Before jan bohmermann (39) reappears, he first goes underground. In the past few days, the satirist’s social media channels on twitter, instagram and facebook temporarily went offline.
Instead, a channel with the name "realjanboehmermann" suddenly appeared on the messenger service telegram, which is interesting as a secure platform for human rights activists, whistleblowers and journalists – but also a playground for adherents of conspiracy theories.
What it’s all about? Let’s see. His new show "ZDF magazin royale" starts on friday (6. November, 11 p.M., ZDF) and replaces bohmermann’s "neo magazin royale", which for years was part of the special interest channel zdfneo. Heibt: bohmermann has actually made it into the ZDF main program. He talks to the deutsche presse-agentur about his path to "light," the new limits of his show and why the corona pandemic reminds him of his civilian service.
Question: mr. Bohmermann, you have taken your social media channels offline (note.: meanwhile they are online again). At the same time, a new channel under the name "realjanboehmermann" appeared on the messenger service telegram – a kind of refuge for people who are addicted to conspiracy payments. What is it all about?
Answer: this is my new telegram channel. I have seen the light. Follow me if you want to know what’s behind it.
Question: the last edition of your "neo magazin royale" ran in mid december 2019. Since then, the world has changed a lot, cue corona. Was it good or bad for you not to be on the air during that time??
Answer: ultimately, the whole of the last three quarters of a year has been a rough promotional phase for our broadcast launch. Now I can reveal: it was all planned long ago. At that time, we have very carefully put a virus in the world in wuhan, so that on the 6. November can say: people! Giant fake! Welcome to ZDF!
Question: don’t say that so lightly, there were times when you yourself were believed to be able to do this. But let’s put it another way: what is the difference between the old "neo magazin royale" and the new "ZDF magazin royale"??
Answer: the big difference is that we are now really following in the footsteps of gerhard lowenthal and his "ZDF-magazin". We will be an anti-communist bulwark against the decay of the federal republic! Seriously, the broadcast will be a little more focused, it will be a little shorter. We are a little stronger thematically.
Question: gerhard lowenthal said at the beginning of the "ZDF-magazin" that the program would "relentlessly" search for "damaging points in our democracy" and "fearlessly" take a stand. Is this also their claim?
Answer: in fact, i also watched lowenthal’s first broadcasts. And the claim is exactly the same. Only that we are a bit funnier.
Question: then you surely expect headwinds as well.
Answer: honestly: headwind is my second name. That is the factory setting of everything that my colleagues and I have been doing for years.
Question: but it remains an entertainment show, you are allowed to laugh, aren’t you??
Answer: absolutely! I am also nothing but an entertainer. I have only the disadvantage that I enjoyed a journalistic education many years ago.
Question: do you feel something like pressure, because now everyone expects a rough impact, because you are finally in the main program? You have often demanded this. You have to deliver now.
Answer: if my colleagues and I have done anything in the past few years, it has been to deliver. The question is always: what will be delivered? It is not up to the delivery. We will also oscillate between "slice" and "really good" with the new broadcast.
Question: you say that in the past about 100 people have worked on the show and that it will stay that way. What is the advantage for you that you are now running in the main program?? Visibility? That you can tell your grandma about it?
Answer: for my grandmothers – I have several – it is important in any case. They finally want to see their grandson on ZDF in the evening, when they have to go out again. And in fact, a lot of people watch the "heute-show" even when it’s going badly. We will follow directly after that. I’ll put it this way: on the internet, "neo magazin royale" has always done well; on television, we were somewhat bound by the limits of zdfneo. They fall away now.
Question: the preparation fell in times when personal contact should be avoided. Was that complicated?
Answer: it is a great luck that we have a job, where it is already to sit in a room and to rub funny balls back and forth. But in case of doubt you can also do it from home. In corona times, that’s a very, very rough luck. The only downside is that we actually had a show that was supposed to have an audience and a 16-piece orchestra playing, including blowers, which are considered aerosol ejectors. How it will look like in the first editions, we don’t know yet. We may have to improvise.
Question: how would you assess the mood in the country in general??
Answer: I was born in 1981 and did my civilian service. I would consider the time we are experiencing as a collective civilian service, which is expected to continue for a while. You are forced to do something that is not your normal life – but you know it will be over someday. I even think the period is about the same as my civilian service, which was 15 months. That there are highs and lows within this time is also clear.
Question: can you make jokes about corona??
Answer: of course you can make jokes about corona! You even have to. The following applies: a tragedy over a long period of time can only end in comody. And also pain is the easiest to transform into comedy. It is the fuel for everything. What else is there to do?? There is no point in getting upset. The only thing that helps is to laugh about it.
Question: there was the recent case of the singer michael wendler, who spoke out on the corona pandemic and accused tv stations of being "connected to each other. Are people in the entertainment industry more prone to conspiracy theories than others??
Answer: i can imagine that after weeks in corona isolation you can find things on telegram that can theoretically lead you away from the path. And I think that I, as an open-minded, naive show business type, am already more susceptible to it, because I am built close to madness anyway and such structures quickly pull me in. Especially if you don’t have anyone to say, "listen to me now!!". Then it happened faster than you’d like it to.
Question: you have often played with so-called fakes in your show. Saying: the pretense of truth until no one knew what was real or fiction anymore. Can this still be a means in times when conspiracy theories are rampant??
Answer: no. The subject of fake is paid off. I would never do that again.
About him: jan bohmermann is a multi-award-winning presenter and satirist (including the grimme prize). He was born in bremen, where he also learned the journalistic trade at radio bremen. He became best known for his program "neo magazin royale," whose contributions often caused rude waves. In 2016, the so-called bohmermann affair was drawn there when the host recited a poem about turkish president recep tayyip erdogan. He also chats regularly with musician olli schulz on the podcast "fest&" fluffy" on spotify.
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