“Humour is when you laugh despite yourself – but in this case the laughs stuck in our throats,” said Corrado Di Benedetto, head of the Foreigners’ Advisory Council in Hesse. “The freedom of the Karneval is valuable. And satire is allowed to do anything – except degrade others. This violated all the rules of decency.”
The council called the show “prime-time racism.”
The monologue, aired nationally on state TV on February 2, but reported Thursday by the European edition of Turkish paper Hürriyet, was part of the “Frankfurt: Helau” sitting at the Karneval season in the Rhineland.
According to a report in Bild newspaper, 39-year-old Mainz dentist Patricia Lowin took to the stage in a headscarf and announced in an exaggerated Turkish accent and broken German, “Here on Döner TV, I will show you what is integration,” and then revealed she was wearing a Bavarian dirndl dress in her “favourite colour: Turk-oise.”
As her assumed persona “Ayse,” Lowin proceeded to make a number of “Döner”-related puns, along the lines of “Döner for One,” after Germany’s favourite New Year’s Eve comedy sketch “Dinner for One.”
Another gem from Lowin’s comedic efforts included this: “I have some experience in the media – I worked as a cleaner at the [state TV channel] ZDF. And my brother Ahmet works in a closed (broadcasting) institution in Weiterstadt. He has a full-time job there for ten years without bail.”
While the audience in the large studio of the Hessischer Rundfunk (HR), the local state broadcaster, cheered Lowin enthusiastically, the Foreigner’s Advisory Council is demanding an apology from HR.
An HR spokesman said there had been no intention of offending Turkish Germans, and said that using clichés was part of the Karneval tradition. He added that opinion is always divided on whether a particular joke works or not.