Making cabaret for a good cause: Django Asül (left) and Bavaria's Minister of Justice Georg Eisenreich. On June 19, 2023, they will perform with Angela Ascher and Helmut Schleich at the Augustiner Keller in Munich. Every man for himself, but all for the club Münchner für Münchner. © kjk
The Minister of Justice, Georg Eisenreich, used to do ambitious cabaret. Now he returns to the stage for a charity evening – with stars such as Django Asül and Helmut Schleich. We met Eisenreich and Django Asül in Lower Bavaria.
Both have their roots in Lower Bavaria. One in Windorf, the other in Hengersberg. "It doesn't matter who does what or how you are politically positioned: you get together anyway," says Django Asül, the Hengersberger, with a smile when asked why he, as a cabaret artist, is now organizing a charity evening with Bavaria's Minister of Justice Georg Eisenreich (CSU), whose parents come from Windorf. "And: We are colleagues, so to speak." That's right, Eisenreich did cabaret ambitiously during his student days and was nominated for the Bielefeld Cabaret Prize. On June 19, 2023, the 52-year-old will return to the stage. At 19:30 p.m., a charity cabaret evening of the Munich for Munich Association will begin, in which Django Asül, Angela Ascher and Helmut Schleich as well as Georg Eisenreich will deliver a 30-minute program. We met him and Django Asül for a chat. Where? Of course: In Hengersberg, Lower Bavaria.
Django Asül – appearing with a CSU politician: Isn't there trouble with your colleagues? According to the motto: Now he is allying himself with the blacks?
Django Asül: No. So first and foremost, it's about a good cause: to help Munich residents in difficulty. Then the next thing is that it's not a political event. I get requests from all parties for this, but I generally don't do that. And Georg Eisenreich doesn't come here as Minister of Justice, but as someone who wants to entertain people – which is a legitimate story, even more so if it's for a good cause. He's one of four, we don't stand on stage together, but everyone does their own thing. And because he, like me, has Lower Bavarian roots, this Lower Bavarian compatriot alone is a commitment.
And you, Mr. Eisenreich? Why are you drawn back to the stage right now – mere election campaigning?
Django Asül: That would go wrong! That would blow up in his face!
Georg Eisenreich: No, election campaigns on the cabaret stage – that backfires. I actually did cabaret in the early 2000s, it was my passion besides politics. (Leafs through the program booklets from back then and remembers:) For a week at the Theater im Fraunhofer, Bielefeld Cabaret Prize, Cabaret Cactus... At the time, I was on my way to a full-length program. That was the goal. But then I became a city councillor, then a member of parliament – and was unable to pursue it further due to lack of time.
And why now?
Georg Eisenreich: The "Symposium Bavaricum" is to blame for this. Last year, I was one of four speakers who talk about Bavaria in a humorous and satirical way from their perspective. After 20 years, that was the reason for me to sit down again and write for it. The performance was then quite well received – and afterwards I agreed with Helmut Schleich, who was also a speaker there, to do something together. This gave rise to the idea for the charity cabaret evening.
Met for an interview: (from left) Django Asül, Georg Eisenreich and culture editor Katja Kraft. © kjk
Is there a theme that overwrites the evening?
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Django Asül: No. I'm also not interested in what the others are doing in advance. I like to have the spectator's perspective that evening. The time I'm not on, I want to be well entertained. Eisenreich: The only thing that is clear is that everyone does half an hour. Asül: 25 minutes! People have to say afterwards: "Everyone should have done five minutes longer." Instead of: "How long will this last?"
And everything is already written?
Django Asül: Almost. I'm going to mess with some relatively topical issues. And then also give it a bit in Maibock style as a speech on the state of the nation.
Including sidekick against the Minister of Justice?
Django Asül: I'll put it this way, Georg Eisenreich has a rewarding job on the one hand, and a thankless job on the other. Because in order for the Minister of Justice to be interesting for cabaret, something must have gone terribly wrong. So: He doesn't deliver anything to me. But fortunately, the topic is so good at the moment that I don't have to hope that it will become relevant to cabaret...
