About Vienna - Your City Travel Guide
About Vienna - Your City Travel Guide
About Vienna - Your City Travel Guide


Austrian cabaret: Josef Hader

Cabaret / Comedy in Vienna

Vienna looks back on a thriving tradition of cabaret, a form of popular theater which often consists of short sketches, songs and parodies presented by a ‘Conférencier’, an eloquent entertainer. The first cabarets in Austria were staged at the beginning of the 20th century in Vienna.

Fritz Grünbaum and Karl Farkas were early masters of the cabaret and developed the form of ‘Doppelconferénce’, a voluble version of Stan and Olli. They were directors of a Viennese cabaret institution: the ‘Simpl’ theater. After Grünbaum’s death Ernst Waldbrunn became Farkas’ partner. Their conferences were amusing rather than critical.

Political topics became of interest in the early 1930s as opposition to the tendencies which lead to Austria’s annexion to Hitler’s Germany. After World War II both traditions of cabaret were merged and many cabaret artists presented programs with a good mix of easy laughs and political and social criticism and biting satire. Soloprograms became more frequent than sketches and songs presented by an entertainer. Helmut Qualtinger and Carl Merz focused on the literary quality of cabaret and created with their program ‘Der Herr Karl’ an Austrian cabaret classic and a haunting portrait of a philistine.

The 1980s brought a downright boom of cabaret in Austria. New theaters like the ‘Kulisse’, ‘Wiener Metropol’, ‘Kabarett Niedermair’ or the ‘Spektakel’ and new artist like Lukas Resetarits, Josef Hader, Andreas Vitasek, Dolores Schmidinger and Roland Düringer emerged with bestselling programs and sold out shows often transcending the traditional form of cabaret.

Cabaret artists and popular programs play an important role in Austria’s film industry.