Jan Böhmermann

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Jan Böhmermann
Jan Böhmermann ROMY 2018 a (cropped).jpg
Böhmermann in 2018
Born (1981-02-23) 23 February 1981 (age 39)
Bremen, West Germany
MediumTelevision, radio, Internet
Years active1999–present
GenresLate-night talk show, comedy, satire, musical comedy, parody
SignatureJan Böhmermann signature.svg

Jan Böhmermann (German pronunciation: [jan ˈbøːmɐˌman]) (born 23 February 1981) is a German satirist, podcast, and television host. He also worked as a writer, producer, radio host, and is best-known for his activism through publicity stunts.

Early life and education[edit]

Böhmermann was born and raised in Bremen. He enrolled to study history, sociology and theatre in Cologne, but dropped out before long. Previously, Böhmermann had applied to drama schools in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich; he was rejected by all three. He was accepted at a fourth drama school in Hannover, but did not enroll.[1]

In 1997, Böhmermann was hired as a columnist at the Bremen daily newspaper Die Norddeutsche. He joined Radio Bremen as a presenter in 1999, where he also had a stint as a comedy writer.

In 2015, he became known internationally for the satirical music video V for Varoufakis about the Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. The clip is from Böhmermann's late-night show Neo Magazin Royale.[2] His satirical rap song "Ich hab Polizei" peaked at #10 in the German charts. However, the song also caused considerable controversy: Journalists and rappers accused him of mocking lower-class people and also condoning police violence.

In 2016 he and Olli Schulz hosted a talk show called Schulz & Böhmermann, which is based on a former show Böhmermann co-hosted with Charlotte Roche in 2012.


Böhmermann in Rostock, 2014

"V for Varoufakis" video[edit]

In February 2015, Böhmermann's late-night show Neo Magazin Royale created the song and music video "V for Varoufakis". The title references V for Vendetta, which introduced the Guy Fawkes mask as a symbol of rebellion. In addition to poking fun at Germans generally, the video explored the German fascination with Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who is regarded as articulate, physically attractive and having a stylish, if unconventional fashion sense, while also portraying Greece's dependence on German money during the Greek government-debt crisis. Unlike most content on the ZDF program Neo Magazin Royale, the song is in English and not in German.

The conclusion of the video shows an actual clip of Varoufakis in which he says "and stick the finger to Germany, and say 'well, you can now solve this problem for yourself'. Right?" The clip shows Varoufakis giving the finger, a gesture called "Stinkefinger" in German. This clip had been taken out of context: Varoufakis had used a rhetorical example of what not to do. After TV host Günther Jauch confronted Varoufakis with the video clip in an interview (still out of context), German news media made the issue of Varoufakis giving Germany the finger into a minor scandal.[3] The New York Times ran an article with the title "German Media Want Greek Finance Minister’s Head Over ‘Fingergate’".[4] Varoufakis himself briefly claimed that the video must have been doctored.[3] NZZ am Sonntag called for Günther Jauch to be fired for bad journalism.[5]

In response to the claims of the middle finger being either fake or real, Böhmermann's Neo Magazine Royale created a false version of the video clip labelled #varoufake, which claimed to show that Varoufakis had not given the finger, and that the clip Neo Magazine Royale had used in "V for Varoufakis" was indeed a fabrication.[6] At 8:10 in the video, Böhmermann says the following:

Dear editorial staff of Günther Jauch, Yanis Varoufakis is wrong, you did not falsify the footage. You simply took it out of context and gave him the runaround, so that the average German could pursue their passion for being angered. "Foreigner. Out of Europe you go!" "He's poor and takes our money. That's just not possible! We are the bosses in here!" That's what you did. The rest is our effort.

