“Otto total” on RTL: Otto to the cerebrum: laugh!

“Otto total” on RTL: Otto to the cerebrum: laugh!
Written by insideindyhomes

Updated on 05/22/2022 at 10:28 am

“Hollerähidi!” One word is enough and everyone between 9 and 99 knows what it’s about. Otto Waalkes’ humor has been effective for generations. Again and again. RTL dedicated an entire Saturday evening to the comedian and let him look back on the past 50 years.

A carpet, an armchair, a desk, a lacquered floor, a skyline in the background. It could be just any ordinary little late night studio. If it weren’t for three things you don’t see on typical late night shows. A yellow and red lighthouse in the skyline, a smaller one on the desk and two smooching Ottifants in front of it.

So it’s clear that RTL doesn’t want to establish a new late-night show here on a Saturday evening at 8:15 p.m. Instead, “Otto total”, the name suggests, should give Germany’s national stupid comedian a place in the program. If you take a closer look at the TV program, it even becomes a whole evening and night, because “Otto total” is followed by a whole series of other Otto shows.

Otto Waalkes presents Otto Waalkes

But it starts with “Otto total” and RTL promises the following: “‘Otto Total’ is the ultimate clip show with many highlights from Otto’s career. In his inimitable way, the iconic East Frisian leads through his best moments from the last 50 years of stage, cinema and TV presence – garnished with new short animations.”

Otto presents Otto, one could also say. Here’s how it works in practice: Waalkes sits at his late-night desk, cracks a few jokes, and goes to his laptop to take pre-arranged video calls. Because RTL thought that it would be best not to divide Otto’s career in terms of time, but rather thematically. So celebrities keep “calling” and somehow dropping a keyword for the next topic in the conversation.

For example Helge Schneider. From a humorous point of view, he actually comes from a different corner than Waalkes, but joins in the fun and asks Otto: “How old were you when you were born?” So the topic is set and with a “Let’s take a look at what a nice kid I was” Waalkes then introduces a series of clips from his career in which he can be seen in some form as a baby or toddler.

“Otto total”: “… and I live behind the dike”

It’s a similar story with the next guest, comedian Freshtorge. He asks Otto why Ostfriesland is called Ostfriesland when it is actually southwest of North Friesland. An inviting question for a few jokes and, of course, to remind of the many references to East Friesland in Waalkes’ work.

And so you can see Otto’s East Frisian telephone massage, the book of the Frisians, of course the Frisian oath and of course Waalke’s version of Sting’s “Englishman in New York”. You already know: “I’m a Friesian boy, I’m a little Friesian boy and I live behind the dyke.”

And so Waalkes moves from celebrity to celebrity and from topic to topic in his late-night studio. With his former film partner Jessika Cardinahl he gets to the subject of travel, with his colleague Willy Astor of course to the subject of Bavaria, with Henning Baum to the subject of character roles, with Lena Meyer-Landrut to the subject of cooking and so on. This is usually all a bit overly constructed, but it fits.

At least almost always. Because whether Heidi Klum did a favor with her appearance, in which she actually only presents her décolleté, is an open question. Nevertheless, it is actually a very good decision to roll up Otto’s work thematically and not chronologically, because that way you get a good overview of what has characterized the comedian for 50 years: parodies, grimaces, wordplay, body comedy, noises and always a lot Music.

Also read:

“Brain on fist: clench!”

Of course, one can argue about the quality of his jokes. For some they are old-fashioned, for others they are classics. But no matter what you decide: Sentences like “Danes don’t lie” or “Cerebrum on fist: clench!” belong to the general wealth of experience. Everyone knows Otto. His humor embraces generations and will probably continue to do so for a while. You have to do that first.

And when you’re shown on Saturday evening how Waalkes has been parodying, poking fun, rhyming, joking and fooling around for 50 years, it becomes clear: Otto’s jokes only work with Otto. Another would go down with his gags and Otto with those of others. You have to be able to do that first. Otto’s jokes have been tried and tested for 50 years, have a pattern and a unique selling point – and they work. Whether you laugh about it is up to you.

It is therefore all the more astonishing that RTL decided on “Otto total” for a show without a studio audience and with canned laughter. Amazing, but forgivable, after all, that’s the only way the format works with clips from 50 years of Otto and thus an easily digestible look back at the work of the East Frisian comedian.

Tim Mälzer, Steffen Henssler, VOX.  Duel.  deliver, cooking show, TV chefs

At the VOX cooking competition “Mälzer and Henssler deliver!” involves a bit of trickery to the concept. But what Steffen Hennsler allows himself in the current episode makes Tim Mälzer’s jaw drop: “I would be ashamed!”


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