Political comedy in Germany

In Germany political comedy shows are becoming increasingly more popular. Most dominant is “Heute Show” of the German public-service television broadcaster ZDF with around 3 million viewers. It is a conceptual adaption of the US-American “The Daily Show” with John Stewart and reports weekly about national and international politics. Other German satire programs are more in the tradition of classical German cabaret, with several artists and musicians. Unique in its radically critical approach is “Die Anstalt” – also broadcasted by ZDF – which frequently shocks the audience with in-depth analysis of political and economic shortfalls. Usually limited to a fringe group is the “New Magazine Royale”, which made headlines in March 2016 when anchorman Jan Böhmermann insulted the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a satirical poem.

Especially to a young audience political comedy shows prove to be easier understandable than the traditional media. However, traditional news channels continue to play a much more important role.

Journalists often criticize these satirical shows and accuse them of promoting political disenchantment as well as encouraging the rise of right-wing parties like the AFD (Alternative for Germany). Since satire usually comprises simplification and politicians seldom cut a good figure, the audience could be deprived of a well-balanced news report. Nevertheless, a widely recognized study has found out that these accusations were not proven by a close-up analysis of prominent German comedy shows. The shows themselves emphasize the journalist value of their work and encourage political discussion in social media.

by Schirin H.

Sources:

https://detektor.fm/wissen/forschungsquartett-politische- satire-deutschland

https://www.welt.de/kultur/article160311299/Politische-Satire- im-Fernsehen- auf-dem-Vormarsch.html

https://www.otto-brenner- stiftung.de/wissenschaftsportal/informationsseiten-zu-studien/studien-2016/quatsch-oder- aufklaerung/