From hairdresser to television brand: Klaas Heufer-Umlauf turns 39
Joko and Klaas? Perhaps the most famous duo in recent TV history. Klaas without Joko? A man with his own ideas, musical talent - and social awareness. Birthday portrait.
The first career of Klaas Heufer circulation started down-to-earth: After graduating from secondary school, the native of Oldenburg began training as a hairdresser and successfully completed it. According to Heufer-Umlauf, he knew from day one that he didn't want to be a hairdresser.
"I also had my tragic evenings, where I stood alone in the hair salon and tried to screw in perm rollers on a plastic head. I smoked a lot of pot, was loud music heard and was very sad," said Heufer-Umlauf years later in an interview with the "Augsburger Allgemeine".
Joko and Klaas quickly became audience favourites
His steep television career then began in 2004 with a contract with the music station viva. There he moderated various programs and formats until 2009. He was also heard with a weekly column on Radio Bremen 4.
In 2009, together with Thomas Gottschalk and Guido Knopp, he moderated the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall for ZDF Berlin. In the same year, Heufer-Umlauf switched to the music channel MTV, where he stood in front of the camera for the first time for the program "MTV Home" alongside fellow moderator Joko Winterscheidt.
The show quickly became a hit with the public. In addition to talks with prominent guests from the music and entertainment industry, the duo scored with the audience with unconventional formats and entertaining duels. In 2011, Joko and Klaas switched to ZDF with their show, where they continued until early 2013 under the name "neoParadise".
For dares around the world
In 2012, Heufer-Umlauf and Winterscheidt tested personal pain limits for ProSieben for the first time: In "Joko vs. Klaas - The Duel Around the World" they faced various tests of courage. For example, Heufer-Umlauf had a gel bagel injected under his forehead, walked around on the edge of an active volcano or was tied to a plastic chair and fell off a cliff in New Zealand.
Their ProSieben show "Circus Halligalli", characterized by mutual challenges, should also become a hit. With their production company, Heufer-Umlauf and Winterscheidt developed various other show formats for the Munich private broadcaster, which they also moderated. In the meantime, the two omnipresent TV entertainers have even been traded as new "Wetten, dass...?" moderators.
One of their pranks caused a stir when they unnoticed smuggled in a double of actor Ryan Gosling at the "Golden Camera" media award ceremony - and pocketed the trophy.
The moderator's social commitment also keeps making headlines. Not only when Joko & Klaas have won airtime on ProSieben and dedicate it to socially relevant problems such as sexism and sexual violence.
Heufer-Umlauf called several times for fundraisers to support sea rescue - over one million euros have already been raised. He is also actively involved as a stem cell donor in the fight against blood cancer and is a member of the Friends for Life association, which works to educate people about depression and break down prejudices.
Klaas without Joko
Klaas has long since ceased to exist only as part of what is perhaps the most well-known duo in recent television history: he has been presenting his own satirical late-night show since 2018 – without Joko. Heufer-Umlauf can also be seen again and again as an actor, for example in the comedy series "Check Check". The idea for the show came from himself.
Heufer-Umlauf is also very busy musically: in 2013 he founded the band Gloria together with the former bassist of "Wir sind Helden", Mark Tavassol, with whom he released three albums.
"You make yourself vulnerable through music, that's the way it is. I don't have this wall of irony with which I can protect myself from everything," Heufer-Umlauf stated in an interview.