Harald Schmidt: German talk show host, comedian (1957-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Harald Schmidt
German talk show host, comedian

Harald Schmidt

Harald Schmidt
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German talk show host, comedian
A.K.A. Harald Franz Schmidt
Is Actor Television presenter Writer Journalist Stage actor Film actor
From Germany
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Journalism Literature
Gender male
Birth 18 August 1957, Neu-Ulm
Age 65 years
Star sign Leo
The details (from wikipedia)


Harald Franz Schmidt (born August 18, 1957) is a German actor, writer, columnist, comedian and television entertainer best known as host of two popular German late-night shows.


Early and private life

As son of refugees who fled from South Moravia (now Czech Republic) in 1945, Schmidt spent his youth in Swabian Nürtingen, where he went to grammar school. Due to his strict Catholic upbringing he devoted time to the Roman Catholic church, serving as choirmaster and playing the organ.

At the age of 21, Schmidt went to Stuttgart to attend drama school for three years. After that, he gained on-stage experience at Städtische Bühne (Municipal Stage) in Augsburg. His first role was that of the 2nd Mamaluke in Lessing's Nathan the Wise. In 1984, Harald Schmidt became a lyricist for the cabaret Kom(m)ödchen in Düsseldorf and in 1986, was honoured as "Best Newcomer cabaret artist" and toured through Germany with his own show.

In October 2005, his daughter Amelie was born. Harald Schmidt resides in Cologne with his partner Ellen Hantsch, a school teacher, and five children, the eldest being from a former relationship. Little is known about the children and their two mothers as Schmidt shields them from the public. In interviews he hardly talks about them.

Later artistic career

Before long, TV noticed the talented young comedian and in 1988 Schmidt began to host his first TV show, MAZ ab. This was followed by shows like Psst! and Schmidteinander, but the biggest boost to his career occurred in 1992, when he started hosting the popular Saturday night show, Verstehen Sie Spaß? (a variation of Candid Camera). Schmidt was awarded Germany's most important TV award, "Adolf-Grimme-Preis", which would be followed by many others. Just one year later, he was honoured as the "Entertainer of the year" and awarded the famous Bambi award and the Golden Camera.

In 2004, Schmidt toured through Germany with a live comedy show, featuring his former late night show sidekick Manuel Andrack. Schmidt is best known for his late-night shows:

Harald Schmidt and Manuel Andrack live in Karlsruhe

Harald Schmidt Show (Sat.1)

In 1995 Schmidt changed from the publicly funded TV station ARD to the privately owned German television network Sat.1 in order to host a late night show comparable to Late Night with Conan O'Brien or Late Night with David Letterman. The show, named Die Harald Schmidt Show, features stand-up comedy as well as famous national and international guests. From June 30, 2003 the show was broadcast five days a week, including Monday evening. On December 8, 2003, Schmidt suddenly announced the end of the show, following a change of management of Sat.1. The last show was aired on December 23, 2003. The following suspension of the TV format lasted until 2011, when the show returned to Sat.1.

Harald Schmidt (ARD)

In 2004 Schmidt began a second run with a new show named Harald Schmidt on publicly funded ARD, where he had begun his television career 16 years earlier. The show no longer featured "celebrity" interviews but dealt even more with the discussion of current events in a rather freely associative manner. Manuel Andrack returned as his sidekick.

On his first show after the break Schmidt appeared with long hair and a full beard, making fun of his long absence from the public. After summer break in 2005 the "celebrity guest" segment was reintroduced.

Schmidt & Pocher (ARD)

Late in 2007, Manuel Andrack was replaced by comedian Oliver Pocher, who had a more active part than his predecessor, and some other elements changed as well. The broadcast's title was changed to Schmidt & Pocher, trying to attract a younger audience. Oliver Pocher was less educated and "less intellectual", a fact that caused some criticism among Harald Schmidt's core audience and broadsheet newspaper comments in Germany.

Harald Schmidt (ARD)

After termination of Schmidt & Pocher, he again hosted the show under its former title Harald Schmidt, this time without any sidekick.

Relaunch of the Harald Schmidt Show (Sat.1 and then Sky)

On September 15, 2011 Schmidt returned to his former network Sat.1 picking up its former name of Die Harald Schmidt Show again. However, Sat.1 cancelled the show after one season due to low ratings. Starting September 4, 2012, new episodes were shown on Sky Hits HD and Sky Atlantic HD, two channels of the German Pay-TV network Sky Deutschland. Schmidt hosted his very last show on March 13, 2014. He announced not to return to TV. SKY published the last show on YouTube.

Concept and personalities

The self-proclaimed hypochondriac became popular for his cynical jokes, cruel remarks and wry intellectual wit. (Even though he is obsessed with health he was able to lampoon this weak spot in a self ironic TV commercial for a medicine curing colds.) Schmidt models himself after people like Johnny Carson and Conan O'Brien, but adds factors and qualities to his show himself.

He engaged in long, seemingly boring conversations with his "supervising producer" Manuel Andrack (known as "chief dramatic adviser"), who sat at a desk next to Schmidt's until 2005, and, like Letterman, also included his staff in the show, for instance, his cue card girl Suzana Novinscak and his band leader Helmut Zerlett. (Schmidt celebrated the return of French woman Nathalie Licard in his ARD era (like Zerlett she is still part of Schmidt's team). In Schmidt's original Harald Schmidt Show (1995–2003), Licard was involved in the goings-on in front of the audience too.


Especially during the first years of Die Harald Schmidt Show, Schmidt was sometimes criticised for making fun of minorities like foreigners or gays. He also did some Adolf Hitler imitations in his show (in one of these he as Hitler warned young people not to vote for racist and nationalistic parties). Schmidt's more unorthodox and politically incorrect jokes have garnered the show a reputation as cult television and his supporters accused critics of being incapable of understanding satire.

In the later years of its first run on Sat.1 (circa 2001-2003), the Harald Schmidt Show became a critics' favourite due to Schmidt's "intellectual" sense of humour, especially for incorporating many references to high culture (be it literature, theater, classical music, painting, or cinema), history, and philosophy. Another recurring item were forays into surrealism and absurdity that were pretty much anathema to commercial or "mainstream" interest: For example, Schmidt hosted one show completely in French (re-broadcast a few days later on Franco-German channel Arte, this Show en Francaise episode gained glowing reviews from French critics). On another occasion, the screen was blacked for half of the show making it into a "radio broadcast". Another time, he disproved a critic who had written that it is impossible to spend several minutes on TV just cracking nuts without anybody saying anything. The show's reviews and renown among critics gradually worsened during the years of its ARD run (2004-2010), especially because Schmidt's choice of Oliver Pocher as a new sidekick was considered a mistake that diminished the entire show's quality.

Other activities

H. Schmidt's first book, Tränen im Aquarium, was published in 1993, the second, Mulatten in gelben Sesseln, in 2005.

1994-2013 H. Schmidt worked as a columnist for one of the major German weekly news magazines, Focus. Many of his articles were assembled and released as books. The first of these, Warum? ("Why?"), was published in 1997; another 9 books followed.

H. Schmidt also voiced an audiobook Jerry Cotton – Mein erster Fall beim FBI (2003).


H. Schmidt have won more than 30 TV, comedy and theatrical awards, including three German Television Awards, the viewers choice award Bambi, the Grimme Award, the Golden Camera and the Golden Lion as best showmaster. In 2013 he became a Cavalier of Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur.



Year Title Role Director
1995 Nich’ mit Leo (de) Bishop Heinrich Ralf Gregan
1999 Late Show (de) Conny Scheffer Helmut Dietl
2004 7 Dwarves – Men Alone in the Wood "The Best Jester" Candidate Otto Waalkes
2005 Vom Suchen und Finden der Liebe (de) Psychoanalyst Helmut Dietl
2011 Stopped on Track himself Andreas Dresen
2012 Zettl (de) Conny Scheffer Helmut Dietl


Year Title Role Channel Genre / Notes
1988-1991 MAZ ab! Host West 3, Das Erste Quiz show
1988-1989 Hollymünd Host WDR Music show
1990-1995; 2007 Pssst... Host West 3, Das Erste Panel game, quiz show
1990-1994 Schmidteinander Co-host with Herbert Feuerstein West 3, Das Erste Satirical comedy show / 50 episodes
1991 Gala – Weihnachten mit Harald Schmidt Host NDR Gala
1992-1995 Verstehen Sie Spaß? Host Das Erste Hidden camera reality tv series
1995-2003, 2011-2014 Harald Schmidt Show Host Sat.1 Late-night talk show
1998 McSchmidt Studio Host Sat.1 Sports talk / 1998 FIFA World Cup / 35 episodes
2004-2007; 2009-2011 Harald Schmidt Host Das Erste Late-night talk show
2006, 2007, 2008 Bambi Awards Host Das Erste Award ceremony
2007-2009 Schmidt & Pocher Host Das Erste Late-night talk show
2006, 2008 Olympia mit Waldi & Harry Co-host with Waldemar Hartmann Das Erste Late-night-show, Sports talk / 2006 Winter Olympics; 2008 Summer Olympics / 14 episodes
2008 Das Traumschiff Oskar Schifferle ZDF TV series / 9 episodes
2008 Teufelsbraten (de) Salesman WDR/ARTE TV film / directed by Hermine Huntgeburth
2009 SOKO Stuttgart Prof. Dr. Lukas Gotthardt ZDF TV series / 1 episode
2015 Kulturplatz Host SRF 1 Art and culture / 2 episodes


  • 1997: Die Besten Sprüche aus der Harald Schmidt Show
  • 1998: Die besten Harald Schmidt Sprüche, Vol. 2
  • 2004: Schmidtgift
  • 2005: LiveMitSchmidt


  • 2000: Harald Schmidt – Respektlos und rezeptfrei
  • 2004: Die Harald Schmidt – The Best of Vol. 1 & 2 + Golden Goals
  • 2005: Harald Schmidt – Best of Harald Schmidt 2005
  • 2006: Harald Schmidt – Best of Harald Schmidt 2006
  • 2007: Harald Schmidt – Gala
  • 2008: Harald Schmidt & Oliver Pocher – Das erste Jahr: Best of
  • 2011: Ich hab schon wieder überzogen / Überstehen ist alles
  • 2011: Die Harald Schmidt Show – Die ersten 100 Jahre: 1995-2003
  • 2013: Die Harald Schmidt Show – Die zweiten 100 Jahre: 1995-2003


  • 2003: Kay Sokolowsky: Late Night Solo – Die Methode Harald Schmidt. Aufbau-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin, ISBN 3-7466-7044-6.
  • 2004: Mariam Lau: Harald Schmidt – Eine Biografie. Ullstein Verlag, Berlin, ISBN 3-548-36675-9.
  • 2006: Peter Reinwarth: Wer ist Harald Schmidt. Edition Steffan, Köln, ISBN 3-923838-53-0.
  • 2009: Julia Wenmakers: Rechtliche Grenzen der neuen Formen von Satire im Fernsehen. Wo hört bei Stefan Raab und Harald Schmidt der Spaß auf? Verlag Dr. Kovac, Hamburg, ISBN 978-3-8300-4299-0.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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