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"I called them whining water bodies - that's very affectionate!"

There is an almost family atmosphere in the Berlin Babylon cinema.

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"I called them whining water bodies - that's very affectionate!"

There is an almost family atmosphere in the Berlin Babylon cinema. More than two years after the forced break caused by the pandemic, Oliver Kalkofe and Peter Rütten are back on stage for the first time to show their audience a preview of the new season "SchleFaZ - The Worst Movies of All Time". The TV satirist and Harald Schmidt's former chief author have been presenting the Tele 5 format for almost ten years. Initially, the broadcaster, which was financially comparatively manageable, made a virtue out of necessity and the limited offer. Meanwhile, "SchleFaZ" attracts those film lovers who can still get something out of every cinematographic niche.

Many persuaded and often repeat offenders cavort in the cinema to see one of the films satirically commented on by Kalkofe and Rütten. A number of viewers have already prepared themselves visually for one of the works to be selected. Above all, shark costumes of all sizes and shapes pay homage to a genre that, after Steven Spielberg's "Jaws", quickly blossomed into a kind of prototype of the pulp film. This evening, the Turkish exploitation film "Karamurat - his kungfu is deadly" is on the program.

WORLD: You have been organizing “SchleFaZ” as a live event for several years. How did the idea of ​​transferring the TV format to the stage come about?

Oliver Kalkofe: In the beginning there wasn't really any big plan. We did a few events as a preview and then saw that "SchleFaZ" is a community event. It showed how cool it is when you don't just see it alone at home, but with a lot of people. And how much fun people have when they can still chat with us and take selfies. It's not a classic stage performance, but rather a group event where you can see old friends again.

Peter Rütten: It developed as logically as the status of the political talk show due to the fact that speeches are held in the Bundestag.

WORLD: How important is this direct fan contact to you?

Kalkofe: That is very important to us. We've always tried to perform at least three or four times a year. And because of Corona, it was extremely unfortunate that we couldn't do it at all in the last two years. The fans were also very disappointed.

Rütten: We suffered. We wanted to organize whole tours.

WORLD: Last year, the then Tele 5 broadcaster boss Alberto Horta stated that you want to "carefully develop" "SchleFaZ".

Kalkofe: We carefully developed it further by making "KulFaZ - The most iconic films of all time". That was a variant that was great fun and fortunately worked very well. Basically, however, we have been developing the format more than carefully since the first episode. "SchleFaZ" is a living creature - somewhere between a cuddly toy and a monster. [laughs]

WORLD: Three years ago you showed Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from outer Space" at an open-air event in Düsseldorf. At that time you emphasized on stage that it was the most expensive "SchleFaZ" so far. How much does the budget influence film selection?

Kalkofe: The budget influences everything when it comes to television. If we worked for free, or better yet, paid for it, we could air more episodes. But that goes past the basic idea of ​​working in general. But it's always about the questions: Where do we get the rights from? And what can you pay that is within reasonable limits for the station? Shark Alert Mallorca isn't cheap this year either, but I think Plan 9 from outer Space is still the most expensive. Fortunately, I don't have to lead the negotiations. We were only told back then that the fun wasn't exactly cheap.

WORLD: With "KulFaZ" you will restrict the budget even more. You won't be able to show "The Great White Shark" or "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in the foreseeable future.

Rütten: Absolutely, that's a real exclusion criterion.

Kalkofe: Unfortunately, there are a lot of natural exclusion criteria. First of all, the film should run a quarter past eight - only FSK 12 is possible. If we are going to show cult films, we naturally want to show them uncut and in the best quality. And then of course it's the case that a very large number of the cult films that you want are showing somewhere else, everyone wants them. Good films are just broadcast more often than our beautiful shitty films. But we were happy that it worked out last year with such a nice selection. And now let's see if it goes on.

WORLD: Which films would you show if you had unlimited funds?

Kalkofe: For "SchleFaZ" we would like to have "Batman

Rütten: Outside of the “KulFaZ” cosmos, which has only just opened up, we would also like to have legendary capital film crimes like “The Room” or the Zlatko strip “Mr. boogie". However, the licensors always have relatively idiosyncratic ideas.

WORLD: We live in times when the importance of linear television is decreasing. Are such live events helpful or maybe even necessary to define a media brand like "SchleFaZ"?

Rütten: Absolutely, you can sign anything. It's both necessary and helpful because nobody does it anymore. In principle, we are the last island to have learned this from scratch, when the general demand around us was decreasing. And now we stand there - lonely - holding the torch high. You can see that you can date people for life. In the community, we mostly have loyal companions from the very first SchleFaZ lesson.

Kalkofe: We've been here for ten years now. That's quite a nice time. And just like Peter said, it's a date. It's not like other shows you can watch. "SchleFaZ" is already very live because for many the fun is in watching it with people or connecting through social media. And if you haven't experienced it yet, you can get hooked at such an event. Of course, there is always a lack of understanding among people. Why should I watch a bad movie? Everyone thinks we're just showing a shitty movie. But we're putting on a really big show and an invitation to a great party. The lyrics we write are as big as two episodes of a sitcom.

Rütten: Emotionally, the penny dropped for me when we went on stage for the 100th episode in Berlin’s Tempodrom in 2019. How connected people are with us, the format and the feeling of "SchleFaz". To a certain extent, I would have always cynically dismissed that before. The whole evening ran like clockwork. And it was so familiar, intimate and warm. For me, that was the moment when I broke the distance myself.

