Flula Borg is our secret weapon we have stowed in our back pocket. When things are becoming more and more darkly absurd, we are in desperate need for a little positive absurdism to offset the negative. Well look no further than Flula Borg.
For years, he has been bringing his incredibly unique brand of humor to the masses through his YouTube channel, film and television roles, and appearances on Conan. His light, positive energy is enough to make even the saddest man smile. The idea of venturing into the world that Flula has facilitated both terrifies and excites most people. But for me, it’s all excitement. And I couldn’t think of any better time than to enter the upbeat world of Flula than in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It’s the perfect time to escape into Flula’s world of wide-eyed wonderment and excitement.
For a further journey, you can check out Flula’s new audiobook titled Wanderlust, USA: An Uber-Curious Guide to Sassy American Pastimes. Here, he talks about his favorite pastimes, which include surfing, Elvis, and the Kentucky Derby. He had grown up in Germany studying our culture from afar, and now that he’s living here, he can throw himself into it head-first. And it is safe to say this is unlike any other audiobook you’ve ever heard before.
I recently had a freewheeling conversation with Flula, during which we discussed staying safe, his new audiobook, how fans greet him, Flula’s dream of starring in a Hans Gruber spin-off, Conan O’Brien Birkenstock plant, and his 2024 travel plans.
Hey how it’s going?
Andrew! How are you? How insane is your world?
My world is pretty insane. How about yours? Are you staying safe?
Yeah, yeah. I’m just surrounding myself by with dogs. If they’re healthy, I’m healthy.
I’ve heard dogs can’t contract anything, so that’s good. I think we’ve all been curious how Flula Borg plans on fighting off the coronavirus.
I’m practicing my kung fu moves. I think those work.
I hear they do. It’s a great time to be creative at least, as you’re stuck inside.
Maybe, yeah. Who knows? Who knows what’s happening? You’re right, we have no choice. Be creative or be a sad man. We have to do the first one.
You don’t want to be sad. You’ve got to try to stay positive. Which you’ve always conveyed so well, this total positivity.
Oh yeah. I’m trying. Well let’s do it. Why not?
So I’ve had a lot of time to listen to your audio book and I loved it. I’ve never heard anything like this before. It’s totally unique. How did this unconventional idea come together?
Thank you very much. You know, I realized that I just needed to do some exploring and some things that I’ve dreamt about and was thinking about when I was a child. I had many interests, and so to explore those, sometimes you have to go see the weird people and smell the strange foods and touch all of the interesting locations… of course now, no one can touch anything. But you know, back then. Even two fortnights ago, it was safe. And then to put it together, audio was interesting. There was no video, otherwise it would be called television or something. And it’s a fun way to try to communicate with people where you can’t say “Hey look, smell this moon pie.” Oh, you can’t smell it. I have to just tell you about it. Which was fun.
And it’s a different kind of thing that actually sort of reminds me of an old radio broadcast, where you bring guests into these situations.
Yeah. I was thinking, as a child, I enjoyed these radio shows and things like this. And an audiobook is when people say “Oh, this would be a man or woman just reading the pages of a book.” And I thought “Okay, that’s cool, but that’s very limiting to me. I like to do many things at once. I love to cook lasagna while petting a turtle and running a marathon. And in an audiobook, write a rap song and also interview a person and then talk about the rain. So why not?”
Are you a “why not” sort of person? Are you always looking at things as an opportunity, instead of just questioning it?
I think questions are like the breaks of life. So if I ask a question that means I’ve stopped and then the rain can get on my shoulders and then perhaps a mosquito can punch me. And so I don’t like to do this. So if you just keep going, like that fish from Nemo. I forgot the name. Just keep going. Don’t ask questions. That’s the best strategy in my life.
I love that. I think more people should embrace the unknown with that sort of attitude and things they’re scared of.
Totally. But I think of course there are limits. As of now, definitely wash your hands. That’s smart. Don’t stop and think about what would happen if no one washes their hands for two years. Why would we think about this?
