BERLIN — In an unlikely David vs. Goliath scenario, German TV comedian Michael “Bully” Herbig managed to one up Steven Spielberg when his sophomore feature, “Der Schuh des Manitu,” kept the newly released “Jurassic Park III” from the top spot in Austria, and even went on to beat previous record holder “Mission: Impossible 2” for the best opening weekend ever.
The pic, which Herbig produced, directed, co-wrote and stars in, also boasts the biggest opening weekend ever for a German production . Not bad for what’s been billed as a Teutonic Western parody.
Herbig says he was taken aback by the success of the movie, although his latenight comedy skein, “Bully Parade,” has been a ratings success for commercial web ProSieben since it bowed in 1997.
In “Der Schuh des Manitu” — which revolves around the antics of a Bavarian Apache chief, his trapper friend and his gay twin brother — Herbig plays both siblings.
Although the coarse humor of his show as well as the film may be considered low-brow by some, few would argue that they fail to get laughs.
Herbig might poke fun at various groups but he says he has not received any complaints: “It’s easy to make fun of minority groups but it’s not easy to make them laugh while you’re doing it.”
Herbig, who made his bigscreen directorial debut last year with the hit comedy “Erkan & Stefan,” first gained local notoriety when he hit the radiowaves in 1992 with a comedy morning show that became the first German commercial program to be broadcast nationwide.