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Dieter Hildebrandt , an old master of German cabaret (2007)

The cabaret ( Germany : [ kabaʀɛt ], [ kabaʀɛt ]; Austria : [ kabaʀeː ]; Switzerland : [ kabaʀeː ]) is a form of cabaret , in the performing arts (acting scenes, monologues, dialogues, pantomime), poetry (poems Ballads) or music are often combined in the form of satire or polemics . Cabaret is socially critical, funny and entertaining and / or artistic and aesthetic in its motivation.


The word cabaret comes from the French cabaret ( tavern or pub ) and was later Germanized to cabaret [ kabaˈʀɛt ]. Internationally and historically, the word cabaret itself is often used synonymously with revue . In Switzerland and Austria, as with comparable terms, the French pronunciation [ kabae ] has been preserved. Sometimes the meaning of the word cabaret is referred to as a rotating dining plate with small compartments or bowls.

Differentiation from comedy and stand-up comedy

The boundaries between cabaret and comedy and stand-up comedy are sometimes blurred; so artists such as Michael Mittermeier , Django Asül , Josef Hader or Alfred Dorfer are always difficult to assign to cabaret or comedy. Basically, in cabaret, the focus is more on a pointed criticism of public events or people from politics and society by the cabaret artist, while in comedy and stand-up comedy, the focus is often more on the comic portrayal of conflicts with one's own environment. The effect of cabaret, even more than with comedy and stand-up, is based on the game with the knowledge of the viewer.

to form

The combination of acting with its epic and dramatic elements, lyric poetry and music can produce very different forms of cabaret. Frequent style elements are satire and parody , which are then expressed in a sketch , as well as sarcasm and irony .

A cabaret event is sometimes divided into “numbers” (sketches, songs, parodies, diatribes ), which are linked by presentations . This "number cabaret" was in Austria a . a. developed by Josef Hader and Alfred Dorfer into an informal poetic narrative. The “lecture cabaret” is a special form, whereby all the style elements of a conventional stage presentation (beamer, overhead projector, flipchart etc.) are combined with theatrical elements (costume, mask, singing etc.).

Cabaret traditionally takes place on a stage in front of an audience and has been on radio and television since the 1960s. Examples from public broadcasting are windshield wipers , midnight peaks and news from the establishment as well as its follow-up program Die Anstalt .


At the beginning of the 1880s, the first cabaret was opened in Paris with the cabaret artistique by Rodolphe Salis . On November 18, 1881 it was given the name Le Chat Noir and it was supposed to "satirize political events, teach mankind, reproach it for its stupidity, get rid of the bad mood." It quickly became a place where the artists , In 19th century Paris this meant all artists who tried out their numbers and performed each other before they were presented to the public.


Lisa Fitz , 2009

Twenty years later, Ernst von Wolhaben rented the Sezessionbühne in Alexanderstraße 4 and opened the cabaret “ Überbrettl ” on January 18, 1901 , which went into liquidation at the end of the 1902/03 season.

At around the same time, the group Elf Scharfrichter was formed in Munich , who brought their cabaret to Vienna in 1904 after a European tour and the subsequent breakup of the group. Felix Salten's cabaret had existed here since 1901 .

One of the first cabaret stars in Germany was Otto Reutter , whose couplets have now lasted 100 years. The strict theater censorship in the empire ensured that any form of public criticism was forbidden in cabaret at the beginning of the 20th century. With the end of the First World War , the censorship on theater and cabaret programs was lifted, and from 1919 the cabaret artists were able to respond to current political developments and the social situation of the people. During this time, German cabaret flourished for the first time and, in addition to Otto Reutter, who created his late work by 1931, brought together such diverse artists as Claire Waldoff , Werner Finck (1929–1935 with the cabaret Die Katakombe ), Hans Deppe , Isa Vermehren , Rudolf Platte , Ivo Veit and Karl Valentin (also director of the Munich cabaret “Vienna-Munich”). At that time, respected authors such as Kurt Tucholsky and Erich Kästner wrote for cabaret . Klaus Mann wrote “ Die Pfeffermühle ”, couplets and texts for his sister Erika Mann's cabaret .

Entrance to the academixer cellar in Leipzig

After the NSDAP came to power , this witty criticism of the times was fought and the actors persecuted, with serious consequences for cabaret in Germany: Finck, for example, was arrested in 1935 and interned in the Esterwegen concentration camp , and Tucholsky died at the end of the same year of an overdose of tablets. Max Ehrlich was murdered in Auschwitz on October 1, 1944 . Many of the German-speaking cabaret artists went into exile in Switzerland, France, Scandinavia or the USA. The result was that in Germany itself there was only state-controlled cabaret, which increasingly degenerated into a stage for ethnic German joke-tellers or asked the audience to persevere. Criticism of time or the system itself did not die out, however, but could only be carried out "in secret" in private circles.

