The Hilarious Heino Happy Hour with Marc Hickox, featuring Boyd Banks, Ken Haworth, the Doo Wops, Lee Smart, Laurie Elliott, Mike "Nug" Nahrgang, Kristeen von Hagen and Lisa Brooke. Thursday and Friday (August 29 and 30) at 9 pm. $10. Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). 416-343-0011. Rating: NNNNN
Not every talk show features discussions about the fine points of German porn or a guest dressed up as Sergeant Schultz from TV's Hogan's Heroes.But The Hilarious Heino Happy Hour is no ordinary talk show.
The two-night comic send-up of all weird things German is the brainchild of Marc Hickox, ex of Second City.
He portrays actual folksinger and "voice of Germany" Heino, the shockingly blond, sunglasses-wearing, stiff-bodied entertainer who's taken on cult status outside of his country, even if he's a bit of an embarrassment to hipsters inside it.
"He's kind of like the German Rita MacNeil," says Hickox. "Some not-so-cool performer everyone in the country knows but doesn't really want to talk about."
After seeing footage of Heino in a bad German TV compilation called Kraut Schlock, Hickox was intrigued.
Soon he was donning a blond wig (the same one he's used to portray Colonel Sanders), putting on shades and dusting off a turtleneck to "do" Heino at rooms like Pirate Video Cabaret and Eclectic Circus.
"I thought, "Maybe this will be weird and fun for five minutes,'" says Hickox.
The character killed.
"Ninety per cent of the people who see it have never heard of him. They just think he's a weird character. But every once in a while someone will go apeshit. They come up to me and tell me that as a kid they saw Heino perform at Oktoberfest in Kitchener."
Hickox's Heino hosts two consecutive nights at the Tim Sims Playhouse, with music, beer and guests including some of the city's top comics: stand-up Boyd Banks, who'll talk about his passion for German porn; Mike Nahrgang as Sergeant Schultz; and Kristeen von Hagen as herself because she's got a German-sounding name.
To show how hip Heino's become, he'll sing a rap song -- called Das Booty -- and will have guests Radio Free Luxembourg do a Kraftwerk parody to make fun of, in Hickox's words, "the über-cool German side of things, that weird techno music."
The oddest guest of all, though, may be an as yet unnamed employee of the Canadian German consulate.
"We're getting dangerously close to blurring truth and fiction," says Hickox. "I don't know if they know what they're getting into. But the spirit of the show is definitely fun."
If an odour of political extremism clings to Heino's name, says Hickox, it's probably because of the singer's choice of material -- traditional German folk songs that have endeared him to right-wingers.
The singer himself is apolitical, says Hickox, who OK'd all the material with co-producer Daniel Shehori, who's Jewish.
Still, Heino -- who at one point gets to sing Edelweiss to a white sock puppet -- will make a couple of extremist gaffes during the show.
For instance, he'll talk about this year's World Cup, and "how close Germany came once again to conquering the world.
"He's an old-school German who just doesn't know any better," laughs Hickox. "He says some things that are a bit off-colour. But the fact is, everyone's willkommen."email@example.com