Georg Eisenreich: It's true that many of my activities are apolitical, because the judiciary is also apolitical. The judiciary is objective, neutral. Judges are independent. But there are also topics of great political importance in my field: for example, the fight against hate and agitation on the Internet, anti-Semitism and cybercrime – but these topics are not suitable for a Maibock speech now.
Django Asül: From time to time, I have occasions where someone from the cabinet speaks before or after me. And I don't mind at all that this post is voluntarily amusing for once and not just unintentionally amusing...
How easy is it for you to write cabaret while in office, Mr. Eisenreich?
Georg Eisenreich: In fact, the joy of it has never left me, which is why I collect ideas every now and then. When I notice beautiful stories, observations, I write them down in a file that is now very extensive. Experiences as Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament, thoughts on democracy and parties. I had processed parts of it into a text for the "Symposium Bavaricum". For the performance now, I have added two more stories from my previous program, which are simply timeless, and some additions.
Is it so easy to collect? Isn't humor usually very much stuck in the respective time?
Django Asül: I'm collecting all the time. If only because of my review of the year on television. For me, the collection for the "rearview mirror" begins on January 1st and from the Oktoberfest the collecting for my speech at the Maibock tapping. And by the way, I'm constantly collecting for a new program that has to work timelessly. That's what comes out of my regulars' table in Hengersberg, for example. The starting point has now been coined by Hans from the regulars' table, who recently said the sentence: "Reality out there has had nothing to do with reality for a long time." Hans is a living legend who knocks things out every minute.
Georg Eisenreich: So he's your ghostwriter.
Django Asül: My inspirer!
Georg: Eisenreich: There are topics that only I as a politician can write about, because no cabaret artist can experience or read about them. What I don't do on stage is party politics. I have many other opportunities for party politics: as chairman of the CSU Munich and member of parliament.
Django Asül: Even if a political opponent were to make a faux pas, and Georg Eisenreich would pick it up, it would blow up in his face. It must be his stories. Let's wait and see, maybe he will qualify with Helmut Schleich and me for us to perform together once a year in the future – or we will formally distance ourselves after the performance and say: We only knew from the charity purpose that he would also be there, we only found out how late it was. (They both laugh.)
Do you give him any pro tips?
Django Asül: No! If he didn't know what he wanted to do, my advice to him would be: Make your stories! That's exactly what he's going to do anyway. Good entertainment must be authentic. The biggest challenge is then the presentation. Reading a text yourself or having it read is a completely different thing. But because a politician is judged very every word anyway, I believe that he has developed a feeling for it anyway. In cabaret and in politics, it has to be short and concise.
Are you practicing the performance at home in front of your family, Mr. Eisenreich?
Georg Eisenreich: Yes, of course, but it doesn't matter who you say it to: it's always bad. Friends, acquaintances, family are super critical, they sit in front of you with folded arms.
And what about the content of the texts? Maxi Schafroth was criticized for his Nockherberg Lenten sermon because it was too one-sided against the conservatives.
Django Asül: This accusation of tackling some harder than others has never been made to me personally. I take a completely neutral approach to the matter. I just look every day: What political fodder comes in?
Georg Eisenreich: And you can't complain about too little material!
Django Asül: People say: You know you're not on either side. I think it would be boring if the impression is that I am close to a party. If it were said afterwards: Some have spared.
Georg Eisenreich: To put it bluntly: You didn't spare the CSU and Markus Söder at the Maibock.
Django Asül: Exactly. But even the blacks want it that way. Whether yellow, red, green, black, everyone thanked after the Maibock. One said: "But a few times the Söder has already looked in a bit dribble." The worst thing would be if Söder didn't look dripped once, then it would be a misguided approach.
When you look back at your beginnings, has political cabaret changed?
Georg Eisenreich: I think so. There are some who think that it is enough to present a supposedly correct political stance on stage and that it no longer has to be entertaining. In my opinion, this is wrong. For me, there is too much political correctness and lecturing, too much attitude and too little entertainment. (To Django Asül:) You cabaret artists must not underestimate your role. Most politicians are good listeners. And it's exciting to see which topics are targeted and which are not. This is not always pleasant, but important feedback that comes from the stage. The charity cabaret evening is on June 19, 19:30 p.m., at the Augustiner Keller Munich; Tickets are available here.