From 1945 onwards, the occupying powers made sure to bring the atrocities of National Socialist rule closer to the Germans. "Re-education" also included cultural life. The cultural officers of the military governments helped to get theater and cabaret going, and to bring new and previously forbidden plays to the stage. It is almost forgotten that immediately after 1945 there was also a relatively free cabaret scene in the Soviet occupation zone, for example in Leipzig the "Literary Cabaret" founded by Ferdinand May in 1945 (from 1947 "Die Rampe"). It was not until the mid-1950s that free cabarets were replaced by propagandistic cabaret. In the west, the "Tol (l) eranten" in Mainz (with Hanns Dieter Hüsch ), the " Kom (m) ödchen " in Düsseldorf (with Kay and Lore Lorentz ), and " Die Schaubude " in Munich (1945-1948 with ) were quickly denounced Ursula Herking , Bum Krüger , Hellmuth Krüger , Monika Greving , Karl Schönböck , Bruno Hübner ) - who a few years after the closure of Kleine Freiheit and even later the Münchner Lach- und Schießgesellschaft (with Dieter Hildebrandt , Klaus Havenstein , Achim Strietzel , Ursula Herking, Hans Jürgen Diedrich and Sammy Drechsel ) followed - as well as " The Porcupines " in Berlin (with Rolf Ulrich , Inge Wolffberg, Günter Pfitzmann , Jo Herbst, Wolfgang Gruner , Achim Strietzel) topics such as the federal government of the then Chancellor Konrad Adenauer , the Cold War and later the excesses of the economic miracle .

The many problems of the constantly endangered “Island of Freedom” West Berlin were mainly highlighted in Günter Neumann's (1913–1972) cabaret “ Die Insulaner ”.

The programs of these cabaret artists of the 1950s were for the first time great successes with the audience due to the discovery of satire as a cabaret style device, which also continued on young German television. In 1953 " Die Distel " was opened in East Berlin as the first state cabaret in the GDR - censored and without any issues critical of the state. Other East German cabarets such as the “Kneifzange” and the “ Leipziger Pfeffermühle ” followed, but always had to pay attention to the special guests in the audience when making puns , who, according to Peter Ensikat , were immediately recognized by “... that only then did they begin to laugh if the superior man next to us did the same. "The GDR cabaret was soon integrated into the state theater structures and had to walk the" sharp line between adaptation and coded criticism ", where it" sometimes had to skilfully square the circle with virtuosity ", as Volker Kühn stated as the “gray eminence of cabaret” and a proven connoisseur of its history.

In the 1960s in West Germany it was mainly cabaret artists such as Wolfgang Neuss (“The youngest rumor”, “Neuss Germany” (a newspaper), “The Villon Show”, “Asylum im Domizil”), Heinz Erhardt (“Noch'n Poem ”) or Werner Finck (cabaret“ Nebelhorn ”in Zurich), who, in addition to the large cabaret ensembles from Düsseldorf, Munich and Berlin, contrasted the zeitgeist with their puns. In the late 1960s, the student movement split parts of cabaret in Germany. Artists like Hanns Dieter Hüsch were whistled because the students saw them as part of the establishment. The large cabaret form first seen in 1966 with the voles (author of this program was Heio Müller ) was taken up by other cabarets.

Volkmar Staub (left) and Florian Schroeder (right) during a cabaret performance

In the 1970s, other new forms of cabaret developed, such as Dieter Hildebrandt's cabaret TV show “ Notes from the Province ” and, from 1977, the scene cabaret “ The 3 Tornados ”. As late as the late 1980s, political cabaret was a respected part of social criticism in the Federal Republic and briefly gained importance again after the unification of the Federal Republic and GDR. New artists such as Frankfurt's Matthias Beltz (“ Provisional Frankfurter Fronttheater ”) or Mathias Richling set standards. In the 1990s, however, cabaret was pushed aside from several sides. The comedy boom (comedy is related to cabaret, but mostly not political), private television and the associated setting of priorities by public broadcasters, as well as decreasing audience interest, led to a decline in cabaret programs. In the ARD only the program “ Scheibenwischer ” (with Bruno Jonas and Mathias Richling) remained in the program or the follow-up program under the title “ Satire Gipfel ” with Mathias Richling, or since 2011 with Dieter Nuhr under the name “nuhr im First ". From January 2007 to October 2013, ZDF showed the program “ Neues aus der Anstalt ” with Urban Priol , Georg Schramm (episodes 1–36) and Frank-Markus Barwasser (episodes 37–62). Since February 2014, ZDF has been presenting the follow-up program “ Die Anstalt ” with Max Uthoff and Claus von Wagner . The cabaret late night show “Mann, Sieber!” With Christoph Sieber and Tobias Mann has also been running on ZDF since September 2015 . The third programs regularly broadcast cabaret (" Quer ", until 2012 " Ottis Schlachthof " and since March 2013 Schlachthof in BR, " Mitternachtsspitzen " in WDR, " Extra 3 " in NDR or "Richling - Zwerch meets Fell" and " Spätschicht - Die Comedy Stage “in the SWR). From 2004 to 2007 3sat ran the program “ alles muss raus ” with Urban Priol. Current events in cabaret (news, TV broadcasts, radio broadcasts, premieres, venues, events ...) have been presented on the website since 2000.

