May 8, 2019
You might know of Klemen Slakonja from his international hit Putin Putout that rocked YouTube in 2016, and with 23 million views is perhaps the most successful Slovenian video on the platform to date.
Slakonja, originally from Brežice, started his impersonating career somewhere in high school, then studied at the Academy for Theatre Radio Film and Television, and fooled around on the local Radio Energy in Krško. In the late summer of 2007, he performed at the welcoming ceremony for a hammer thrower, Primož Kozmos, who was returning silver from the World Championship in Osaka. There, Slakonja was spotted by a national radio journalist, who notified Sašo Hribar, the main host of the popular Radio Ga-Ga Show, of the young talent.
Slakonja accepted the invitation and performed on the show several times side-by-side with the current Slovenian prime minister, Marjan Šarec. Below is an excerpt from his first appearance. The plot of this show was the funeral of Angela (one of the show's recurring characters):
In 2008 he landed his first job as a TV host, in a popular family Sunday afternoon show called NLP on RTV 1. In 2011 he hosted his first EMA show, which chooses the Slovenian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, and did so again in 2012 and 2016.
From 2013 to 2014 he hosted two of his own comedy shows for commercial TV stations, namely Zadetek v petek (Full on Friday) and Je bella cesta (Damn). Below is an example from one of these shows, in which he is impersonating Modrijani, a Slovenian oompah band, while the song talks about the uptight, obscenity free culture of the Slovenes, in which everyday words hint at sexuality.
2016 was the year of a big international breakthrough for Klemen Slakonja, when his Putin Putout YouTube video went viral, which was followed by much-viewed parodies featuring Angela Merkel and Donald Trump.
Also in 2016, Klemen Slakonja played himself as an aspiring serious actor turned popular entertainer due to public demand in a play Ubu the King, directed by Jernej Lorenci and produced by Slovenian National Theatre Drama.
In recent years, Klemen Slakonja has produced nearly 50 video parodies of local and international pop-singers, politicians and other public figures, so it’s not surprising that he last year decided to put them all on stage in the form of a concert. Three of his concerts in the main Gallus Hall of Cankar home were sold out. Then he organised a Slovenian tour, with three concerts that were to take place in Maribor, Ljubljana, and Portorož this spring, the last one scheduled in June. However, all of the concerts were cancelled due to illness and technical issues.
Although Klemen obviously needs some rest, we hoped he would at least appear during the Eurovision Song Contest later this month, announcing Slovenia’s “points” to Tel Aviv and perhaps cracking a joke or two while doing so. After all, he managed to post a rather raw but funny parody of this year’s Slovenian entry “Sebi” on his Facebook in March. The job went to Lea Sirk instead, who might not be able to hide her disappointment if Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl win.
You can see all of Klemen’s videos on his YouTube channel, here.