© Ansgar van Treek


Since 1984 there’s been a cabaret-style alternative programme for celebrating Carnival

In recent years, the Stunksitzung has featured “The rat and the mouse”, i.e. the Pope in bed with a cardinal; a sketch in which Bishop Walter Mixa describes Pope Benedict XVI as “the Lord’s weasel, as dumb as a roll of communion wafers”; and a crucifix labelled “Tünnes” (a traditional figure of fun in Cologne).

Is this your kind of irreverent humour? If so, we recommend this alternative Carnival programme, because the Stunksitzung’s mockery of current social and political topics has lost none of its sharp satirical bite over the years.

© Ansgar van Treek

Definitely not a traditional “Prunksitzung”: the thinking man’s Carnival revue

The Stunksitzung is an antidote to political correctness, and its impudence is legendary. It’s a cabaret show that’s the direct opposite of the numerous “Prunksitzungen” held during Carnival. Both kinds of events are fixed components of Cologne’s “fifth season”.

If you’re not keen on the swaying and jollity of the traditional “Prunksitzungen” and prefer the kind of alternative entertainment that satirizes politicians, the German army, the Catholic Church and the Carnival associations such as the Rote Funken, the Stunksitzung belongs on your Carnival agenda. Be sure to buy your ticket well ahead of time and enjoy one of the many Stunksitzung performances during the months before the Street Carnival and pub Carnival begin.


The advance sale for the upcoming session starts in September.


The Stunksitzung ensemble: an alternative tradition

The Stunksitzung ensemble was founded in 1983 and held its first session in 1984 — and many members of the original ensemble are still active today. The president of this event until 1995 was its co-founder Jürgen Becker, a renowned German cabaret artist also known as “Heinz the Iroquois”. He was succeeded by Biggi Wanninger in 1999. The house band that has played at the Stunksitzung since 1988 is the Köbes Underground. And since 1991 the event’s venue, to which the fans flock, has been the E-Werk in Cologne-Mülheim.

Biting, ironic, critical: beyond old-fashioned jokes and marching-band music

The programme takes jabs at international politics and dislikeable characters all over the globe, and it features typically sharp local sketches and artistic numbers. If you like to laugh and enjoy seeing comedians taking swipes at Cologne’s Carnival and its traditional programme, come to the Stunksitzung — there won’t be a dry eye in the house. Kölle alaaf!

Just one click to the city vacation

Accommodation options for every taste

© KölnTourismus, Foto: Christoph Seelbach


The official tourist ticket

Would you like to discover Cologne inexpensively and easily? Then we recommend the KölnCard. The tourist ticket offers you free travel on all public transport and great discounts on art, culture and gastronomy.