This passage of the #varoufake video caused confusion, BBC interpreted it as an admittal that the video in which the finger was given was the original footage. However, this quote is more likely meant to say that the editors of Günther Jauch did not edit the footage, because as explained in the rest of the video, the editors of NEO Magazine Royal edited it. The media were unclear as to which version was unmanipulated,[7] and ZDF had to officially state that Neo Magazin Royale is satire and should not be taken at face value.[8] Varoufakis himself praised Böhmermann's mockery of the German media on Twitter, writing "@janboehm Humour, satire & self deprecation are great solvents of blind nationalism. We politicians need you badly."[9] Böhmermann won a Grimme-Preis award for the manipulated finger video.[10]

Erdogan satire[edit]

Twenty people lodged a complaint because of a poem named "Schmähkritik" ("abusive criticism") Böhmermann presented in his satire show Neo Magazin Royale that aired on the ZDF public channel on 31 March 2016. The proceedings instituted by the prosecutor's office for "insulting of organs and representatives of foreign states" are based on principles §103[11] and §104[12] in the German penal code. Böhmermann, among other things, called Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan "the man who beats girls", and said that Erdogan loved to "fuck goats and suppress minorities, kick Kurds, hit Christians, and watch child pornography."[13][14][15] Much of the rest of the poem is devoted to associating Erdogan with various less accepted forms of sexuality. Böhmermann deliberately played with the limits of satire and said several times that this form of abusive criticism was not allowed in Germany.[16] The poem was released two weeks after the German political satire TV show extra 3 had aired a critical song about Erdogan, which led to protests of the Turkish government.[17]

The ZDF channel distanced itself from the poem and cut it out of the program which can be seen in its internet archives "Mediathek."[18] After a phone call with the Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the poem as "intentionally hurtful" ("bewusst verletzend"),[16] and prosecutors in Mainz planned to consult the federal Justice Ministry on whether to launch criminal proceedings.[19] The Turkish government released a verbal note in which it demanded the criminal prosecution of Böhmermann.[18] According to the law, the government has to approve the demand for criminal prosecution by a foreign government, before criminal proceedings can be started because of §103/104 StGB.[20][21] Therefore Angela Merkel accepted the request from Turkey to seek his prosecution, but stressed that the acceptance was not due to the merits of the prosecution case.[22] In addition, Erdogan himself made a complaint against Böhmermann as a private person because of the alleged insult.[23] The vice minister president of Turkey, Numan Kurtulmus, called the poem a "serious crime against humanity".[24]

On 10 April the CEO of publishing house Axel Springer SE, Mathias Döpfner, made a plea for "solidarity with Jan Böhmermann." He compared Böhmermann's poem to the works of Martin Kippenberger. He also referenced Michel Houellebecq's Submission and accused the German government of kowtowing to the Turks.[25] The former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis wrote on Twitter: "Europe first lost its soul (agreement with Turkey on refugees), now it is losing its humour. Hands off @janboehm!"[26] More than 100,000 people signed a petition for Böhmermann at Change.org.[27] In a satirical letter to president Erdogan, the mayor of Tübingen, Boris Palmer (Alliance 90/The Greens), assured Erdogan his "solidarity" and demanded the extradition of Böhmermann to Turkey. "Cut off Böhmermann's testicles, so he never makes fun of presidents with a short dick again", he wrote. The letter is signed "most respectfully, Boris Palmer".[24]

A YouGov poll revealed on 12 April, that a majority of the Germans supported Böhmermanns position. 48 percent of the pollees found the poem appropriate, 29 percent view it as undue. A great majority (66 percent) opposed the deletion of the poem on the ZDF website as well as Merkel's criticism of the poem as "intentionally hurtful" (68 percent). Only 15% support a criminal investigation, with 77% against.[28]

On 12 April it was reported that Böhmermann was under police protection, because he was threatened by supporters of Erdogan.[29][30] The filming of the upcoming edition of Neo Magazin Royale was cancelled due to "massive media reporting and the focus on the programme and the presenter".[30] Böhmermann had also cancelled his radio show Sanft & Sorgfältig on Sunday and his appearance at the Grimme Awards, where he was awarded for his Varoufakis video.[30]

In October 2016, the prosecutors dropped the case, saying they had not found sufficient evidence to continue the inquiry against Jan Boehmermann.[31] The rarely used paragraph 103 of Germany's penal code, which criminalizes insults against foreign heads of state, under which Böhmermann was indicted, was subsequently abolished in 2018.[32]

"Goat fucker" is a slur used by racists or Islamophobes to refer to Muslims. In the Netherlands, anti-Islam and anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders calls Muslims "goat fuckers" and wants to ban the Koran. [33]