And so once you figure out what you want to do for your audiobook, what is the process of how you put it together? Is there a writing process?
Well, with this audiobook, how it began was with me having some places that, as a child, I was obsessed with or remembering. So I knew the beginning was telling people “Why should I go to this location? Why? Why the Kentucky Derby?” And so I knew I would need to start it with like the origin story. Like with Spider-Man’s origin story. You should read it if you like Spider-Man. And if you’re interested in this. And then from there, I don’t know Andrew, it becomes so chaotic. Because sometimes I think a song is required, sometimes I think I need to interview a strange old person. We don’t know. Then of course at the end, who knows what will work once you start editing to make sure they’re interesting. But it is different with all of them, except for the beginnings, which is “How will it begin?”
So as you start going down some of these paths, do you ever not know what the outcome is going to be?
Every time, yes. I assume I will probably have a snack and use the toilet. But those are the only things for sure I think will occur on all of my trips. And guess what. It happens every time. I had a snack and I did use the toilet at all of the locations.
That’s all you need in life. A snack and a toilet. And in the audiobook, you focus on your fascinations with American culture. Are there any fascinations that didn’t make it in?
So many things. One of the things that I did not really [get into] is you guys are such a sport loving nation and land. And so I am very obsessed with this as well. I was growing up with basketball and Michael Jordan and all of these people. And also your food is always so fat and I loved it as well.
And it seems like there’s always something new coming out. Are there any new fascinations with our culture in 2020 that really intrigue you?
Well the new thing for me is the American fascination with toilet paper. I never realized. It’s a big obsession. I didn’t understand why is this happening? But Americans very much love toilet paper. They collect it. I thought they were only collecting like baseball cards and Liberty dollar bills. But it’s now toilet paper. I don’t know what it will value at, but I’m excited to find out how these value over time.
Have you been getting in on it?
It’s too late. Andrew, it’s too late. This is like the dotcom battle. This is like buying GoDaddy.com in 2002. You missed it.
Everywhere is cleaned out of this new fascination.
Oh yes. Maybe in 2 to 5 years, someone will start to sell a little bit. Right now I am very confused as to how this will work and also, speaking of toilets, how bowel movements will work. I’m very curious how that will work now.
And going back to your audiobook, are you someone who’s always enjoyed doing things unconventional that people haven’t seen before? Or seen yourself as sort of an outsider?
I try to do something a little bit different, otherwise I will fall asleep. And if you are operating heavy machinery or in a warehouse, perhaps stay awake.
Yeah, don’t fall asleep if you’re working in a warehouse or something.
No, it’s a terrible time. If you’re a crossing guard or you’re like a poodle, you shouldn’t sleep. You should stay awake and entertain the humans.
I’m sure you wouldn’t have good dreams if you started sleeping in a warehouse.
Oh yes. Especially an Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse, that’s almost the most scary.
And as someone who’s done as much as you have, do you get recognized a lot? And do people ever get confused as to what to say to you when they meet you?
Yeah. I have a life, it’s very binary. If people do not know who I am, they just assume I am tall and strange. Or if they do know me, they are confused why I’m in the real world. I think they’re like “Oh, he’s just supposed to live in this one place. Why are you here?” It’s like seeing a turtle at a Baskin Robbin’s. Turtles don’t belong there.
And the fans who do know you, do they expect you to be or act a certain way? Are they disappointed if you’re not acting eccentric?
Usually when I see them, they are excited, so then I become excited. If they do not say anything, usually I am very quiet. I am reading a novel or perhaps picking bugs off of my friends’ scabs like a monkey. But if someone were to stop by and say “Hey Flula,” I would of course say “Hello,” and be very excited.
I feel like your excitement is infectious. You have this infectious energy you give off.
Well, I will tell you, this is the worst time in American history to have infectious energy. I wish I had a different way to describe it. But it’s fine. I’ll take it.
And there is this mystique around you. At what point did you decide you wanted to embrace it, or even sort of play it up?
