Thefunnyauslander: An Anonymous Meme-maker’s Way to German TV
As of today, nearly everyone has an internet content venture. Fame, glory, and “the next-level” are on almost everybody’s day-dreams — whether they speak it out loud or not.
thefunnyauslander, an Instagram page by an immigrant in Germany, made an appearance on German TV, a step most people would call making the “next-level”.
The creator wishes to remain anonymous (read on to know why). I will not get into details of his person.
Here is the story of thefunnyauslander — an Instagram channel making viral memes about immigrant life in Germany. It is the story of spinning your insecurities into humor and then into national TV.
From Instagram to online business to Television
Since its establishment less than a year ago, thefunnyausländer has amassed a followership of 16k Instagrammers. But that is not even the best part.
“Last year at this time, I didn’t even own a page. But soon after I started, my memes got shared thousands of times.
I was thrilled! The fact that people related to my content, and that they laugh at it, gives me a sense of great, great satisfaction.”
Any creator would attest to how much joy followership and audience can bring. Think about the last time you smiled at a “like”.
What came next for TFA was a business out of a hobby and an appearance on Television.
Turning Instagram into “the real deal”
To most immigrants, it always comes down to “Can I turn it into an income stream?”.
This is a fair question. No one would leave home to strange lands if it was not for the prospect of achieving experience or simply, money.
TFA was approached by brands to promote their online shops, given its niche in the German audience and rapid growth.
“It was tempting but I didn’t want to put my brand on the products I was not convinced of. Some were laughable, like furry cushion covers with puppies on them.”
Instead, he decided to build his own brand. Having driven certain memes into existence, It was a very promising avenue.
“I opened an insta-shop. The merchandise started selling in less than an hour! ”
Right now, the insta-shop is picking momentum and TFA has a decent supplement to his day-job.
“I have my groceries for the month covered”, He winks.
“Before I could process this fully, A popular TV-show reached out to me through my insta-dms, asking for ideas. Can you believe that!”.
The TV stint
When he arrived at the sets of a shoot for a show, TFA was confused. He thought he was to deliver written material in the form of ideas. He had under half-hour to perform for Television himself.
His skepticism had a reason.
“A couple of weeks before this, a really large media venture had reached out to me through dm (insta direct messaging) for an interview. It had about 150k followers on Instagram. I went to bed dreaming of how awesome that would be for my page. The next morning they canceled.
To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement.”
With this experience, he was certain that this time too, he would be playing a small part, if any at all. But this time, it came true.
“I still cannot believe it, I tell you. But now that it happened, I see it as one of the opportunities that came my way along with all the wonderful people who support me on my page.”
That was that. Just like that, he could be a TV show he never watched, in a foreign language, for the content he fully wrote himself.
Not unlike everyone who exposes themselves to the internet, Thefunnyauslander also had to deal with hate.
“I like Germany. I like the people, I like the order and safety, and I like that I am allowed free-speech. It is not to be taken for granted in today’s world, I understand that, and I respect it.”
He sees his page as a voice for himself and other immigrants, offering a new perspective. Dealing with hateful comments or messages can be taxing on an individual who started not so long ago.
“Some people take it in good stride, I have very friendly and supportive followers from Germany. Heck, even German TV found it entertaining and not offensive!”
Thefunnyauslander says that he has received threats in the past, images of swastikas in his inbox, and sometimes hate in the comments. To be able to keep going, he decided his conscience was clear, and he did not intend to offend anyone.
“For this reason, I am anonymous. I would like to continue doing what I love, and I know that I mean well.”
What’s Your story in Germany?
TFA came to Germany as a student about 7 years ago. In the beginning, things overwhelmed thefunnyauslander, sometimes delightfully so, at other times, not that much.
“I thought I was weird, that everything else is normal, and I am the one that needs adjustment. Making fun of things or complaining was out of the question because, in my head, I was the odd one.”
I think every immigrant can relate. Behind the brave face that everyone puts up, there is always a slight doubt and insecurity.
He didn’t speak the language when he arrived in Germany. His social skills and confidence, he says, were sub-par. He looks back at all those times and laughs heartily.
“As time progressed, watching the same things happen over and over again, one gets confident in one's own shoes. I trusted myself more. I accepted that my perspective is valid, everybody's is.”
The slow process of overcoming self-doubt is at times hard, but liberating. I can relate.
Plans for the future
Thefunnyauslander is firmly grounded in the present and would like to continue to sharpen his funny bone. He says he has no plans for the long-term and would like to take things as they come.
“My biggest fear is that I will wake up one day and not have an idea for a good meme”.
He looks genuinely humbled by the experience.
Advice for Influencers
TFA feels new to the whole experience and says he is too new to offer advice.
“There are so many of them (meme-pages)! it takes time to develop devoted followership. In about 9 months, I had about 11k followers. It came slowly in the beginning and then picked up speed. Have patience.”
He says he experimented with brand, niche, and names a lot.
“One of the first mistakes I made was that I didn’t have a niche. But with time, I discovered what sets my observations apart, and now, I have my niche”.
His advice, though he doesn't want to use the word “advice”, seems to be to go niche, be consistent and have patience.
That was the inside story of an immigrant-influencer.
I hope the future has more in store for him and wish him luck, especially with his first year anniversary coming on the 9th of March. Thank you, thefunnyausländer for sharing your story with us.
The beauty of the internet is that anyone can be a celebrity, as long as they have something to show. I’d like to call it the “democratization of celebrity”. I think it is the greatest gift of the decade.
Good content gets picked up by itself, and consistency pays off. If you are an aspiring influencer, keep at it. Choose your niche and understand what you do best. It will surely work.
I wish the very best to thefunnyauslander and to you.