The “ German Cabaret Archive ” foundation, funded by the Federal Republic of Germany , is located in Mainz in the historical “Proviant-Magazin”. At the same time a “Walk of Fame of Cabaret” was opened between the Mainz Forum-Theater “ unterhaus ” and the “German Cabaret Archive”: bronze plaques with a stainless steel star engraved with the name of a personality from the history of cabaret. Werner Finck, Lore Lorentz , Erich Kästner , Kurt Tucholsky and Klabund were among the first .

Zeit author Felix Dachsel criticized in 2017 that cabaret in Germany has recently shown a strong tendency towards moralizing and teaching, and unlike late-night shows in the United States ( Jimmy Kimmel , Stephen Colbert , Jon Stewart ) sensitively Miss joke .


The history of cabaret in Austria goes back to the last decades of the Habsburg Monarchy, when comedians and "buffoons" made the audience laugh with their stories. The first cabaret was opened on November 16, 1901 in Vienna by Felix Salten and was called “Jung-Wiener Theater zum liebe Augustin” and was set up in the Theater an der Wien . However, there were only seven performances. A sustainable cabaret scene did not emerge until 1906. In that year - again in the Theater an der Wien - the cabaret Hölle was opened as well as the cabaret Nachtlicht in Ballgasse , which closed in 1907 and was reopened as Cabaret Fledermaus . Fritz Grünbaum's career as a philosophizing conférencier also began in Hell . The Simpl cabaret , which still exists today, opened in 1912 and , as a cellar theater, produced many stars of this art.

Until 1938, this art form, which is inextricably linked to the numerous Jewish population of Vienna, thrived in an excellent way with the predominantly bourgeois-liberal audience.

The fact that Austrian cabaret was able to resurrect after National Socialism and World War II and the expulsion and murder of the Jews was due to the fact that some of the expelled cabaret artists returned, such as Karl Farkas in 1946, Hermann Leopoldi in 1947, Gerhard Bronner in 1948, Armin Berg in 1949 and Georg Kreisler in 1955. Berg and Farkas helped the traditional cabaret Simpl to renewed success from 1949, Bronner and Kreisler founded in 1955 with Helmut Qualtinger, among others, what later became known as the “ Nameless Ensemble ” and Leopoldi toured the entire German-speaking area. Other cabaret greats before the Second World War were Heinrich Eisenbach , Alexander Roda Roda , Fritz Grünbaum and Egon Friedell , who, with the exception of Eisenbach, died either while emigrating or during the Nazi era.

A new generation of cabaret emerged in the 1970s from the student protest and the alternative scene, including Lukas Resetarits and Erwin Steinhauer . From the end of the 1980s onwards they were followed by a wave of new cabaret artists and cabaret groups who have given cabaret a status as a mass medium in Austria to this day. Among the best-known representatives of contemporary Austrian cabaret are Roland Düringer , who acted as the main actor in the most successful cabaret films and has already filled the Wiener Stadthalle with his shows , Alfred Dorfer , who mainly conducts political cabaret and the TV satirical show Dorfers from 2004 to 2011 Donnerstalk led, as well as Josef Hader , whose tragic-comic humor enjoys cult status in the entire German-speaking area.

