From petrol brother to dropout and back: Roland Düringer turns 60

From petrol brother to dropout and back: Roland Düringer turns 60
Roland Düringer
Image: Weihbold

His roles as a fanatical car enthusiast, a bumbling house builder, a Transdanubian proletarian or a fed-up official are part of red-white-red folklore. After a radical change in image and the founding of a party, things have become a little quieter around the cabaret artist and actor in recent years. Düringer will be 60 years old on October 31st.

The Viennese-born man’s path to the limelight was something he was born with. After all, Düringer’s father was a wardrobe clerk at the Burgtheater. Having just outgrown his teenage years, the HTL graduate was drawn to the stage himself. From 1982 he took acting lessons from Herwig Seeböck. The young talent made his first appearances three years later in the second program “Atom mushroom from the left” of the now legendary cabaret troupe Schlabarett, in which Alfred Dorfer and Andrea Handel – also under Seeböck’s wing – also played.

Meteoric rise in the 90s

In the 90s, Roland Düringer’s meteoric rise to the top league of cabaret finally began. In 1994 he released his first solo, “Hinterholzacht”, which was made into a film four years later, about the dark side of the supposed happiness of owning a home. This was followed by “Superbolic” (1995) and the successful program “Die Benzinbrüder” (1997), which was stormed across the country and made its creator the first cabaret artist in Austria to sell out the Wiener Stadthalle twice with a total of 16,000 spectators.

At the same time, Düringer also became a crowd favorite on the big screen and on TV. In 1993 he played the role of Grandpa Neugebauer in the cult film “Mother’s Day” – which emerged from a Schlabaret piece and was largely made up of members of the then-disbanded group – among other things, the role of Grandpa Neugebauer, whose statement “I sucked it up, I didn’t care” in the face of someone who had died Hamsters should become a household word. The director was Harald Sicheritz, for whom the jubilarian was to take part in a number of projects – such as “Freispiel” (1995), “Wanted” (1999), “Poppitz” (2002) and “Hinterholz 8” (1998), which, with almost 620,000 visitors, is still the most successful Austrian cinema film of all time. For this he also won a Romy as the most popular actor and the Diagonale Actor Award. In 2000 he played a leading role in Florian Flicker’s award-winning film “The Raid”, for which he was awarded the Bronze Leopard in Locarno together with the other two leading actors Josef Hader and Joachim Bißmeier.

As Engelbert Breitfuß in MA 2412

Companion Sicheritz also had a hand in the successful series “Kaisermühlen Blues” and “MA 2412” around the turn of the millennium, in which Düringer gave the parade proletarian Joschi Täubler and (alongside Dorfer as Mike Weber) the civil servant Engelbert Breitfuß and thus his place finally secured himself in the top popularity league. The “Office of Christmas Decorations” also made it to cinemas in 2003. This year, after a double comeback in 2022, Düringer was in front of the camera for another two episodes of the red-white-red sitcom, which is scheduled to be broadcast on ORF in 2024.

In the 2000s, the actor and cabaret artist slowly said goodbye to his image as a petrolhead and brutal printer, incorporated consumer criticism into his programs (“Düringer from 4.99”, 2006) or, from 2010, invited people to lectures that were presented as a trilogy (“I – A Life”, “We – A Circumstance”, Me – Alone?”). In addition, he repeatedly expressed himself in an angry citizen manner, later grew a goatee and tried to gain publicity as a dropout with a minimalist lifestyle “like in the 70s” by giving up his cell phone, television and bank account and moving into a caravan.

Own party in 2016

The cabaret artist caused even more amazement when he led the party “My vote counts!” in 2016. – a kind of political art project – so that he ran in the National Council elections the following year and during the election campaign, among other things, dumped a load of horse manure in front of Parliament. He was able to convince 0.95 percent of voters. His program “The Chancellor,” which was released in 2017 after a long absence from the stage, also revolved around political abysses. During the corona pandemic he took part in actions critical of the measures.

With his 13th and to date last solo “Africa Twinis”, designed as a “radio play with light”, Düringer returned thematically to his early phase in 2019. Two friends are preparing for a motorcycle trip from the Waldviertel to Dakar. He has also appeared in smaller roles in several film and TV productions in recent years. Last year, in his Austro “Tatort” debut, he was targeted by the investigative duo Moritz Eisner and Bibi Fellner as a former pimp in the case of “The Gate to Hell”. The ex-petrol brother is currently touring the federal states with his “Regeneration Evening 2.0”, a further development of the partly improvised show “Regeneration Evening” from 1999. Dates have been fixed until autumn 2024.

ORF III congratulates the audience favorite on his 60s with a special evening on November 2nd. The program includes the documentary “Roland Düringer – 60 Years of Full Throttle” (9:55 p.m.), the recording of a “regeneration evening” from 2000 (10:45 p.m.), the film adaptation of the cabaret piece “Viertelliterklasse” (12:25 a.m.) from 2005 and the production “Roland Düringer – Beginnings of a petrol brother” (4.15 a.m.).

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