Hans and Franz

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Hans and Franz. See The Katzenjammer Kids, a comic strip created by Rudolph Dirks

Hans and Franz
Saturday Night Live character
Portrayed byDana Carvey and Kevin Nealon

Hans and Franz are characters in a recurring sketch called "Pumping Up with Hans & Franz" on the television sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, played by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, respectively.


In the sketch, Carvey and Nealon play a pair of muscle-bound Austrian jocks in the mold of Arnold Schwarzenegger, using padding for fake muscles, drab gray sweatsuits, weight belts, and speaking with Austrian accents. The background of the set includes several life-sized cutouts of Schwarzenegger during his competition years. The sketch's introductory 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 appear to be, striking bodybuilder poses to show off their "muscled" bodies, complete with strained facial expressions. Schwarzenegger made one guest appearance in the sketch (to much applause) in which he ridicules "his cousins" for being "girlie" and weak.


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.[1] The first sketch in which the characters appear occurred during the season premiere of the 13th season.

Other appearances[edit]

A short sketch was filmed for the show's 1999 primetime 25th Anniversary Special which spoofed VH1's Behind the Music specials, but time constraints prevented it from airing. It appeared 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 had his buttocks "read" by Hans.

In 2014, the duo appeared in several State Farm commercials with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.[2]

Aborted projects[edit]

Starting in the early 1990s, a Hans and Franz film was in development, with the working title Hans and Franz Go to Hollywood.[3] In a 2010 interview on Conan, Nealon and host Conan O'Brien discussed being holed up in a Santa Monica hotel room for a month with Carvey and Robert Smigel working on the script for what was then intended to be a musical. Carvey discussed the script under the title Hans and Franz: The Girlyman Dilemma during a 2016 interview with Howard Stern. Schwarzenegger expressed an interest and was at one point to co-produce,[3] but ultimately declined to participate following the poor reception of his self-parodying vehicle Last Action Hero. The disastrous box office performances of the SNL spinoff movies Stuart Saves His Family and It's Pat likely hurt the film's prospects, but Schwarzenegger dropping out proved an insurmountable obstacle.[4]

Cultural references[edit]

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" (CT-1) and "Franz"(CT-2) after the cartoon duo fromThe Katzenjammer Kids popular in the mid sixties.[5]

In the popular MMO, World of Warcraft, Hans'gar and Franzok are twin brothers in the Blackrock Foundry raid. With a throwback to the Saturday Night Live characters, Franzok can be heard yelling "Hear me now and believe me later!"[6]

In the pop-culture comedy Dude, Where's My Car?, there are two blonde Germanic spacemen who act in the fashion of Hans and Franz.

In Sesame Street Season 38 Episode 5, Hansel and Gretel introduce themselves and reference the Hans and Franz tagline "We just want to pump... you up!" changed to "We just want to throw... Bread crumbs!"[7]

In the Marvel Comics story Incredible Hulk vs. Venom #1 (April 1994), the two titular characters go on a news show and taunt the villain of the story in the style of Hans and Franz, including threatening to "beat (clap) [him] up!" [8]


  1. ^ 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 14, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  2. ^ Boren, Cindy (September 4, 2014). "Aaron Rodgers stars in new State Farm ad with Hans and Franz". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ a b Fishman, Laurel (April 1993). "Nealon Update". Vegetarian Times. p. 64.
  4. ^ "For the week of 10/31/2016 to 11/04/2016". MarksFriggin.
  5. ^ "NASA Diesel-Powered Shuttle Hauler - The Crawler". Diesel Power Magazine. May 17, 2007.
  6. ^ "Franzok". Wowhead.
  7. ^ "Hansel and Gretel's Healthy Storybook Moment". Sesame Street on YouTube.
  8. ^ Incredible Hulk vs. Venom #1 (April 1994), Marvel Comics. Writer: Peter David. Artist: Jim Craig.