Well I will tell you I did not know it was the X-Men woman that I was most like. But I will take it, thank you. I always thought I was more of a Wolverine, but it’s fine. And to tell you, I just kind of do the things that I do, and if it’s fun for me, then usually people will know it’s fun for them as well. And I love mystery. I do love mystery. Like The Mummy, I like that. Brendan Fraser chasing people. It’s fun!
It is. What would the Flula Borg action movie be like??
Oh it would be called Gruber, which would be the sequel or prequel to Die Hard, in which we explore Hans Gruber, the main bad guy in the film, and his life as he tries to terrorize the Nakatomi building.
And so you would be playing Hans Gruber.
I hope so. If they cast Bruce Willis as Hans Gruber, I would be very upset.
That film was a big part of your upbringing you’ve said before, correct?
Oh, I love that movie so much. And there was a role that I had to prepare for coming now in many months [in Suicide Squad 2]. I had to, like, gain some protein on my body and it made me want to just kick box and take on what is difficult. I would love to do something in the same way.
And speaking of that upcoming movie that you can’t talk about, in your wildest dreams, did you ever imagine you would be apart of a universe so expansive? Did you ever think it would happen to you?
No. For me, you keep expectations low, you stay humble, you don’t accept any victories ever. If something good happens to me, I’m excited, but then I’m prepared for a large boulder to hit me in the face, just like Indiana Jones. Callback!
I love the callback…
I heard comedy’s about callbacks. Is that true? I don’t really know. I don’t return calls.
And speaking of comedy, what is something that makes you laugh more than anything else?
Well, it’s very simple. It’s like a man looking outside, and then all of a sudden, a very large basketball hits him in the face and he falls down. I love that. It’s very simple. It’s just like a dog with boots walking down the street. I would love that. That would make me laugh until the cows return home.
What is something that’s made you laugh recently? Like a movie or a T.V. show?
Oh. True Detective Season one. Hilarious.
That’s a very funny show. What would you say is the most fun that you’ve had since you’ve been in the business of entertaining?
Well, one time, I stole Conan O’Brien’s left sandal, and by the way he wears sandals nobody knows, and then I took it home and I created a plant of it. And I waited 5 months and then I snuck into his office and I placed on his desk a full-grown flower bed that had been growing around his Birkenstock. And that’s it. I don’t know if he saw it. His assistant may have thrown it away, but that was the most fun I’ve had. Just watching this shoe-plant grow and knowing Conan will see it.
I absolutely love your commitment to a bit that you know will take 5 months to materialize.
Oh yes. Those are the best bits.
And it’s funny. The first time I ever saw you was when you went on tour opening for Conan. And it was so much fun watching the audience who wasn’t familiar with you not quite sure what to expect. And you proceeded to take the crowd on this strange rollercoaster.
This was very exciting, and I must tell you, I love it when people don’t know me and are confused and perhaps are not sure if they hate me or love me. And this has been my favorite moment of life and also entertainment. And what was nice about this tour was every show it would always feel like that. People like “Wait. I brought this cabbage. Do I throw it at the German man or do I eat it later?” I love that.
I’ve got to ask, how many different fanny packs do you own?
It’s going up, of course. It’s increasing. I’m like the stock market. I have 43 at the moment.
That’s impressive. And I’m sure you’ll get more, as you have to keep surprising people with your fanny packs.
That’s so right. It’s like the Star Wars franchise. It’s like “Keep going, keep going, don’t stop.”
One day you’ll have enough to have a museum exhibit.
That’s my only goal. Is a museum of my fanny packs. If it isn’t at MoMa, I’m done.
The last question I have for you is something I love to end every interview with, which is what do you want your legacy to be?
That I was the only man to cover himself entirely in Velcro and traveled across the Pacific Ocean wearing a tiny hat and holding a tiny boat.
What kind of tiny hat are you wearing?
You’ll have to go to Google Maps and track my journey. It’s happening in 2024. Let’s do this!
Wanderlust, U.S.A can be found here