The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Friday, February 18, 2005

.

Germans discussing humor:
Mr. Kosslick, some people say the festival program isn't much better today, or rather wasn't much worse before. Still, ever since you took over, even Berlin's chilly temperatures don't seem as cold. How do you do it?
The movies we show are serious enough, and I want people to feel comfortable while they're here to have a good time. That's why I am trying to convey a party feeling and to sell them a humorous Germany.

Maybe we can learn something from you. What's a witty welcome address? Would you recommend addressing someone in the audience directly, react to coughs and what's a good last sentence?

That's actually the most difficult part, to stand in front of a crowd of journalists, like recently at the first Berlinale news conference, and to start on a witty note. Americans have a special technique. They always start off with a joke, and everything works out. My problem is that I am no good at all at telling jokes. So I always try to come up with an idea, and that often goes awfully wrong. Sometimes I get muddled, start mixing things up, but that may, in fact, come across as cute. In the end, it's always good to have a catchy comeback ready.

What was your catchy phrase at the news conference?
I didn't have one. I only thought that if I want to talk about sex - which is what I did, since that's the focus of this year's Berlinale - I'd have to come up with something really interesting.

So?

There's a good story about that. It used to be a joke, but I couldn't remember it. I only remembered the punch line. It's about this guy who goes into a pharmacy to buy Viagra and asks the pharmacist to grind it for him in a mortar. Aghast, the pharmacist says that the man has to swallow the drug, that it won't be of any use as a powder. But the man snorts the Viagra like a line of cocaine and says: ”You know, sex is only in the brain.” So I thought that was a good story to tell.