Günther Jauch and I have a fixed date: one of them only speaks about our friendship at the other’s open grave.
If I would like to congratulate him on his 65th birthday at this point anyway, I’m also doing this out of self-interest, because I assume that one or the other reader will ask in astonishment: “What, the Gottschalk is older than the Jauch?” Yes, me was already in the first grade of the Catholic denominational school when Günther was born.
And that’s where his father would have been happy to send him, because he was the head of the KNA, the Catholic news agency. The Catholic worldview is not alien to either of us, but with Günther there was also an almost Protestant seriousness that is alien to me.
Foto: Getty Images
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The two friends in 1987 at the international radio exhibition in Berlin Foto: Getty Images
I’ve always overestimated myself a little by thinking I was funnier than I was. Günther was always more entertaining than he thought. He didn’t want that at all. I remember a conversation with him in the landmarked stairwell of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation in the early 1980s, during which I screwed up his life plans and at the same time heaved him on the path to success.
Günther had just been appointed “Bonn Correspondent” for Bayerischer Rundfunk. A job that led straight to higher ordinations in the public domain. I implored him to forego this promotion and instead host a daily “radio show” at my side, in which I had given him the two-hour slot “infotainment”, a term that did not exist at the time.
Either entertainment or seriousness. There was nothing in between, but Günther was the “in between” person. Smart and funny, highly educated, with a license to fool around. It is one of the greater achievements of my life not only to have recognized this, but also to have persuaded him.
If I hadn’t done it, he’d be the director today, or – God forbid – the Federal President. And he’d be good at both jobs. But the way he did it, we all got more of him. We always had more fun with him than he had with us. Because he was never someone who wanted to hug the crowd, but he cheated so cute when the crowd hugged him that many fans squeezed even harder.
Then every time he shrugs his shoulders a little and wonders what people think about him.
Photo: Patrick Seeger / dpa
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Entertainment icons and friends: Thomas Gottschalk and Günther Jauch have shaped the German television landscapePhoto: Patrick Seeger / dpa
People know and I know.
Günther, you were never young, you never get old. Stay as you are and if you don’t know what to do, ask me. I am always a little further.