I find the English animosity towards the German people bizarre, since they go to extraordinary lengths to amuse us – even branding themselves for a lifetime with names which bring a snigger to every English-speaking person. And just when you think they have reached the height of how funny a German name can be when pronounced in English something comes along which shatters all that have gone before it. Today had such a moment.
To start with, we’ve got your standard comedy surnames like Fuchs and Wankum; fine if a German says them but they’re fucks and wank ’em to us of course. And then you have another level of name where the comedy is actually in the German pronunciation, like Huther (hooter).
But the Germans didn’t just stop at these simple rude-sounding words. As time progressed, the English sense-of-humour demanded more – the likes of Dirk Fuchs was just old hat. Heard it too many times for it to be funny anymore. So the clever (and comedically-underestimated) Germans devised more complex names, rudeness layered on top of innuendo. And tucked them away in the most unlikely of places. In some cases, even hiding the humour in the name so it required a little bit of thought in order to get the joke they’d so generously made for our benefit.
For example a couple of years ago, I was looking at the website of a hotel I was going to be staying in while on a business trip to Cologne. You know, I wanted to check the facilities; see if it had a gym I would never use, a pool I wouldn’t set foot in, or offered breakfast I wouldn’t get out of bed in time to eat, and of course if my room had a flatscreen TV I would never turn on or a trouser press I could never in a million years figure out how to use. It’s important to know that you’re going to a nice hotel with lots of superfluous things in it you’re never going to use while staying there; it balances out the anger you have when you realise they don’t even have basic stuff like a fucking iron or free Wi-Fi – or when they have a kettle, two cups, 8 tea bags, 2 microscopic tubs of milk and one sachet of sugar; who is that set-up meant to suit? Someone who changes the way they drink their fucking tea with every cup?!
Anyway, yes the website. I read about the facilities, location, etc. All fine, but from the moment I arrived on the site I had something nagging in my mind. A little voice who often speaks to me that whispers “Hey, McCann, there’s comedy here.” But it was just a boring hotel website. “Come on McCann, open your eyes, you missed the comedy. There’s Germans involved, they hid it really well. Keep looking.” I stared at the homepage, a little comedy radar blipping slightly more frequently on that page, and began to focus on the introductory message…
Mr Rolf Slickers, the manager of the
Pullman Cologne hotel, would like to welcome you.
Nothing especially comic there. “Those Germans,” the voice said, “So clever, thought no English would find it.” After a few more puzzled moments, finally, I got the message.
R Slickers welcoming me to the hotel. R Slickers. Crafty Germans, I almost missed it, they almost got away with it. I just imagined the reaction from Slickers’ superiors:
Rolf, the Pullman hotel has welcomed over 70,000 English guests during your tenure, and not one snigger. You have been an inspiration to all of us. Your porters Fuchs and Wankum endure constant tom-foolery from those potty-brained English, but your cunningly hidden joke name has remained undiscovered … until now.
The discovery of R Slickers ended the Germans’ secret comedy names policy, and they have since shifted back to being more obvious and blatant, once again catering to the lowest level of joke name humour, as I discovered just today.
Games company THQ had gone bankrupt a little while ago and today their assets were sold to other games companies. One of my favourite games series’, Saints Row – a GTA-style game in which you can run around whacking passers-by with a gigantic purple dildo, had been sold to German games firm Koch. Of course, the Koch association was funny but didn’t prepare me for what was to come next. I read quotes on the sale from Koch’s CEO, a Dr Kundratitz. Kund … titz.
The Germans had outdone themselves again, managing to cram into a business news story, not just cock, but cunt and tits and well.
I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next. Keep your eyes peeled.