Since the late 1980s, Andreas Vitasek , Reinhard Nowak and Andrea Händler have also been among the top figures in Austrian cabaret, who with Dorfer always played leading roles, especially in the popular cabaret films of the 1990s. Their common origin is the cabaret group Schlabarett . Other cabaret artists and cabaret groups that have been popular for many years are Die Hastiker , Gunkl , Stermann & Grissemann , Florian Scheuba , Thomas Maurer , Michael Niavarani , Viktor Gernot , Thomas Stipsits or, since the late 1990s, Alf Poier and, since the turn of the millennium, maschek. , Nadja Maleh , Hosea Ratschiller , Monica Weinzettl and the Science Busters . Among newcomers are the group Vetophil , RaDeschnig , Flüsterzweieck , Aschenbrenner.wunderl as well as Paul Pizzera and Otto Jaus , Nina Hartmann and Lisa Eckhart . Today more than ever before, cabaret is an essential part of the Austrian cultural landscape.

Well-known cabaret stages, ensembles and cabaret artists

Cabaret stages and ensembles


German-speaking cabaret artists

Some of the most influential and well-known artists were or are:

Willy Astor , Django Asül , Frank-Markus Barwasser , Jürgen Becker , Matthias Beltz , Jan Böhmermann , Jochen Busse , HG. Butzko , Matthias Deutschmann , Alfred Dorfer , Matthias Egersdörfer , Werner Finck , Ottfried Fischer , Lisa Fitz , Thomas Freitag , Rainald Grebe , Monika Gruber , Günter Grünwald , Josef Hader , Dieter Hallervorden , Anny Hartmann , Dieter Hildebrandt , Rüdiger Hoffmann , Jörg Hube , Hanns Dieter Hüsch , Gerburg Jahnke , Bruno Jonas , Luise Kinseher , Marc-Uwe Kling , Wolfgang Krebs , Georg Kreisler , Hellmuth Krüger , Frank Lüdecke , Uwe Lyko , Jochen Malmsheimer , Manfred Maurenbrecher , Rolf Miller , Wolfgang Neuss , Dieter Nuhr , Sissi Perlinger , Volker Pispers , Lisa Politt , Gerhard Polt , Urban Priol , Annette Postel , Sebastian Pufpaff , Arnulf Rating , Andreas Rebers , Hagen Rether , Mathias Richling , Richard Rogler , Helmut Ruge , Helmut Schleich , Wilfried Schmickler , Harald Schmidt , Werner Schneyder , Georg Schramm , Martina Schwarzmann , Horst Schroth , Olaf Schubert , Christoph Sieber , Simone Solga , Uwe Steimle , Ludger Stratmann , Dieter Süverkrüp , Günter Thews , Mathias Tretter , Max Uthoff , Henning Venske , Claus von Wagner , Bodo Wartke , Philipp Weber , Sigi Zimmigart .

Even more extensive lists can be found in the categories cabaret artists (Germany) , cabaret artists (Austria) and cabaret artists (Switzerland) .

