Karl Farkas (28 October 1893 – 16 May 1971) was an Austrian actor and cabaret performer.[1]

Karl Farkas
USIS - Karl Farkas mit Kontrabass.jpg
Karl Farkas in 1951
Born(1893-10-28)28 October 1893
Died16 May 1971(1971-05-16) (aged 77)
Vienna, Austria


In accordance with the wishes of his parents, he was to study law, but decided to follow the call of the stage. After attending the Academy of Music and Acting Arts in Vienna, he debuted in Olmütz as Tsarevich, in a play by Gabryela Zapolska.

After various stage appearances in Austria and Moravia, he returned to Vienna in 1921, where he was engaged by Egon Dorn, the director of the Kabarett Simpl. There he worked as a 'Blitzdichter' (nickname: the Tick), and performed together with Fritz Grünbaum in a Doppelconférence, a cabaret number created in Budapest and consisting of a dialogue between two actors, one of whom plays a clever and educated interlocutor while the other has the role of a blunderer.

He married Anny Hán in 1924.[2] Under the Nazi regime in 1938, he was forced to become a refugee because of his Jewish descent,[3] going first to Brno, then Paris and ending up in New York. There he performed for other exiles and wrote his book of poems Farkas entdeckt Amerika (Farkas discovers America). Moreover, he wrote the libretto to Kálmán's operetta Marinka.[4]

In 1946, he returned to Vienna, and from 1950 on, he performed at the Simpl again, now as its director, a role in which he remained until his death.

He also worked as a writer and director, contributing the program of all the revues together with Ernst Waldbrunn and Hugo Wiener [de], who in his turn also wrote his Doppelconférencen.[5]

From 1957 onward, he appeared on a regular basis in broadcasting and later on the Austrian TV channel, ORF. Very popular were his Balances, e.g. balance of the year, balance of the month, etc.

Farkas also is the main character in the Austrian revue comic book Der Bloede und der Gscheite (engl.: The Stupid and the Smart One), released in 2014, drawn by illustrator Reinhard Trinkler and based on the classic 'Doppelconférences' by Hugo Wiener.[6]

Works (selection)Edit



  • Also sprach Farkas. Heiteres von Karl Farkas. Halm & Goldmann, Vienna 1930, with drawings by Matouschek.
  • Farkas entdeckt Amerika. Funny book of poems, Triton Publishing Company, New York 1942, with drawings by Hans Burger
  • Zurück ins Morgen. Paramount Printing and Publishing Co., New York 1946, with drawings by Matouschek.

Selected filmographyEdit

Film adaptationsEdit



  1. ^ Celebrating Democracy?: The U. S. in the Writings of Austrian Refugees from Totalitarianism. Article by Walter Hölbling. (English)
  2. ^ Biography of Karl Farkas on the website of Vienna Tourist Guide. (German)
  3. ^ Jewish intellectuals and artists. Article by Alfred Stalzer, Vienna Tourist Board. 2015.
  4. ^ Larisch-Wallersee, Marie Louise Gräfin. Article on the website Austria Forum. (English).
  5. ^ Zwei alte Wiener als Gondoliere. (Two old Viennese as gondoliers.) Excerpt of a Doppelconférence with Karl Farkas and Ernst Waldbrunn on the website of Österreischische Mediathek. (German).
  6. ^ "Amalthea - Verlag".

External linksEdit