Michael MittermeierView in iTunes
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Michael Mittermeier combined conventional standup with elements of cabaret to emerge as the most popular German comedian of his generation. Born in Dorfen, Upper Bavaria, on April 3, 1966, Mittermeier first dreamed of a career playing rock & roll. After learning guitar as a child, in 1987 he was plucked from the crowd to play guitar with his favorite band, U2, during their performance in Munich. He nevertheless gravitated toward comedy, in 1994 even writing his Universität München thesis on the subject of standup. Around the same time Mittermeier teamed with the Berliner Kabarett to develop the musical comedy showcase Killer Montag. In early 1996, he headlined the cult comedy Star Trek Special: Der Zorn des Kirk, and that same year won the Prix Pantheon at Bonn's German Spaß-und-Satire-Open. The resulting attention set the stage for Mittermeier's breakthrough one-man show, Zapped!, a series of riffs on topics ranging from health insurance to the American television show MacGyver. After touring to sellout crowds in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, he issued Zapped! on CD in early 1997, winning the Golden Europa prize in the comedy category. In 1999 Mittermeier earned the first of back-to-back Deutscher Comedypreis honors for Best Comedian -- his second win coincided with the release of his sophomore album, Back to Life, and in 2001 he even scored a novelty hit single with "Kumba Yo!," a collaboration with the rock outfit Guano Apes. Mittermeier issued his third LP, Paranoid, in 2004, supporting the project with an English-language tour of the New York City comedy circuit. He also earned global attention on July 2, 2005, when he performed on the Berlin stage of the international Live 8 event. ~ Jason Ankeny