S'erscht Müsli seit: Du, din neue Lover isch ja ä Flädermus. S'zweit Müsli meint: dä Saucheib! Und mir hät er gseit, er sig Pilot!
That was Swiss German. And now the same joke in English: One little mouse says to the other: "Hey, your lover is a bat." The second little mouse responds, "That jerk! He told me he was a pilot!"
That's an example of a Swiss joke. A great many others are dirtier and funnier. Of course, if you do not speak one of the four national languages, you may never realize that the Swiss can be quite funny!
The Appenzeller take pride in their ability to turn a phrase and make a joke. The unfortunate residents of St. Gallen and of the Valais are often the butt of jokes for their dialect. And Stadt-Zürcher city slickers are pretty much disliked by everyone when it comes to Swiss jokes...
Edelmais & Co.
The fine art of making a pun (and delivering it quite deadpan) is a Swiss and Austrian ability, more than a German one. If you want to see Swiss skit comedy, there is a great show called Edelmais & Co. starring René Rindlisbacher (Zürcher) and Sven Furrer (Walliser).
Their act will provide you with plenty of dialect and laughs. Playing a variety of characters, the two comedians along with other actors will find absurdity in all kinds of everyday situations. Or at the very least, they know how to exaggerate those all too familiar situations.
On set with Edelmais & Co.
I recently had the opportunity to go to the filming of the latest DVD special that will hopefully be aired on SF1. The production was done in the Gemeindesaal in Affoltern am Albis. Performing at this sold-out venue, the entire performance was based on a Gymi class reunion (high school for university bound students).
The characters represented a range of stereotypical characters one would typically expect to find at a reunion: The old babbling teacher, the alcoholic, the successful TV star, the always arguing friends, or the quiet creepy guy.
The show was a delight to watch, with tons of laughter (much for the absurdity, and equally much for hitting on the harsh reality). After all, humor is best when it encompasses a degree of reality and touches on the tragic.
One of the things that was particularly funny was how Edelmais & Co. got one specific lady from the audience involved. Her character was essentially the blonde bombshell. Her name was Ina, and she got a mention at any opportune time.
The best part was when they asked her what she did after Gymi. She answered that she had done an apprenticeship (for which you do not need a Gymi degree). And then, there was her husband - an architect - who they claimed only did the Sekundarschule (high school for those going into a trade and doing an apprenticeship). Too ironic, this situation!
Finally: A message from the USA
Expats will love the video message by Thomas (played by Rindlisbacher). An emigrated Swiss in the US, he now speaks a Swiss-German dialect mixed with plenty of English. He claims that he has forgotten a fair bit of his Schwiizeedütsch. It was truly funny, and even he could not resist sending a message out to Ina!
Until their next DVD is released, below are some highlights from Edelmais & Co!
Netz Natur: The service shy sales chicken
"Nicht Schwanger": A couple which cannot get pregnant
Rindlisbacher on a date. Will he get lucky?
At the post office: Rindlisbacher works for the mail and criticizes a teacher for her spelling...
So the next time you hear someone claim that the Swiss "aren't funny", you can beg to differ! Riiight?!?
(All photographs copyright by Bright Entertainment AG/Edelmais & Co.)