  • 1999–2004: Radio Bremen
  • 2009–2011: Die ganz große Jan Böhmermann Radioschau
  • 2010–2013: Lateline
  • 2011–2012: Zwei alte Hasen erzählen von früher, with Klaas Heufer-Umlauf
  • 2012: Joko und Klaas mit Olli und Jan, with Olli Schulz
  • 2012–2016: Sanft & Sorgfältig, with Olli Schulz


  • 2012 - 2016 Sanft & Sorgfältig , with Olli Schulz
  • since 2016: Fest & Flauschig (Spotify), with Olli Schulz



  • 2016: Alles, alles über Deutschland. Halbwissen kompakt. (Everything, everything about Germany. Superficial knowledge compact.) (Kiepenheuer & Witsch)
  • 2005: Da Original Shaggä – Biddebaba. (G+H Hamburg)
  • 2009: Lukas' Tagebuch live (Roof Music)
  • 2009: Jan Böhmermann liest Alles, alles über Deutschland (Roof Music)
  • 2013: Förderschulklassenfahrt (Roof Music), along with Klaas Heufer-Umlauf
  • 2014: Förderschulklassenfahrt 2: Fünf Feinde und der Proletenhund (Roof Music), along with Klaas Heufer-Umlauf


  • 2016: Neo Magazin Royale: Live in Concert[34]


  • 2015: V for Varoufakis
  • 2015: Mit wem war Mutti im Bett? ("Who was mummy in bed with?")
  • 2015: Besoffen bei Facebook ("Drunk on Facebook")
  • 2015: Baby Got Laugengebäck
  • 2015: Ich hab Polizei ("I have police"), as POL1Z1STENS0HN[a] a.k.a. Jan Böhmermann
  • 2016: Be Deutsch! ("Be German!")
  • 2016: Blasserdünnerjunge macht sein Job ("Pale-skinny-boy does his job"), as POL1Z1STENS0HN a.k.a. Jan Böhmermann
  • 2016: Grab US by the Pussy
  • 2017: Menschen Leben Tanzen Welt ("Humans Life Dancing World"), as Jim Pandzko feat. Jan Böhmermann
  • 2019: Herz und Faust und Zwinker Zwinker ("Heart and Fist and Winker Winker[b]") as POL1Z1STENS0HN

Stage programs[edit]

  • 2005: Boombastic Fantastic – ein Schmuseabend mit Da Original Shaggä, Comedy
  • 2007: Lukas' Auswärtsspiel, Reading
  • 2008: Lukas' Auswärtsspiel – Saison 2008/2009, Reading
  • 2009: Lukas' Rückspiel – Saison 2008/2009, Reading
  • 2009: Alles, alles über Deutschland, Lecture tour
  • 2009: Die ganz große Jan Böhmermann Radio-Show, Comedy
  • 2011: Zwei alte Hasen erzählen von früher, Comedy, along with Klaas Heufer-Umlauf
  • 2014: Schlimmer als Jan Böhmermann, Cabaret/Comedy

Executive producer[edit]

  • Since 2014: Die unwahrscheinlichen Ereignisse im Leben von …


  • 2009: Deutscher Fernsehpreis in the category Best Comedy for TV Helden
  • 2013: Entertainment Journalist of the Year 2012 (Medium Magazin)
  • 2013: Grimme-Preis nomination in the category Entertainment for Roche & Böhmermann
  • 2014: Grimme-Preis in the category Entertainment for Neo Magazin
  • 2014: Journalist of the Year in the category Entertainment/Culture
  • 2016: Deutscher Fernsehpreis in the category Best Late Night Entertainment for Neo Magazin Royale
  • 2016: Grimme-Preis in the category Entertainment/Special/Innovation for #Varoufake in the program Neo Magazin Royale
  • 2016: Grimme Honor Award
  • 2017: Goldene Kamera Digital Award in the category viral clip for BE DEUTSCH
  • 2017: Deutscher Fernsehpreis in the category Best Late Night Entertainment for Neo Magazin Royale
  • 2017: Grimme-Preis in the category Entertainment/Special/Innovation for #verafake / Einspielerschleife in the program Neo Magazin Royale
  • 2017: Award of the German Academy of Television in the category Entertainment for Schulz & Böhmermann
  • 2018: Grimme-Preis in the category Entertainment for Eier aus Stahl – Max Giesinger und die deutsche Industriemusik in the program Neo Magazin Royale


