Biography

Otto Jespersen (born 21 July 1954) is a Norwegian comedian and satirist. He started in the local radio Radio Nova in Oslo. In 1988 he was, together with his collaborates Stig Holmer and Charlo Halvorsen, to launch the magazine Revolvermagasinet on Norwegian national radio. This, a night time, underground-ish show, focused on satire and weird interviews. In 1992 Jespersen, Holmer and Halvorsen teamed up for in The Show - storbymoro for enslige i Utkant-Norge on national television. The Show was the Norwegian candidate for the Rose d’Or in 1993, but several judges left the theatre even before it was over.

During the 1994 Winter Olympics he was hired as stunt reporter for the national television, resulting in positive criticism and fame, prompting the creation of the first of the four O.J.series, in which Jespersen created several later well known characters like Tårnfrid, Wirrum, Den ensomme rytter, Baron Blod, Nazi-Per, Birger and Friskusen as well as interviewing celebrities. He has also made two series of Trotto Libre together with Trond Kirkvaag.

In 2002 he joined fellow comedians Silje Stang and Thomas Giertsen hosting the weekly comedy show Torsdagsklubben gaining a reputation for his scathing end monologue. Stang and Giertsen had formerly run the same concept under the name Mandagsklubben.

The most controversial incident came during the fall of 2002 when his end monologue targeted the Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. In the monologue he ridiculed Bondevik’s use of medication and his low popularity. He finished off by encouraging ‘all good forces’ to invite Christer Pettersson, a suspect of the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, to Oslo. The monologue stirred debate in Norway after Bondevik in an interview denounced the monologue calling it cowardly and distasteful. In the wake of the controversy, Jespersen was faced with a number of death threats.[1] Jespersen burned the Old Testament in spring of 2006[2], but refused to do the same with the Quran, stressing that he wanted to live longer than next week. Once he went as far as burning an American Flag on the air, during one of his end monologues. He lit a candle whilst the flag was revealed, apparently held by a backstage worker, and the flag was put closer and closer towards the candle until, at the end of the monologue, it caught fire. When he heard the audience’s response to this (mostly booing and gasping, but also some laughter, since his monologue was performed with an air of romantic nationalism and patriotism). He then turned around to see the flag on fire, and then closed the show with the lines “Oh. No, this was wrong. See you next time.” It has been debated whether this was a staged event or accidental. He never delivered an official statement.

His most recent show, called “Rikets Røst”, was first aired in early 2005. Among the shows recurring contributors is Zahid Ali, a Norwegian-Pakistani comedian.

Jespersen is a honorary member of SOS Racisme and formerly a member of Red Youth.

Edited by Kanuca on 16 May 2007, 16:57

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