Hans and Franz
Hans and Franz were characters in a recurring sketch called "Pumping Up with Hans & Franz" on the television sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Hans and Franz themselves were played by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, respectively.
In the sketch, Carvey and Nealon play a pair of muscle-bound Austrian jocks who mimicked/spoofed Arnold Schwarzenegger by using padding for fake muscles, drab gray sweatsuits, weight belts, and Austrian accents. The background of the set includes several life-sized cutouts of Schwarzenegger during his competition years and the sketch's introduction music featured mock Austrian "yodeling".
"Pumping Up" primarily consists of Hans and Franz denigrating others for not being strong and as physically "fit" as they were, and then striking bodybuilder poses to show off their "muscled" bodies, complete with strained facial expressions. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself makes a guest appearance on the sketch (to much applause) and ridicules "his cousins" for being girlie and weak.
A movie was in the works for a short time, entitled Hans and Franz go to Hollywood but was scrapped once producers saw poor box office performances from such SNL sketch-inspired movies as Stuart Saves His Family and It's Pat.
In late 2010, on the Conan program, Conan O'Brien and Nealon discussed how they were holed up in a Santa Monica hotel room for a month or so in the early nineties with Carvey and Robert Smigel, working on a script for the movie (which was to be a musical).
A short sketch spoofing VH1's Behind the Music specials was filmed for the show's 1999 primetime 25th Anniversary Special, but time constraints prevented it from airing. It went on to appear in a later episode that season. In the sketch, Hans and Franz tell the story of how they were reunited in Hollywood when Franz unsuspectingly has his buttocks "read" by Hans. In 2014, the duo appeared in several State Farm commercials with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
This sketch was one of the most popular on SNL, and the characters and their catchphrases entered American pop culture. When Schwarzenegger entered politics, he referred to the sketches himself, using the phrases "girlie men" and "pump you up." He even used the "girlie men" term during the 1988 Presidential election. Accompanying then Vice President George H.W. Bush, he attacked Bush's Democratic opponents by saying to the crowd: “They all look like a bunch of girlie men, right?" He used the phrase again to attack California state legislators in speeches during his election campaign for governor of California.
Hans and Franz are featured in several State Farm commercials along with Aaron Rodgers in 2014. These commercials are probably a follow-up to another series of State Farm commercials which also starred Aaron Rodgers and co-starred Bill Swerski's Superfans, also SNL characters.
NASA's two crawler-transporters—large diesel-powered transport devices used since 1965 to carry heavy launch loads to the launch site, including fully assembled spacecraft from the Apollo, Skylab, and Shuttle eras—are also nicknamed "Hans" and "Franz" after the duo.
The idea for the characters of Hans and Franz came in 1987 in a Des Moines, Iowa hotel room while Nealon was watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger television interview during Nealon's and Carvey's first comedy tour. The first sketch in which the characters appear occurred during the season premiere of the 13th season.
- www.washingtonpost.com-Aaron Rodgers stars in new State Farm ad with Hans and Franz
- Sands, Jason (May 2007). "NASA's Diesel-Powered Shuttle Movers". Diesel Power.
- Lawler, Joe (July 25, 2013). "Think Hans & Franz were born in Austria? Try Des Moines". Juice Magazine (Des Moines Register and Tribune Company) 8 (32): 23. Archived from the original on August 13, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.