Cabaret Festival


Cabaret and cabaret awards


See also


  • Gwendolyn von Ambesser: Show booth magic - history and stories of a legendary cabaret. Edition AV, Lich 2006, ISBN 3-936049-68-8 .
  • Marie-Theres Arnbom , Georg Wacks: Jewish cabaret in Vienna. 1889-2009. Berg, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-9502673-0-3 .
  • Klaus Budzinski: Pepper in the gears - that's how cabaret is and became. Universitas, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-8004-1008-7 .
  • Klaus Budzinski, Reinhard Hippen: Metzler Cabaret Lexicon. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 1996, ISBN 3-476-01448-7 .
  • Sandra Danielczyk: Diseusen in the Weimar Republic. Image constructions in cabaret using the example of Margo Lion and Blandine Ebinger (= texts on popular music. 9). transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2017, ISBN 978-3-8376-3835-6 .
  • Frauke Deißner-Jenssen (ed.): The tenth muse - cabaret artists tell. Henschel, Berlin (GDR) 1982, DNB 830480544 .
  • Werner Finck : Joker - bird-free. Ullstein TB, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-548-22923-9 .
  • Iris Fink : From Travnicek to Hinterholz 8: Cabaret in Austria from 1945, from A to encore. Styria, Graz / Vienna / Cologne 2000, ISBN 3-222-12773-5 .
  • Iris Fink, Hans Veigl : … and there is a time for laughter. Cabaret between reconstruction and the economic miracle. Cabaret in Austria 1945 to 1970 (= cultural history of Austrian cabaret. Volume 2). Austrian Cabaret Archive, Graz 2016, ISBN 978-3-9501427-7-8 .
  • Evelin Förster: The woman in the dark: authors and composers of cabaret and entertainment from 1901–1935. Edition Braus, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86228-057-5 .
  • Tobias Glodek, Christian Haberecht, Christoph Ungern-Sternberg: Political cabaret and satire. With contributions by Volker Kühn, Henning Venske, Peter Ensikat, Eckart von Hirschhausen a. a. Scientific publishing house, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-86573-262-0 .
  • Heinz Greul: Boards that mean time - the cultural history of cabaret. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne / Berlin 1967.
  • Jürgen Henningsen: Theory of cabaret. Düsseldorf-Benrath 1967. (1989, ISBN 3-88339-757-1 )
  • Reinhard Hippen: It's in the air. Cabaret in the Third Reich. Pendo, Zurich 1988, ISBN 3-85842-204-5 .
  • Christian Hörburger: Nihilists - Pacifists - Polluters. Seen time in the mirror of the cabaret. Association for Peace Education , Tübingen 1993, ISBN 3-922833-80-2 .
  • Dietmar Jacobs: Investigations into the GDR professional cabaret of the Honecker era. (= Cologne Studies in Literary Studies. Volume 8) Lang, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin / Bern / New York / Paris / Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-631-30546-X .
  • Volker Kühn : Germany's awakening. Cabaret under the swastika 1933–1945 (= cabaret pieces. A cabaret library in five volumes. Volume 3). Quadriga, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-88679-163-7 , p. 20.
  • Elke Reinhard: Why is cabaret called comedy today? Metamorphoses in German television entertainment. (= Contributions to media aesthetics and media history. Volume 24). Lit, Berlin / Münster 2006, ISBN 3-8258-9231-X . (also dissertation at the University of Mannheim 2005).
  • Rainer Otto, Walter Rösler: cabaret history: demolition of the German-language cabaret. Henschel, Berlin 1980/1981, DNB 780160940 .
  • Gertrud Maria Rösch: Cabaret. In: Gert Ueding (Hrsg.): Historical dictionary of rhetoric . WBG, Darmstadt 1992 ff., Volume 10 (2011), Col. 432-438.
  • Doris Rosenstein: TV (Swabian) cabaret [Mathias Richling]. In: Suevica . 7 (1993). Stuttgart 1994 [1995], ISBN 3-88099-311-4 , pp. 153-192.
  • Werner Schumann: Immortal Cabaret. Richard Beeck, Hanover 1948.
  • Hans Veigl : Laughing in the basement. Cabaret and cabaret in Vienna 1900 to 1945 (= cultural history of Austrian cabaret. Volume 1). Austrian Cabaret Archive, Graz 2013, ISBN 978-3-9501427-2-3 .
  • Benedikt Vogel: Fiction Set - Poetics and History of Cabaret. Mentis, Paderborn 1993, ISBN 3-89785-105-9 .
  • Georg Zivier, Hellmut Kotschenreuter, Volker Ludwig: Cabaret with K - Seventy years of great cabaret. Berlin Verlag, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-87061-242-8 .
  • Walter Rösler: Go under ... cabaret in Vienna. Henschel Verlag, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-89487-185-7 .
  • Rudolf Weys: Cabaret and Cabaret in Vienna. Jugend und Volk Verlag Wien, Vienna 1970, ISBN 3-7141-6038-7 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Cabaret  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Cabaret artist  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. according to adaba:, Austrian pronunciation dictionary / Austrian pronunciation database ; | br /> Duden Volume 1. Mannheim u. a .: Dudenverlag, 21 1979; P. 388; Truly. German dictionary. Gütersloh / Munich: Wissen Media, 2002; P. 703; Austrian dictionary . Vienna: Österreichischer Bundesverlag 35 1979; P. 215.
  2. a b c cabaret. In: The Brockhaus multimedia. Mannheim 2008 (CD-ROM).
  3. Benedikt Vogel: fictional backdrop. The poetics and history of cabaret. Paderborn, Munich 1993, p. 46.
  4. cabaret. In: Digital dictionary of the German language .
  5. Quotation: "Cabaret is a game with the knowledge acquired by the audience", from: Jürgen Henningsen: Die Theorie des Kabarett. Düsseldorf 1967, p. 9
  6. ^ Frank Eberhardt: The "Colorful Theater" on Köpenicker Strasse (= Berlin Monthly Journal. Issue 8/2000).
  7. Katinka Strassberger: Volker Kühn: The gray eminence of cabaret . ( Memento from October 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Bayern 2 , radioThema, November 29, 2013.
  8. Volker Kühn (Ed.): Hierzulande - Kleinkunststücke 5, from 1970. Quadriga 1994, ISBN 3-88679-165-3 , p. 237.
  9. Felix Dachsel: You have to have a little fun! In: The time. September 6, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2017 .
  10. Cabaret Regatta
  11. Apolda Cabaret Days ( Memento from April 26, 2014 in the Internet Archive )