Thomas Gottschalk speaks out after heavy criticism

Thomas Gottschalk hosted the musical event “The Passion”.RTL / Frank W. Hempel

Two years after the initial broadcast date, RTL was finally able to host “La Passion” on Wednesday. During the live musical event, the passion of Jesus Christ was told in a modern form and framed by German pop songs. Alexander Klaws and Ella Endlich have slipped into the lead roles of Jesus and Maria. Thomas Gottschalk ran the TV show as moderator and narrator.

“The Passion” has been a ratings hit in the Netherlands for years. And RTL also brought many viewers to the screens with the contemporary reinterpretation of the story of Christ’s passion. According to “DWDL”, an average of 2.91 million people tuned in to see Alexander Klaws as Jesus. 860,000 of them belonged to the market-relevant target group between 14 and 49 years old.

Despite the success of the audiences, “The Passion” was not particularly well received by the public. People recounted the TV event via Twitter. Overall, most felt the show was quite embarrassing. Thomas Gottschalk also commented on the fan reviews.

“The Passion” or “GZSZ”? In this scene, you weren’t always sure.RTL / Frank W. Hempel

The Twitter community blasphemes against “The Passion”

There were plenty of moments in “The Passion” that sparked feelings of shame in viewers: Mark Keller singing “Through the Monsoon” as Judas, guest starring Reiner Calmund eating a bratwurst alongside by Klaws/Jesus or the cameo appearance of Wolfang Bahro, in which of course everyone immediately had to think of his starring role in “GZSZ”, Jo Gerner.

The comments on Twitter were therefore different. “It may be a very cumbersome method, but I really couldn’t have explained the term ‘grinding my teeth’ better to my mother.” and “Always a better love story than ‘Twilight'”, among other things, two Internet users had fun. And another wrote: “I only watched ‘The Passion’ for almost 30 seconds and find it all disturbing and embarrassing.”

RTL also plans “La Passion” in 2023

These comments did not escape Thomas Gottschalk either. However, the reactions didn’t surprise him, as he clarified to “Bild”:

“It was clear to me that such an attempt would be ridiculed on social media. The story was definitely not ‘cool’ and its outcome was known.”

“The Passion” returns in 2023.rtl / frank w.hempel

He would have liked such an experience “in an increasingly boring television landscape” with public broadcasters, so one must be all the more grateful to RTL for its willingness to take a risk with something like this, added the ” Wetten, dass..? ” moderator and finally added: “Some things could have definitely been done differently and better, but it was definitely worth a try and I don’t regret participating.”

Will RTL do better next time? In any case, there will be another performance of “The Passion” in 2023, as announced by the broadcaster. “We dared to do something. This has never happened before on German television and the public has rewarded our courage.”, says Managing Director Henning Tewes. However, it is not yet known who will take on the roles of Jesus, Maria and the other protagonists in the coming year. It has also not yet been said whether the live music event will be played again in Essen or in another city.


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