Lena Kupke
After graduating, Lena Kupke first started working in theatre. Her stand-up career took off in 2016. Photo: Marina Weigl

Lena Kupke: “Cologne doesn’t pretend to be more upmarket than it is”

Comedian Lena Kupke doesn't see herself as a local patriot. She came to Cologne 12 years ago to write and act.

Despite being one of Germany’s funniest women, Lena Kupke doesn’t come from a showbiz background. Once she’d finished her English and history studies in Bonn, she moved to Cologne to take acting classes and write plays. Her career as a stand-up took off in 2016 when she made it to the Nightwash Talent Award final. Today, Lena is famous outside of Cologne too – as a TV celebrity, author and podcaster.

What’s your favourite place in Cologne?

I like going to the Stadtwald park or the yoga studio – and I can’t believe how boring that answer sounds thinking about it now.

Lena Kupke
A published author since 2021: Lena Kupke. Photo: Marina Weigl

What do you love about Cologne?

Local patriotism is an alien concept to me. But I do like the relaxed vibe in Cologne. What I mean is it’s not a stiff place. Cologne isn’t much to look at; it doesn’t pretend to be more upmarket than it is. So there’s nothing to live up to and that can be very relaxing.

What would you miss if you were gone for a while?

The friends I have in Cologne.

What gets on your nerves in Cologne?

The tourists that come for the carnival (laughs).

I like the relaxed vibe in Cologne.

Lena Kupke

When you finished your bachelor degree, you desperately wanted to get into theatre and you moved from Bonn to Cologne. That was in 2011.

I wanted to be a theatre actor. I just really enjoyed writing and staging plays. It was during that time that I met my best friends.

Lena Kupke
For Lena, the best things to laugh about are funny things her friends tell her. Photo: Marina Weigl

How did you discover you were funny?

Well, I’d always enjoyed writing humorous plays. Writing is a process. And that sense of validation when the audience laughs is something you only get in front of a live crowd. I’ve always got a kick out of that.

What’s your favourite format?

I really, really like live shows and podcasts!

Is Cologne a good place for comedy?

Let’s just say Berlin is much more suitable for stand-up comedy. They have open mics every night there. We haven’t got that many in Cologne yet. So I’ve travelled to Berlin a lot to see whether a gag works. But I’m glad to see we’re getting more and more open mics here too.

We’re getting more and more open mics in Cologne too!

Lena Kupke

What do you enjoy laughing about most? 

Funny things my friends tell me.

Being on stage can be a stressful job. How do you relax?

Basically, it’s those things we’ve all heard thousands of times but still tend to neglect: exercise, sleep and spending time with others, like an evening with friends.

Exercise, sleep and spending time with other people are Lena’s recipe for relaxation. Photo: Marina Weigl

What are you expecting 2023 to bring? 

I’m looking forward to lots of live shows – and to writing.

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