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Spoofing Herzog and Herzog Spoofing

Abstract

This essay explores how humor, parody, and self-parody have shaped and reshaped the public image of the filmmaker Werner Herzog, especially since the 1990s and with the help of various spectators, particularly those who create and circulate their own images of the iconic German director. To see this dynamic at work, we have to look not only at Herzog’s films, but also at his many interviews and public appearances, at his performances in films made by other directors, at animated cartoons and reality TV programs, at Internet blogs and streaming videos, at comedy websites and live-comedy shows. Collectively, this material suggests that the revitalization of Herzog’s career in recent years has relied in part on humor and parody: that of the filmmaker and that of his audience.

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