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Barwasser grew up in Würzburg, Lower Franconia, Bavaria. After working for the local newspaper, Main-Post, he studied political science, history and ethnology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the University of Salamanca. From 1985, he began his career on stage as a satirist. In 1993, he invented the character of Erwin Pelzig, which has been his most popular character ever since.