Christoph Sonntag: Everyone has magic – they have to discover it in time

FOCUS Online: Your professional career started as a qualified landscape designer. How did you jump into the role of a journalist and cabaret artist?

Krzysztof Sunday: There is always the question of what something looks like… and what it really was. In fact, after graduating from high school, I was into community service. There was a cabaret group there. At that time, I was looked after by the elderly and it was noticed relatively quickly that I had a large mouth. I was then asked in a short time if I would like to play in a cabaret. It was then that I had my “moment of awakening.”

How does he look like?

This was exactly the time when I was looking for myself. Then I would really do anything! I even went ice skating in Alaska. I spontaneously agreed and received the text shortly after. However, just before the show. It was very exciting then. Honestly, then I thought it would go wrong. But I tried anyway. It was in 1983. And something that I still have happened on stage. Let me put it this way: everyone has magic, and blessed are those who discover it in time! And my magic works on stage with the audience. As soon as I walk on stage, energy is activated between me and the audience. I can’t explain it any other way.

It sounds like a magical moment.

Krzysztof Sunday: Normal! Anyway, in 1983 there was a crash at that moment. Although I was an absolute newbie and had no stage experience, my performance was the highlight of this cabaret night. The press loved it. From then on, I was a member of the Die Bretter-Asylumanten cabaret group. I still have that feeling when I go on stage. No matter how great the excitement is, it doesn’t matter if it’s the Porsche Arena TV recording in front of 6,000 or the “Fantastic Four” with 50,000 viewers. I run like a tiger in a cage – and as soon as I enter the stage, it collapses and I am there. The energy goes back and forth. It’s like a salvation for me.

But you worked on two pieces professionally?

This is how I discovered cabaret. I went to college anyway because at the time I thought I was too stupid. For example, the mere thought of inviting Alfred Biolek to the talk show made me start to fear: what have I experienced before? What should I tell you? That is why I entered the academic path and simply – almost by accident – chose my father’s field of study. I couldn’t think of anything else. Somehow I was interested in everything … and somehow nothing more. I can still see a yellow and green book in front of me that should help you choose your course. However, I had 24 adhesives there! From medicine to sociology or architecture … When I started my studies, I realized from the very first day of lectures that it would not be my job.

What happened then?

Krzysztof Sunday: I have already written for the Waiblinger County newspaper. During my studies in Munich / Freising, I got in touch with the Süddeutsche Zeitung. So it got to the point where I was writing cultural reports for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Then a few streets away in Munich, on the Isartor, to the ecological magazine natur. They liked my writing style, and as a landscape ecology student, I was of course the perfect person for them. This is how I got into journalism. So my plan was to become a trade journalist. So, so to speak, eco-journalist. It was the big green wave in the 80’s. You could say that the environment is deteriorating and that something needs to be done. It really hit me then. Then I wrote environmental reports and continued my studies diligently.

And then I had a show in Munich, on the experimental Robinson stage. It’s such a scene… if I remember correctly, for example, Michael Mittermeier played there. We were all allowed to perform for half an hour in front of an audience. The organizers sat down in the audience, which then pulled out the artists.

How did it go?

Krzysztof Sunday: If you were lucky, you got a two-week engagement. It worked for me too. After that, I was a regular guest appearance at my backyard theater show. Hanjo Seißler, my nature editor, was there once. He was my journalistic adoptive father and mentor. After the show, he told me very clearly: “Christoph, do a cabaret! I’m not saying you’re a bad journalist, but you can do better. ” This was a tip for me.

So you switched immediately?

Krzysztof Sunday: no When I finished my studies and had my diploma in my pocket, there was another memorable moment. It was during a walk with my partner at that time in Remstal. I complained that I didn’t really know what to do. Stage? landscape planning? Journalism? She asked me what I would like best and I spontaneously reply, “Cabaret! Stage!” Her reaction: “Then give cabaret a chance for a year, and then see!”

It was her suggestion, I accepted it, and I am still totally grateful for it, because things turned out rapidly that year: the editor of SWF3 saw me on the Stuttgart stage. Then she made contact with the sender. I went and made two or three suggestions. The enthusiastic ones, anyway, came to my voice opening the “Chancellery of the state treasury to embarrassing losses”. Then he appeared on the radio for a good 2,000 episodes. Another unique, magical moment. Suddenly I became a radio star.

It’s exciting how the threads came together.

Krzysztof Sunday: Yes, it’s really crazy! Philosophically speaking, “Yes, just make a plan. Just be a brilliant light. And then come up with a second plan, neither of them will go! ” This is from Bertolt Brecht of the Threepenny Opera, and it is. You need to listen to the situations that arise in front of you. Then take your chance or just wait and see.

I pass this wisdom on to my children. My older son is now 23 years old and graduated in psychology. I want to be a musician. I advised him: follow your wish, but be open to everything along the way, pay attention to everything, and take impulses. And as long as you enjoy life.

What do you generally recommend to people who are currently playing with the idea to go in completely new directions professionally?

Krzysztof Sunday: I would say jump! In my experience, courage is always rewarded. And that’s a lot! In my opinion, it works like the law of physics. And the second law is: what you give comes back twice. What you take you miss twice.

I think someone who wants to do something new has already made up their mind! He already knows that what he is doing right now cannot be his life. Therefore: go with you! Go on the lookout! Life works inductively-deductively! Make a mental note to go in a certain direction. If there is a large stone – just walk around it!

At one point, looking back, it all suddenly looks like a plan! Yes, Sunday wanted to be an artist … and because he wanted to be a little smarter, he embarked on a career in science. He did some journalism on the side to practice doing research … and now he’s a big star.

But wasn’t it that simple?

Krzysztof Sunday: I believe we can get whatever we want. However, we must always be aware of the consequences of this. That’s it! For decades I have worked hard from morning to night. Continuously! The program was constantly improved and developed. It requires talent, hard work and luck. If you bring talent and diligence, you can challenge your luck and jump.

You mentioned consequences to keep in mind. What’s the price for success?

Krzysztof Sunday: It always differs from person to person. Especially in my job, the price is that you can’t be a normal father. At the same time, I started a family. I’ve always been away from weekend activities with the kids and unfortunately hardly ever been there. Saturday afternoon tour is out of the question when there is a show in Mannheim in the evening. Or in Konstanz. Or in Berlin …

But you weren’t as busy as office workers.

Yes, that’s why I was at home when the kids came home from school and cooked spaghetti. When the other dads were in their offices, I was at home.

What was your career like during the Corona crisis?

Krzysztof Sunday: During the corona crisis, there was much more to do in my industry … with negative earnings! Due to the pandemic, we have changed our route five times. We say five times more effort! Make appointments five times, print posters five times, give five interviews, and make all the preparations five times. And then all over again! So we had more to do than ever. But at the same time there is no more income. This is a specific price I pay for my freedom. Namely, the freedom to decide when to get up and do your things: do I work until four in the morning or get up at five? Or maybe I leave everything for three days and then I have a crisis? These are all the freedoms I need for myself. This is the advantage of a free artist. Alternatively, employees enjoy greater security and do not have to bear our responsibilities as they are comfortably amortized in times of crisis. Ultimately, it’s a life decision that everyone has to make for themselves.

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