• Germany's news in English

'Austrians have humour, Germans not so much'

The Local · 28 Feb 2013, 08:20

Published: 28 Feb 2013 08:20 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Christoph Waltz is not German. He's something entirely different – he's Austrian.

That's at least the pained message the gifted actor repeatedly made in the US media before and after winning his second Academy Award on Sunday evening for playing a German bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.

Yes, his father was German and yes, he held only a German passport until a few years ago, but his soul was always thoroughly Austrian, he explained on talk shows and in newspaper interviews.

He even used the issue as a gag to open his recent appearance on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.

"I've wanted to host for a long time but they've always said to me: 'Why you? You don't have a sense of humour," the Teutonic star joked. "'You're a serious German actor.' Well first of all I'm not German, I'm Austrian and Austrians have a wonderful sense of humour, Germans, not so much."

The German media has been doing its utmost to prove him wrong, with several major newspapers teasing this week that if Germany got the blame for the most notorious Austrian of all time – Adolf Hitler – then the country had a claim to Austria's current favourite son Waltz.

There's no denying the 56-year-old was born and raised in Vienna - but Austria only offered him citizenship after he won his first Oscar for his role in Quentin Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds in 2010. It would turn out to be wise PR move for the Alpine nation, which has basked in Hollywood's admiration this week after Waltz repeated his Best Supporting Actor feat.

Married to a German costume designer, the father of four currently splits his time between Berlin and Los Angeles. Of course, that hasn't diminished his ardour for Austria.

Story continues below…

"I was born in Vienna, I grew up in Vienna, I went to school in Vienna, I graduated in Vienna, I studied in Vienna, I started my career in Vienna, I did theatre for the first time in Vienna, I did film for the first time in Vienna. There are also a few other Viennese details," he said a few years ago. "But how much more Austrian can you get?"

His surging popularity in Hollywood means he now even has a US Green Card. But until he surrenders his German passport, Waltz remains the world's best-known German actor.

The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:12 February 28, 2013 by simi1983
To add a little twist to it...For most Austrians people from Vienna are not considered real Austrians :p
19:41 February 28, 2013 by Mr Goodmorning
And thus demonstrates the absurdity of jus sanguinis citizenship ("right of blood") over jus soli ("right of the soil"). The man was born and grew up in Austria, and for all intents and purposes, is Austrian. The world is shrinking and borders are becoming more and meaningless; archaic and arguably racist citizenship laws should go.
11:05 March 2, 2013 by Roberto Gold
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:33 March 2, 2013 by murka
German humour exists, according wikipedia:

Today's headlines
Munich to get 'nice toilets' to serve cross-legged locals
Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital has a pee problem - the city only has one public toilet for every 13,000 inhabitants. But a new plan could rescue desperate locals, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

German kids get glowing report for their English skills
Photo: DPA.

As if multilingual Germans don't already put many English-speakers to shame, now the younger generation is improving their English skills even more.

Berlin museum controversially recreates Hitler bunker
The reconstruction of the Hitler bunker. Photo: DPA

Sensationalized or compelling history? Berlin museums clash over new Nazi bunker exhibit

Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd