Show finale on ZDF: Permanent guest Atze Schröder reveals what happened on “Wetten, dass...?” really happened


Show finale on ZDF: Permanent guest Atze Schröder reveals what happened on “Wetten, dass...?” really happened

Mr. Schröder, how often were you a guest on “Wetten,dass...?”It felt like it was constant. I think it was Gottschalk five times and Lanz four times.

Do you still remember your first time? It was at Gottschalk in Düsseldorf. The then Prime Minister Jürgen Rüttgers sat in the front row and looked at me grimly the whole time. I think he didn't like me. I got along best with 50 Cent that evening. I have never forgiven myself for declining his invitation.

Where did he invite you? He said: Hey, we'll fly back to London on our own plane straight after the show. Party with 150 people. Come with me! I politely declined because I was already at the after-show party for “Wetten,dass..?” as a loyal German comedy service provider. But of the people on the sofa, I was the only one at the party. Not even Gottschalk was there, if I remember correctly.

What did it look like behind the scenes? It was a gigantic effort. They needed several large halls, and the crew arrived a week in advance with several trucks and started setting up. These weren't just crayon sucker bets. There was really something going on - all the excavators, buses and tractors that were supposed to do something wild in the hall. Each bet had its own local setting: stage design, decoration, set-up. That made an impression on everyone. "Bet that..?" was the German TV Olympus. The high mass of entertainment.

What is Gottschalk like as a host? He just has these ringmaster skills. He can hold the whole show, all the stars and the huge team, together with his self-confidence. You could also call it gifted wide-arsedness. He rehearsed reluctantly and relied on his quick wit. His recipe for success always included a certain ignorance towards famous guests.

Ignorance? Gottschalk never stood in awe. In interviews he never really listened to people and waited for a cue for his next gag. But only with these skills can you control a battleship like this without going crazy.

How does he deal with his celebrity? It's just there. He knows that. People know that. But he doesn't stage himself. I was once sitting in a club in Munich with my tour manager in the evening after my own show. Then Gottschalk came into the store and immediately started joking around, created closeness, used the first name of everyone and took away everyone's embarrassment. Then he saw us, immediately headed for our table, sat down and called out: "Clean, boys. I thought I was the only celebrity in the shop."

So the normal buddy next door? Not quite. So Tommy sits at the table and has a great conversation with you. As he talks, he occasionally holds his empty glass to the back without turning around. And apparently assumes that someone will pour champagne into it. That's exactly what happened. It's even better when he's had enough and leaves a store like that. He never calls a taxi. He just stands on the street and looks at the cars. When a fancy, expensive car approaches with a guy in it, he waves and stops it. Then he asks the driver: Can you take me to the hotel?

He just stops strangers like that? The crazy thing is: it works. He stops an S-Class and the guy inside is overjoyed that he can drive Thomas Gottschalk to the hotel. But he also does a program in the car. He says to the driver: "Call your wife. I'll just say hello." A few seconds later it says: "Tommy here. I'm sitting in your husband's car. Nice guy. He's driving me to the hotel."

Unbelievable. If you were sitting in the car and Thomas Gottschalk stopped you and asked you to give him a lift. You would do it, wouldn't you?

If I wasn't on the way to the clinic with my pregnant wife, I would probably be. Tommy would come along and facilitate the delivery.

How did you experience co-host Michelle Hunziker? A total buddy type. She can also lift a lot. We once spent a sensational evening in a hotel bar after the show.

Which of the shows do you particularly remember? It was a show in Hanover. I was a betting sponsor together with Matthias Schweighöfer and Lena Meyer-Landrut. She had just won the Eurovision Song Contest and was totally nervous. So Gottschalk opened the show. We were introduced, and Schweighöfer and I knew: three hours of boredom were coming.

Boredom in the TV Olympus? On television it usually came across as exciting. But when you were there, things looked different. The audience was sitting in the main hall, and we were sitting on the sofa there too. But a lot was happening on the right and left of the huge hall. Bryan Adams or Phil Collins played somewhere behind the curvature of the earth. You didn't get much of it. An evening like that dragged on. But Schweighöfer and I had a few bottles of champagne with us and hidden behind the sofa. And three glasses. Because we had our Lena. We sat there pouring and pouring more and more. By half past nine, Lena was already so excited that she kept dozing off.

And you? At one point I was as wide as a town hall. Suddenly it was my bet, and Gottschalk called from the depths of the hall: "And, Atze, what do you say?" I replied: "He can do it!" However, the betting candidate was a woman.

How did the evening end? I lost my bet and had to cash in my bet right after the show: I drove a spectator in a duck from the venue to Hanover main station.

Sounds unspectacular, but not when you still have a powerful one in your crown. The best thing was that the police escorted me. One car in front, one behind me. I left the duck at the train station and went to the bar of a fancy hotel nearby. That's when I met Michelle Hunziker, which led to the boozy evening in the aforementioned hotel bar. By the way, the duck never appeared again. I left the key behind. Someone took the alone car.

In 2012 Markus Lanz took over the show. What is the difference between the two? Markus was much more concentrated, totally focused. He rehearsed properly and of course did much better in interviews. But he missed Gottschalk's brash looseness. If he had to compete against someone in a push-up competition with a case of beer on his back, he definitely wanted to win. Gottschalk wouldn't have cared at all. Except that he would never have done something like that anyway. He would have told a joke instead.

You were a guest on the Lanz show when Tom Hanks wore the famous cat hat. And who put it on him?

You?Exactly. I was dressed as Markus' assistant Cindy from Marzahn, who was unable to attend that evening. So I took on the job as a substitute.

Tom Hanks is said to have later complained about the show. I was there and I say here: Tom Hanks was in a good mood, didn't think the cat hat was bad and had fun. He just made a few jokes about the show later.

If you click on "Bet that...?" Looking back: Who impressed you the most?Karl Lagerfeld, who was sitting on the sofa. He was incredibly nice and inspiring. He spoke to everyone on an equal level. With the stagehands and the other guests. Also with a few rappers, he wanted to know how they write their lyrics.

And what was your craziest experience? How Gottschalk was completely submerged in a huge mustard container at the show in Nuremberg. That was really stupid.