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She calls herself an “accomplished know-it-all”. After all, this farmer’s daughter from Aargau was a teacher and educationist before beginning her career as a wordsmith and cabaret artist. “Frontalunterricht” (Frontal Teaching) was the name of her first full-length stage show in 2016. On the side, she took part in slam battles and was runner-up Swiss champion at the 2018 Poetry Slam.
Now, Patti Basler is receiving the Salzburger Stier – the most prestigious cabaret award in the German-speaking world – presented in Meran, South Tyrol, in May. The jury praised the “hard-hitting directness” the 42-year-old Swiss native uses to expose the linguistic and political contradictions of our time.
Among Basler’s trademarks are her performances as the “instantaneous recorder” in the “Arena” programme on Swiss television, for example. She follows the debates live on location and summarises the votes at the end of the show – as poetry and rhymes and always with biting satire. She is not afraid of failure. “I simply don’t have time for it,” she says. The instantaneous format is absolutely ideal for her, since she suffers from self-diagnosed chronic procrastinitis. “You could say I have made a career out of procrastination.” Extreme time pressure seems to inspire her creativity.
Patti Basler has been on tour in German-speaking Switzerland since the beginning of March with her new “Nachsitzen” (Detention) stage show. Together with musician Philippe Kuhn, she explores humans as “beings learning in a worldwide classroom”. There are more than enough reasons for detention in life, but we all want to get back in the teacher’s good books. For Basler, the keyboard of life has more than just black and white keys, “it also has 50 shades of grey”.