Helge Schneider reigned among the most popular German comedians of his generation, even topping the pop charts with his novelty smash "Katzeklo." Born August 30, 1955, in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Schneider dropped out of high school serve as an apprentice draftsman, but quickly reversed course to study piano at the Duisburg Conservatoire.
After launching his performing career playing jazz in local nighclubs and cabarets, he turned to standup, often incorporating his musical education into his routines. Schneider's broad, patently absurdist persona embraced elements of slapstick, parody, and unadulterated raunchiness, all rooted in the complexities of the German language. He vaulted to mainstream success during the mid-'80s with the title role in the feature comedy Johnny Flash, but remained best known as a standup, regularly touring with a backing band dubbed the Firefuckers and in 1989 issuing his first comedy LP, Seine Größten Erfolge. With 1992's "Katzeklo," a nonsensical ditty extolling the joys of feline litter boxes, Schneider scored a left-field number one hit and claimed ECHO and RSH Gold Award honors. A year later, he made his directorial debut with the feature Texas: Doc Snyder Hält die Welt in Atem and even branched into fiction with 1994's Zieh Dich Aus, Du Alte Hippe, the first in a series of novels. A decade later Schneider wrote and produced his first stage effort, Mendy: Das Wusical. In 2007, he courted controversy with his title role in the feature film satire Mein Führer: Die Wirklich Wahrste Wahrheit Über Adolf Hitler. Twenty-one years after "Katzeklo," Schneider proved he still had a large and loyal following when he enjoyed another surprise hit as his 2013 album Sommer, Sonne, Kaktus went to number one on the German sales charts. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi