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SO GERMAN
February 11, 2011 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Wetten Dass..? (Wanna Bet..?) is a long running German language television show where ordinary people are challenged to perform incredible stunts. While a celebrity panel looks on, someone might climb up a tower using a back-hoe. Or maybe someone could carve a pumpkin into a boat and paddle it across a lake. Many of the challenges involve people identifying things in strange ways. This girl identifies Lego Star Wars minifigs using only her mouth. This guy identifies varieties of canned sausage by tasting the juice. Other tasks show off unique physical talents, like this guy, who changes his clothes while running backwards on a treadmill, or these amazing people, who change a tire on a motorcycle while popping a wheelie on the SAME motorcycle. They don't always succeed, but it's almost always entertaining, and thanks to the official Wetten Dass..? YouTube channel you can see even more people doing crazy stuff. 63 more clips under the fold.

Wanna bet you could...
...throw plungers so they stick to your buddies' backs?
...drive two backhoes between two moving flatbed trucks at high speed?
...crack open some cold ones with a bottler opener attached to the skid of your helicopter?
...hold up a ramp to the exact angle at which a motocross bike can launch off of it to a precise distance while Denzel Washington looks on?
...balance an entire polka band in a single wheelbarrow and have them play a song?
...drive a truck over tightropes?
...go up and down a ski jump on a motocross bike?
...score goals on a professional goalie with a foosball table?
...drink from a bottle while doing flips on a high bar?
...pop balloons with your butt on a slackline?
...identify models by their butt-print? (borderline NSFW)
...open bras with chopsticks? (borderline NSFW)
...drive around a bunch of street lights on two wheels?
...climb a tower using only toilet paper?
...score a couple baskets with heavy equipment?
...hula-hoop a tractor tire?
...launch your BMX over a house?
...remove pins from mousetraps using your tongue?
...hula-hoop a BUNCH of hula-hoops?
...drive a buggy over the top of a lake?
...score a couple baskets with a clamshell bucket loader?
...play darts with a clamshell bucket loader?
...jump-rope with bubblegum?
...inflate a balloon using your stomach?
...fit your mouth around a wine glass?
...ride a bike on top of beer bottles?
...swim across a pool while balancing a teacup on your foot?
...stop fans with your tongue?
...identify breeds of cactus by licking the thorns?
...hold onto twenty-six tennis balls?
...roll eight meters on top of a basketball without touching the ground?
...walk across a clothesline while changing into the clothes that were hanging on the line? (semidressed buff dude)
...balance a bus on a seesaw?
...count money super fast?
...shoot mini-basketballs into a mini-basketball hoop using your stomach muscles?
...race a remote controlled car against a bike?
...teach a bunch of dudes to pull up their pants without using their hands? (pantsless dudes)
...drive a car on two wheels while sticking your arm out the window to pop balloons?
...blow out hundreds of candles in two minutes?
...paddle a barge using a backhoe?
...crack a bunch of concrete blocks with an egg in your hand (bonus schooling by Jackie Chan)
...use a forklift to balance gymnasts on a seesaw thingy?
...hop over hurdles on your bike?
...stand on a couple eggs without breaking them?
...hammer out a dish and cook an egg from the heat generated by the hammering?
...race a unicycle down stairs against a guy running up the stairs?
...bounce a golf ball on a putter while riding a unicycle in a figure eight?
...jump your unicycle from dumpster to dumpster?
...beat ten people at a single huge foosball table?
...balance all four limbs on stacks of soda cans?
...play tuba super quickly?
...flip coins with a forklift?
...launch balls into a net using only the exhaust from your tractor?
...climb to the ceiling of the studio on beer crates?
...change a tire while floating in a wingsuit?
...recognize a song by only the clicking on the band's keys?
...flip coasters onto your forehead with your lips?
...climb a rope while balancing a water bottle on your forehead?
...inflate a raft through your ears?
...balance fifty chairs on top of a single one?
...play an alphorn while balancing it on your face?
...pull a truck with a couple of fishing rods?
...balance a lederhosen wearing polka band on a seesaw on top of a beer mug?

(Many clips may require fast-forwarding to get to the good stuff)
posted by arcolz (43 comments total) 90 users marked this as a favorite

 
I should note that in assembling this post, I speak absolutely no German whatsoever. I apologize ahead of time if I got something wrong.

Also, I didn't want to put this in the post to keep it from overshadowing the cool videos, but it should be mentioned that during the most recent filming of the show, a person was horribly injured and paralyzed from the neck down while performing a stunt in which they jumped over cars on bouncy stilts. There was a period of months in which the show was considered for cancellation due to this accident. From what I've heard, the show is continuing, although an added emphasis is being placed on safety.
posted by arcolz at 7:42 AM on February 11, 2011


Excellent. Just when I ran out of party tricks that impressed my friends...
posted by jng at 7:45 AM on February 11, 2011


From the first one that I watched, I just knew someone was going to get seriously injured at some point. This is very cool, but that tower climbing stunt looks like one of the most dangerous things I have ever seen.
posted by jefeweiss at 7:50 AM on February 11, 2011


It's like crazy Japanese game shows, only encouragement instead of ritual humiliation.
posted by Nelson at 7:52 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


That cannot possibly be a standard backhoe. If the arm could lift the body, then any time the arm got stuck the backhoe would flip. It must normally have a clutch that prevents this.

Or maybe I should watch more than one of these before I get trolled by the first one....
posted by DU at 7:53 AM on February 11, 2011


This is great. Vielen Dank!
posted by Es ist Zeit, dass es Zeit wird! at 7:55 AM on February 11, 2011


What a fun post!

What's with the pervasive countdown timer?
posted by Western Infidels at 7:55 AM on February 11, 2011


I'm surprised you didn't link to something about this tragedy.
posted by chasing at 7:55 AM on February 11, 2011


Oh, dammit. Missed your first comment. My bad.
posted by chasing at 7:56 AM on February 11, 2011


DU: That cannot possibly be a standard backhoe. If the arm could lift the body, then any time the arm got stuck the backhoe would flip. It must normally have a clutch that prevents this.
I don't know what safety mechanisms such machines do or do not have, but power-equipment tricks like these appear to be a part of some normal operations.
posted by Western Infidels at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2011


Well, they are doing it. I don't know if that means it's a "normal operation". But the point remains that that one is probably unaltered and so it may be possible.
posted by DU at 8:05 AM on February 11, 2011


The girl with the Star Wars toys in her mouth, that one injured me something fierce - I thought my bladder would explode from the laughter. Sending this out to all my Star Wars friends (which includes some of the original crew)... those wacky Krauts.
posted by dbiedny at 8:08 AM on February 11, 2011


That's entertainment for tonight sorted out....
Thanks!
posted by SueDenim at 8:09 AM on February 11, 2011


Was das fuck!?! I hab' ausgeplotzed!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:12 AM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I grew up with this show. It's been on the air since 1987. Thanks!
posted by _Lasar at 8:12 AM on February 11, 2011


The treadmill guy video was tense!
posted by oddman at 8:13 AM on February 11, 2011


Do not, under any circumstances, miss the sausage guy. Somehow, it's one of the most exciting things I have ever seen on television. Seriously. No Hamburger. Maybe it's the music.
posted by The Bellman at 8:16 AM on February 11, 2011


Here's that Jackie Chan schooling
posted by DU at 8:18 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's that Jackie Chan schooling

Doh! Thanks DU. I remembered seeing that but I guess when I assembled all the links I didn't actually check to see if that part was included in the original video.
posted by arcolz at 8:22 AM on February 11, 2011


The particular combination of skills and knowledge possessed by Star Wars girl will one day make some German boy the happiest German boy in the world.
posted by The Bellman at 8:22 AM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yes to stopping fans with my tongue, no to everything else. Though having watched Jackie Chan, I would take a shot at that concrete-blocks-with-egg-in-hand thing.

Go to :24 in the fit a wine glass in your mouth one, and see if you can figure out why my coworkers in the office next to me just had to come over and see what I was laughing at. Why does he say that? What does it mean?
posted by penduluum at 8:34 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


This show is referenced in the first lines of Die Prinzen's excellent, ironical and entertaining song Deutschland, which I recommend anyway, but:

Natürlich hat ein Deutscher "Wetten, dass"* erfunden
Vielen Dank für die schönen Stunden


or:

Of course it was a German who started "Wetten Dass",
Many thanks for the lovely hours!


- clearly a cultural icon, m'dears, like Currywurst ... yum.
posted by vogel at 8:38 AM on February 11, 2011


Is this anything like Numberwang?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:41 AM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


As a kid, I loved the British version of this, called You Bet!. For some reason, the only challenge that I can clearly remember is a guy who identified songs from a selection of hundreds (maybe thousands?) based only on the way a candle flame flickered in front of a speaker. It was great Saturday night family TV, but seems so quaint now.
posted by rh at 8:54 AM on February 11, 2011


My friends and I adapted Numberwang to a bar drinking game. A few 'in the know' start playing, and one acts a a judge and runs the game. Wrong answer? take a drink. After a few rounds, one of our friends who doesn't know what Numberwang is, gets interested and tries to figure out what the hell is going on. After giving half-answers to the rules, the new person is offered a chance to play. At this point, the new player randomly wins or looses, and then as the games starts using dates, weights of measure (the more archaic the better), roman numerals, until the thing runs out of steam. By that time we get a bunch of spectators around, and it's loads of fun.

Then the game is explained, clips of the show are shown on a phone, and we buy him drinks, and all is well.

So far, everyone who has played has had a good time with it, and tries it with their friends, and so on.

*Note, the game isn't trying to get you staggering college-level blind drunk, nor to get the 'mark' to buy drinks for everyone, but does pep up a slow evening.
posted by chambers at 9:03 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


DU: "That cannot possibly be a standard backhoe. If the arm could lift the body, then any time the arm got stuck the backhoe would flip. It must normally have a clutch that prevents this."

That would be trueif you had no way to stop the application of force. But if you think about it, those hydraulic cylinders are usually set up for 5000 psi working pressure. Eight inch cylinder, 48 square inches, 251,000 pounds of force. I can see that.

Disregarding my ballparking there, a personal example: our operating engineer (backhoe driver) usally has to shift the backhoe to get a better angle when digging trenches. INstead of pulling up the outriggers and repositioning himself by driving back and forth, he pushes the small shovel into the ground (lifting up that end of the backhoe) and shifts it over. The ground doesn't move - the backhoe does. Hydraulics are scary strong.
posted by notsnot at 9:35 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks so much for not mystery meating this, this is awesome.

That cannot possibly be a standard backhoe. If the arm could lift the body, then any time the arm got stuck the backhoe would flip. It must normally have a clutch that prevents this.

It's up to the operator to prevent this. It's common to crab walk backhoes and excavators (which this is) when you are working to avoid a bunch of back and forth driving. It saves time and is less damaging to the surface.
posted by Mitheral at 9:46 AM on February 11, 2011


The only way this is like Numberwang is the part where they rotate the platform. I can imagine almost any one of these being on the other side of Julie and Simon. Or perhaps being what happens to the loser.
posted by briank at 10:23 AM on February 11, 2011


The dude popping balloons with his butt is not to be missed.
posted by eugenen at 10:27 AM on February 11, 2011


After finally watching last might's Community, I just want to say Abed should totally be on this show.
posted by kmz at 11:01 AM on February 11, 2011


Well in addition to be insanely dangerous, that Climb A Tower With A Backhoe stunt sure adds a new dimension to Objektsexualität.
posted by mannequito at 1:30 PM on February 11, 2011


I don't know what safety mechanisms such machines do or do not have, but power-equipment tricks like these appear to be a part of some normal operations

A few weeks ago I was watching a very experienced trackhoe operator working on the edge of a cliff. It was genuinely frightening to see how he used the arm to move the machine into and out of positions that were otherwise impossible. A really skilled operator can do crazy things with these machines, and at the same time have the delicacy to pick up delicate objects without damaging them.
posted by Forktine at 1:42 PM on February 11, 2011


Dude, she cracks stacks of concrete with her hands... the egg thing would be a bonus. Geez.
posted by odinsdream at 1:53 PM on February 11, 2011


odinsdream: "Dude, she cracks stacks of concrete with her hands... the egg thing would be a bonus. Geez."

Not that I'm experienced in martial arts or materials engineering anything, but if you make them thin and long enough, concrete stacks will break themselves.
posted by pwnguin at 2:06 PM on February 11, 2011


The Treadmill Guy's underoos are some kind of awesome.
posted by madred at 2:21 PM on February 11, 2011


This is the second-greatest thing that I have seen on the internet today. If it weren't for the Egyptian revolution, it would totally be first. Thanks!
posted by scody at 5:54 PM on February 11, 2011


Is this show selling out these stadiums or do they operate as some kind of half time show?
posted by Mitheral at 6:23 PM on February 11, 2011


Ah ha ha . You rock. Unreal, thanks for this post.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:54 PM on February 11, 2011


A couple years ago my German professor showed us this Wetten Dass video in which a man identifies songs by watching two men twitch their pectoral muscles. It is surreal.
posted by Stove at 1:11 AM on February 12, 2011


Is this show selling out these stadiums or do they operate as some kind of half time show?

In the summer, there are special open-air shows in german tourism hotspots (Palma de Mallorca, Turkey,...). The Palma show had an audience of around 9000 in the stadium. The normal shows are filmed in different venues all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland with a capacity of 1200-2400 spectators. On television, the show is usually watched by 8 million to 13 million people.
posted by ltl at 5:24 AM on February 12, 2011


The only challenge that I can clearly remember is a guy who identified songs from a selection of hundreds (maybe thousands?) based only on the way a candle flame flickered in front of a speaker.

Yes, That's the exact one I thought of too. I have vague memories of people driving cars on two wheels around obstacle courses too though...
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:43 AM on February 12, 2011


Gottschalk just stated that he will step down as the host of Wetten Dass, because he can not continue after the last accident has left a candidate paralysed. It is unclear if the show will continue with another host or if they will scrap it alltogether.
posted by ts;dr at 12:18 PM on February 12, 2011


The treadmill guy video was tense!

That one was my favourite. And was that Michael Ballack sitting on the sofa watching him?!

Noticeable in the "pantsless men" video is how very well dressed the audience are. Lots of suits and ties!
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:39 PM on February 12, 2011


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