Hans and Franz

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Hans and Franz
Saturday Night Live character
Portrayed by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon
Gender Male
Nationality Austrian

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.

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 or so in the early nineties with Carvey and Robert Smigel, working on a script for a Hans and Franz film, intended to be a musical. Carvey discussed the script during a 2016 interview with Howard Stern, which was to be called Hans and Franz: The Girlyman Dilemma. Schwarzenegger, a fan of the characters, was written into the film and expressed an interest in the script, but ultimately declined to participate following the poor reception of his self-parodying vehicle Last Action Hero. While the disastrous box office performances of the SNL spinoff movies Stuart Saves His Family and It's Pat likely hurt the film's prospects for being green-lit, Carvey said they could've rewritten it to be shot with a lower budget and still gotten it produced; however, Schwarzenegger's dropping out proved to be an insurmountable obstacle in getting the movie made.[1]

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.[2]

Cultural references[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] The Volkswagen Southtowne dealership in Sandy, Utah also utilized their own versions of the characters in various radio advertisements, notably referencing "pump you up!"

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.[3]

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!"[4]

In the first-person shooter Borderlands, there are two mini-bosses named Hans and Franz. They are the two bodyguards of Baron Flynt.


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


  1. ^ "For the week of 10/31/2016 to 11/04/2016". MarksFriggin. 
  2. ^ Boren, Cindy (September 4, 2014). "Aaron Rodgers stars in new State Farm ad with Hans and Franz". The Washington Post. 
  3. ^ Sands, Jason (May 2007). "NASA's Diesel-Powered Shuttle Movers". Diesel Power. 
  4. ^ "Franzok". Wowhead. 
  5. ^ 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.