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David Hasselhoff Source

From a BBC article:

David Hasselhoff, star of the hit 80s TV series Knight Rider, is renowned in celebrity-obsessed circles for being Big In Germany; not only as an actor, but as a purveyor of soft rock anthems.


It's a common trope that Germans love David Hasselhof , e.g. in the movie Dodgeball he plays the coach of the German Dodgeball team.


But is this trope based on truth or was it born out of Norm MacDonald's running gag

... which once again proves my old theory: Germans love David Hasselhoff

on Saturday Night Live ? [1], [2], [3], [4].


My question:
Does (or did) David Hasselhoff have more fans in Germany than in other countries?

  • 2
    He might have been more successful in Germany than in the US, but it's probably widely exaggerated. He's well known for Knight Rider and Baywatch (probably the same in the US) and for one song that managed to get first place in the german charts around 20 years ago. And that's pretty much it, I doubt younger germans would even recognize him. – Mad Scientist Feb 19 '12 at 14:30
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    Wait, I thought he was influential in bringing down the Berlin Wall? :D – Lagerbaer Feb 19 '12 at 18:22
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    Spending a lot of time in Germany in the 1980s, Knight Rider was all over television there. More so than in other countries I visited at the time. Might be an indication of success, but I doubt there's been independent research into the phenomenon :) – jwenting Feb 20 '12 at 7:56
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    Just found this on TV Tropes: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff. Paragraph five gives a good summary. – Martin Scharrer Feb 23 '12 at 17:57
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    NO!!!!!!!!!! – Konrad Rudolph Mar 2 '12 at 0:40
1

There does not seem to be any evidence that the Hoff is more popular in Germany than other countries. While living in Berlin for a few years I certainly never saw any exposure to him than what might be considered average.

The idea may have come from the fact that he was popular at the tail-end of the 80's more so than other countries and had hit , Looking for Freedom, that was at number 1 for about six months.

It could also be that he performed this song during celebrations for the wall coming down, when his popularity had already peaked in most western countries.

Not to mention Germans being enthusiastic fans of Hasselhoff is a good example of a self-propagating meme, which was no doubt helped along by Norm McDonald incorporating the trope into his skits on SNL.

It's interesting to observe that doing a Google date range search for "hasselhoff germans love" and similar phrases for 1980-01-01 to 1993-01-01 returns nothing, while a similar search for 1993-01-01 to 2000-01-01 returns many results. This is of note because Norm McDonald started at SNL in 1993, with "Germans love David Hasselhoff" being incorporated into his skits since at least 1994.

This chart on the German Wikipedia shows the chart positions for Hasselhoff's different albulms. Chart positions in Germany generally trail behind Austria and seem to average out to be similar to Switzerland. Chart positions are not the only indicator of an artists popularity ion a country, but they help in giving an indication.

It doesn't look like any study has been done on this topic. Given the evidence we do have, there is nothing to indicate The Hoff is more popular in Germany than other countries.

  • Hasselhoff's time in Germany is over for quit a time. He was popular in the 80's, early 90's. You wouldn't find anything about him in Berlin a few years back. Also searching for a literal "German love Hasselhoff" doesn't say anything. Germans would not write it this way (not in English and not in the third person) and it would not be mentioned a lot by other people. Hasselhoff was quite popular because of Knight Rider and Baywatch at that time. He sang, too, but with mixed result, IMHO. I (German) heard with surprise that he was much less popular in the states. – Martin Scharrer Mar 13 '12 at 16:13
  • @Martin Your comment is echoing ost of what I say in my answer. Searching for "Germans love Hasselhoff" or similar strings was just to look at when the meme started to appear. – Sonny Ordell Mar 16 '12 at 6:38
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    Lol. A web search prior to the invention of the webbrowser itself is the ultimative judge? Okay. "Doing a Google date range search for "jesus" for 1-01-01 to 1900-01-01 returns nothing google.com/… " If it is not in google it does not happened. – Alex1167623 Jan 7 '14 at 16:26
  • @SonnyOrdell Alex is right. Change that search to "food" and you'll get results, but basically only academic papers. Nothing like you'd get without a time constraint. Before 1993, the internet was pretty sparse compared to today. – raptortech97 Sep 13 '14 at 23:36
  • @Alex1167623 I guess you don't realize just how much content is indexed on the web these days. It doesn't matter that the search included dates prior to the creation of popular GUI web browsers. newsgroups, emails and even chats are all archived and searchable. – Sonny Ordell Sep 22 '14 at 7:24

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