Kalkofe: We had held live events before, which were also fun. But I was totally blown away when we came out on stage to actually just say hello. Rarely have I experienced this in such a way that I really notice how a wave of sympathy and love is coming towards me - not just simple applause. The moment will never be forgotten. It was the first time I really had to fight back tears.

WORLD: What do you think when you see the current 90s revivals like "TV total", "7 days, 7 heads" or even "RTL Saturday night"?

Kalkofe: Some shows may have been called before their time. It could have been continued and developed. But for many it is good that a shovel of sand has been thrown on them. I find it difficult when suddenly everything that you can still somehow get going with electric shocks is exhumed. The thought of how to make it more modern and at the same time remain true to the format is not so easy. In my opinion, this did not work out very well, especially with “TV total”. The template for dealing with media offers so much. But if you do it in exactly the same way with the same jokes and the same joke mechanics as back then, it seems outdated. You can do "The 100,000 Mark Show" or "Go to the Whole" one-to-one like back then, because it mainly works through the gameplay. But if you have a show that is critical of content like TV Total, then you need to update the approach and also critically move with the times.

Rütten: That's right, so I'm extremely skeptical about seeing the "RTL Saturday Night Show" again. Sure, for a while “The Harald Schmidt Show” and later “TV total” were also formats that were more or less systemically relevant. However, any revivals should only take place after a thorough examination of the current receptivity of the audience. Nevertheless, I usually bravely keep my fingers crossed for such reanimations, because I am of course more committed to a nostalgia product that used to give me a lot myself than to any new pseudo-celebrity deep-trash format.

WORLD: When did you last get excited about television?

Lime kilns: a lot from the Joko forge

WORLD: Bully recently complained that the "comedy police" had become so strict. Is he right?

Kalkofe: When I started producing "Frühstyxradio" with Dietmar Wischmeyer in the 90s, we basically had the same problems - just for different reasons. The humor police were there all the time. You always thought someone was about to come and arrest you. But it happened out of smugness. We rebelled against the philistines who accidentally heard our program on the way to church and were indignant. Today we argue with people with whom we actually share the same opinion. It is true that many things are viewed much more critically today. However, humor and satire must still move freely, choose the victims and use clear language.

Rütten: But there is a qualitative difference between this level of sensitivity and what prevailed back then. I don't want to start with black humor or the Anglo-Saxon role models like Ricky Gervais, with whom I have a lot of fun myself, but just stick with the more harmless things. In the meantime, you not only have the feeling, but also the proof that satire, as an exaggerated form of exaggeration in order to identify facts and, surprisingly, also to laugh, is only being hastily examined for its potential for discrimination. Those who do this compulsively will never get out of the trap they have set for themselves. That's why they have little to laugh about, because all they care about is what you don't laugh about. Instead of punishing the blunt bullies of the industry, they put comedy per se under general suspicion. And this reflex is so tiring that it will of course also generate a counter-movement.

WORLD: On the other hand, older comedies by Loriot, Billy Wilder or the Coen brothers can still be shown today without hesitation.

Kalkofe: I don't think so. Even if you watch films from the great masters, you will be amazed at how women, foreigners or marginalized groups are treated. You can find something in everyone. Even in the most innocuous films like Manitou's Shoe, which aren't a bit malicious, you'll find Indian and gay clichés. And especially with all the movies from the 60s, your toenails curl up when you see the way women are treated in particular.

Rütten: With the “SchleFaZ” contributions from the 1960s and 1970s, it really gives you goosebumps when it slips into the very comfortable level of sexism. We're not even talking about sex films like "Let it itch, buddy," but about the ideas of how a good agent should act. But even in nimble genre parodies like the "The Naked Gun" series, which I was so amused about in the 80s to 90s, there are many sentences that would unfortunately routinely be capable of shitstorm today.

WORLD: The amigos have recently at least implicitly called for a “comedy police force”. The Schlager duo compared the parodies from "Kalkofes Mattscheibe" to cyberbullying among schoolchildren, which takes place "under the guise of satire".

Kalkofe: We would have to talk about whether their songs should be allowed at all. The taste police should intervene.

Rütten: There is this amigos song "Broken Children's Hearts" in which they indulge in the profanation of child abuse. They are super proud of that because they touched the hot potato. It's so creepily undersized you'll want to spit because they're picking it up like that. All they're doing is pouring their Lenor-soaked song recipe for old white women on such a terribly real subject. And the fans hold up sparklers, deeply touched.

Kalkofe: When all the folk music shows were booming in the 90s, I noticed that a lot of them got so caught up in their artificial world that at some point they really believed what they were doing, and that's why their show was deadly serious have taken. Then when I scratched that artificial surface, they got angry and defended it. And that's the same with the amigos. They really like what they're putting together in Karl-Heinz's garage. And they can't laugh about it because of it. They also can't understand how someone might find that funny. Questions like 'Maybe not everyone thinks we're super cute and super sexy? Maybe not all women want to hook up with us right away? Maybe our glittering carnival costumes don't really look that great? They have no place in their heads.

Rütten: I once described it as the result of a drug test that went wrong. They react rather awkwardly to something like that. The only thing they fully enjoy is the delighted female spectators at the edge of the stage, dreamingly scratching their calves under their pants.

Kalkofe: I called them tearful water corpses - that's very affectionate!

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