Swiss Performing Arts Award 2022
Mike Müller was born in Grenchen in 1963 and studied philosophy at the University of Zurich. Together with friends, he founded the youth troupe Jugendtheatergruppe Olten (later Theatergruppe Olten) in 1983. They created numerous productions and also run a small theatre, theaterstudio olten. After completing his studies, Mike Müller attended acting workshops in Berlin, Vienna and Zurich. He started appearing on the independent theatre scene in Zurich during the 1990s, joining OffOff-Bühne, Mass & Fieber and other groups, usually performing at the Theaterhaus Gessnerallee. He has also been involved with the Casinotheater Winterthur since its inception and performed at other major venues such as the Schauspielhaus Zürich and the Theater Basel. He has won the Walo Prize for Best Actor twice (in 2005 and 2013) and the Cornichon Swiss Cabaret Award in 2022.
Mike Müller rose to fame thanks to the late-night TV comedy show “Giacobbo/Müller”, which ran on SRF 1 from 2008 to 2016. The two hosts were guest stars of Zirkus Knie’s anniversary show in 2019. In the SRF series “Der Bestatter”, Müller played the lead role of undertaker Luc Conrad, for which he won the Swissperform Prize at the Solothurn Film Festival in 2017. Not just a comedian but also a versatile actor, he performs his own solo works – some humorous, some less so – in theatres large and small, most recently the inheritance comedy “Erbsache – Heinzer gegen Heinzer und Heinzer” (2021). Director Rafael Sanchez has also worked on Müller’s previous one-man shows, including “Heute Gemeindeversammlung”, which centred on a local council meeting. Mike Müller performed “A1 – Ein Stück Schweizer Strasse” (2015) as part of a trio featuring his brother Tobi, and SRF aired a 52-minute documentary about the motorway-themed production in 2016. He has also appeared in Swiss films such as “Mein Name ist Eugen” (2005) and “Moskau einfach” (2020).
Mike Müller is one of a kind, but he is also lots of people rolled into one. Whether on stage or TV, in series, comedies, films, circuses or plays, he can turn his hand to just about any Swiss German dialect, and effortlessly juggles a dozen different roles in his one-man shows. Yet he is anything but a jack of all trades. Few performers can match the finesse with which he lovingly and meticulously transcends comedic clichés – and few can explain the world to us as well as Mike Müller’s best-loved character, Burri Hanspeter. All this makes him the very model of a popular actor, a unique treasure on both stage and screen.
Nicolette Kretz, jury member