I got a lot of great feedback from my post on comedy in Germany. So this week I thought I would share my favourite German Comedians with you.
First, a question.
Why are you so obsessed with comedy?
“If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry” – you’ve heard this saying before, right?
Humour is a form of psychological processing. It’s a coping mechanism we use, a “response to conflict and confusion in our brain”. A way of working through all these difficult subjects or feelings. It’s why you’ve probably laughed at something deeply tragic before. I have.
Humour and funny things are what I turn to most when the world is simultaneously in flames and drowning. When there’s a global financial crisis and I realise my generation and those younger than me have been royally screwed over (thanks parents). Or when a global pandemic strikes and I can’t see my family or friends for two years. 🙃🙃
Comedy has saved my life more times than I care to remember. And I’m not being dramatic. My parents had a very messy divorce in 2006. I was 13. The next few years saw me throw myself into a downwards spiral, ending in self-harm.
My ability to use comedy and humour to reframe the negativity in my life is a huge part of why I still breathe today. Some call it a defense mechanism. I call it survival.
When I was 15, I got my first job as a kitchen porter in a local pub. This is important, because my love of comedy grew from this job. When I got home from a long shift, exhausted and smelling of deep fat fryer oil, my house was still and quiet. Often too quiet, given the bad thoughts in my head.
I needed noise. The TV went on and there they were. The three comedy shows I first discovered and loved. Mock the Week, Russell Howard’s Good News and Live at the Apollo. I would then spend hours searching YouTube for more comedy sets from the respective comedians.
These shows, particularly Mock the Week, became my primary news source for a long time. Comedy is how I became politically, culturally and socially aware of the world around me.
According to John Fugelsang (and I’m inclined to agree with him), the best comedians are our most effective anthropologists and cultural critics.
Fake it till you make it
Furthermore, having a sense of humour is a fantastic way to destress and calm down. Have you ever felt worse off after having a good giggle?
Believe it or not, there are even scientific studies that claim forced smiles and laughter can have an effect on your mood and potentially your wellbeing.
Now, this is absolutely not me giving the okay for random men to shout “SMILE LOVE, IT MIGHT NEVER HAPPEN” out of their van or from their scaffolding. Because it’s 2021, and we’re done with that shit. Aren’t we, men? AREN’T WE?
But, while you’re sitting at home alone, try cracking a smile. Oftentimes it leads to a genuine one.
Comedy and humour makes us feel good. That’s the bottom line. It won’t cure depression. It’s not a miracle drug.
But it has certainly been a HUGE tool in my recovery. Because the truth is that if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.
My favourite German Comedians:
A lot of the films/series etc. have English subtitles available. Great if you’re still getting to grips with the language, or if you don’t speak a word but have an open mind to foreign language tv.
Hazel Brugger – Tropical (on Netflix, with English subtitles)
The first German comedian I came across, thanks to her excellent YouTube channel and series “Deutschland Was Geht?”
Erika Ratcliffe (auto-generated English subtitles)
I discovered Erika while researching for my previous post on Comedy in Germany. I am SO GLAD I did because she might be my favourite German-speaking comedian yet.
Felix Lobrecht – Hype (English subtitles available) & Kenn Ick (German only)
He’s arguably the most well-known German comedian, with podcasts, YouTube channels and radio hosting gigs all under his belt.
Tamika Campbell (auto-generated English subtitles):
My German teacher, Stella Fontana told me about Tamika. She’s from New York, but speaks fluent German (and I guess lives in Germany also?) and speaks openly about how shite the language can be along with funny anecdotes about being in Germany.
Enissa Amani, Ilka Bessin, Kaya Yanar
Comedians of the World on Netflix is one of the best series released on the platform imo.
Collection 1 features three excellent German comedians, all with English subtitles available. I also emplore you to check out the other collections because god damn there is some funny shit out there (looking directly at one of my new favourite comedians, Loyiso Gola!).