebrity was looking at took a central position instead: a pink vibrator in form of a dolphin.
  • Just a Machine: People's main argument against electoral candidate John Of Us, who's an android.
  • La RÚsistance: A revolutionary terrorists group named Vorderste Widerstandsfront gegen die Herrschaft der Maschinennote , mostly pejoratively and colloquially called "Maschinenstürmer"note . They're mostly present in structurally weaker regions, trying to fight back against automation and the resulting loss of jobs for humans by destroying the machines in factories. One of them ends up almost killing Peter in an attempt to blow up John Of Us after he's become president.
    • Pink is working towards this
  • Playful Hacker: The Old Man, Kiki Unknown flipflops between this and The Cracker. Lucia Clickworker from 2.0 counts as well.
  • Reboot Snark: In the setting, the film industry produces basically only sequels (Star Wars: Episode 16), Product Placement films (The Coca-Cola movie), adaptations (Sokoban: The Movie) or remakes, with VR being a particular trend. A character mentions having nausea during the giant eagle flying sequences during the VR remake of The Lord of the Rings.
  • Robot Buddy:
    • Peter's squad of defected robots are explicitly part of the plot, one of them being Romeo - a sexbot.
    • There is also the Personal Digital Friend (P.D.F.) system, made by the company "What-I-Need".
  • Signed with a Kiss: There's a feature named "Touch Kiss" for all kinds of touchscreen devices to pay bills and confirm contracts by kissing them. The official reason for its existence is that lips are more secure than fingerprints; however, a character theorizes that the previously used fingerprint data has been hacked, thereby requiring other biometrics.
  • Socially Scored Society: Citizens are ranked by level between 1 and 100 based on their personal and professional accomplishments, and the higher your level, the more social privileges you enjoy. Though not an official governement project (it's operated by a private company that started out as an online dating platform), it's influential enough that Peter's friends all unfriend him once he becomes a Useless (a someone with a single-digit level).
  • Those Wacky Nazis: A very unpleasant example - Peter and his girlfriend at the time go to see a musical named Hitler! Da Musical. Die Geschichte von Ado and Eva.note  Clearly, neither of them have any clue as to who these historical figures are, and accept the highly dramatized and romanticized portrayal of them without question.
  • Unfortunate Names: In Qualityland, your last name corresponds to the job your mother/father (depending on your gender) had at the time you were born. This leads to people having names like Peter Arbeitslosernote , Melissa Sexarbeiterinnote  or Toni Müllentsorgernote  and effectively makes names like Müller, Bauer or Fischernote , last names that are usually super common in Germany, rare.
    • Qualityland's most famous TV host is named Julia Nonnenote . It is very briefly mentioned that her birth was a major scandal.
  • Those Two Guys: 2.0 introduces us to two pairs of these
    • The Cyclops uses two henchmen named Ernst and Bertram.
    • Henryk Engineer go to bodyguards to pick up Peter are Tom and Jerry. Actually their names are Tim and Jimmy, Henryk misheard and mispronounced their names on their first day of work and they never dared to correct him since (and doing it now would be awkward).
  • Useless Protagonist: Peter is a scrap merchant in an economy that follow the principle "Replace, don't repair!" He barely makes a living, has an extremely low level, no hobbies, special talents or interests, is in bad physical shape and generally seen as a loser, and initially feels no need to revolt against the opressive system of Qualityland.