No Time for the Lockdown Blues
Courage instead of resignation.
Creativity instead of boredom.
Getting things done instead of corona blues.
While all of these statements are true for Helge Thun, we have to turn the pathos level down a bit. Because the magician, actor, comedian, and TV presenter from Tübingen, Germany, is tackling the corona-induced restrictions with humor – and a great deal of digital pragmatism.
"For me, lockdown is both a blessing and a curse," says Helge Thun during his visit to RAMPF in Grafenberg. “On the one hand, it is hitting artists particularly hard as they can no longer perform in front of an audience. So many people who are employed in the cultural sector are also affected – theater and cinema operators, technicians, ticket agencies, and many more. On the other hand, however, lockdown has given me a lot of scope for artistic creativity. "
In order to make people laugh and generate income, Helge Thun and his humorist colleagues Mirjam Woggon, Bernd Kohlhepp, and Jakob Nacken had to take a new path – the digital one. Under the motto “Humor and Hope from Home Office”, they launched the digital offer “Reim Patrouille” (Rhyme Patrol) during the first lockdown in Germany in March 2020. It is a poetic, cabaret-like, comedic, musical, and very witty art potpourri.
Since then, 25 episodes have been recorded. However, while lockdown regulations might soon be relaxed, the Rhyme Patrol show will continue; the online format, financed by crowdfunding, has amassed a large fan base within a very short time.
One episode takes around two weeks to produce. “While we define the topics and the intros in advance, the rest is spontaneous – just like improvisational theater, only online,” Helge Thun explains. The major difference to appearing in front of an audience is the lack of interaction – “When we do Rhyme Patrol, we ourselves have to assess whether something is good or not. Fortunately, we are able to quickly recognize whether a sketch is heading in the right direction or whether there is the danger that it could turn out to be somewhat of a damp squib.”
Incidentally, during the conversation with Helge Thun the suspicion that stage artists have a tendency to be a bit narcissistic is quickly refuted. “In fact, I do not like to be the center of attention,” says the 50-year-old, “except on stage. There, I can slip into all kinds of roles, I have artistic freedom, there are simply no limits.”
By now, one or the other reader might be wondering what RAMPF has to do with comedy? Neither casting resins, dispensing systems, nor polyurethane board materials are known for their sense of humor.
"We were very impressed by how quickly and with which creativity and professionalism you reacted to the corona-related challenges,” says RAMPF CEO Michael Rampf to Helge Thun when they meet in Grafenberg. “As a company, we also have to constantly adapt to new market conditions, customer needs, or regulations. However, the corona crisis really hit home the importance of digitization. Whether video conferences, audiovisual product approvals, or the expansion of our online offerings – like you, we had to react very quickly to the new circumstances and take our customers with us, just like you had to do with your audience.”
The exchange between Helge Thun and Michael Rampf shows that the artist and the entrepreneur have a lot in common. Creativity and spontaneity, for example. Without these traits, neither improvisational theater nor entrepreneurship is possible. “Of course we have a medium- and long-term strategy for our group of companies, but without flexibility and the courage to break new ground, this will not be successful,” emphasizes Michael Rampf.
Helge Thun confirms – “Trying to plan everything, whether in your professional or private life, leaves no room for creativity. This also includes not shying away from challenges, but rather meeting them head on, as is now the case with the corona pandemic. Life is not a stage play, but here, too, almost anything is possible. You just have to have the courage to give it a go. "
We thank Helge Thun for visiting us and the very interesting and stimulating conversation. We wish him continued success – both in front of a virtual and a live audience!