  1. ^ A Leet-speak stylization of the word Polizistensohn meaning "Son of Police Officers"
  2. ^ "Winker" being a winking face emoji


  1. ^ ""Reden mit...": Jan Böhmermann". SR Interview. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  2. ^ "V for Varoufakis". YouTube-channel of Neo Magazin Royale. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Varoufakis, der Missverständliche – warum sich der griechische Finanzminister das "Fingergate" selbst zuzuschreiben hat › Meedia". Meedia.de. 2015-03-17. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 20, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Nach Varoufakis-Stinkefinger-Skandal: NZZ: Günther Jauch sollte entlassen werden - Politik - Abendzeitung München". Abendzeitung-muenchen.de. 2015-03-22. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Greece debt: Confusion in Varoufakis middle finger row". BBC News. 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  8. ^ "Jan Böhmermann: Behauptung, Yanis-Varoufakis-Video ist gefälscht, ist Satire - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Spiegel.de. 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  9. ^ "Yanis Varoufakis on Twitter: "@janboehm Humour, satire & self deprecation are great solvents of blind nationalism. We politicians need you badly. "". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  10. ^ "Fernsehpreis: Böhmermann bekommt Grimme-Preis für #Varoufake | ZEIT ONLINE". Zeit.de. 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  11. ^ "GERMAN CRIMINAL CODE". Startseite. 1998-11-13. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  12. ^ "GERMAN CRIMINAL CODE". Startseite. 1998-11-13. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  13. ^ GmbH, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (2016-04-06). "Erdogan-Satire: Staatsanwaltschaft ermittelt gegen Böhmermann". FAZ.NET (in German). Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  14. ^ "Nach Erdogan-Schmähkritik: Staatsanwalt ermittelt gegen Jan Böhmermann". HORIZONT (in German). Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  15. ^ "Wegen "Schmähkritik" an Erdogan – Satiriker Böhmermann droht mehrjährige Haftstrafe". RT Deutsch (in German). Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  16. ^ a b "Staatsanwalt ermittelt gegen Jan Böhmermann nach Schmähgedicht um Recep Tayyip Erdogan | WAZ.de". Derwesten.de (in German). 2016-04-06. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  17. ^ Extra 3 schießt schon wieder gegen Erdogan, Focus, in German
  18. ^ a b Türkei fordert Strafverfahren gegen Böhmermann, Die Welt, in German
  19. ^ "German prosecutors open case against comedian Jan Böhmermann". Deutsche Welle.
  20. ^ Fall Böhmermann: Regierung prüft Türkei-Forderung Archived 2016-04-14 at the Wayback Machine, heute, in German
  21. ^ Schmähgedicht über Erdogan: Der Moderator und der Schah-Paragraf, Der Spiegel, in German
  22. ^ Cowburn, Ashley (15 April 2016). "Angela Merkel accepts Turkish request to seek prosecution of German comedian". The Independent. Europe. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Erdogan stellt Strafantrag gegen Jan Böhmermann - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Spiegel.de. 2016-04-11. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  24. ^ a b Palmer macht sich für Auslieferung Böhmermanns stark, Die Welt, in German
  25. ^ "Solidarität mit Jan Böhmermann! Offener Brief von Mathias Döpfner - DIE WELT". Welt.de. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  26. ^ "Yanis Varoufakis on Twitter: "Europe first lost its soul (agreement with Turkey on refugees), now it is losing its humour. Hands off @janboehm! "". Twitter. 2016-04-11. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  27. ^ Schimpf oder Schande, Der Tagesspiegel, in German
  28. ^ "YouGov | Erdogan-Gedicht: Mehrheit auf Böhmermanns Seite". Yougov.de. 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  29. ^ "Jan Böhmermann steht unter Polizeischutz - FOCUS Online". Focus.de (in German). Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  30. ^ a b c "Jan Böhermann: Nächstes "Neo Magazin Royale" abgesagt - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Spiegel.de. 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  31. ^ "German comedian escapes prosecution". BBC News. 4 October 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  32. ^ https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article172081058/103-StGB-Deutschland-schafft-die-Majestaetsbeleidigung-endgueltig-ab.html
  33. ^ https://www.cbsnews.com/news/islamophobia-european-style/
  34. ^ "Spotify". Retrieved 3 June 2016.

External links[edit]