The Hoff breaks down barriers
From Baywatch to Berlin, David Hasselhoff insists he’s still hip, DARREN DEVLYN reports
SOME see David Hasselhoff as a man smothered in showbiz cheese, but don’t be thinking he loses any sleep over it.
‘The Hoff ’ is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as ‘The Most Watched TV Star in the World’ thanks to Knight Rider and Baywatch. What isn’t in the record books is his undeniably extraordinary optimism and indefatigable spirit.
His ability to cut across demographics is illustrated in his recent film and TV work. One minute he was shooting a role in Ted 2, the sequel to the adults-only comedy about a potty-mouthed, bong-smoking teddy bear, the next he was playing a fictionalised version of himself in comedy series Hoff the Record.
“I’ve got the college crowd ... I have a big following with that group, but I always want to keep the family audiences, it’s really important to me,” Hasselhoff says.
“I did SpongeBob SquarePants and a heap of things – Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent – to keep me hip with the kids.”
His latest venture is fronting the documentary Hasselhoff vs The Berlin Wall, inspired by the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall. It features interviews with people who miraculously negotiated the wall to flee from East to West.
“My song, Looking For Freedom, was a No.1 hit in 1989,” he says.
“The song became an anthem for one of the most hated symbols (the wall) of communism.”
Following the crumbling of the wall, Hasselhoff, resplendent in a battery-powered leather jacket with flashing lights, performed the song for a massive crowd at the site.
He was not just thrilled to be invited to perform at the New Year’s Eve celebration, but shocked to discover his song had been a hit in the East – passed around on bootleg cassettes.
It gave rise to the widespread but erroneous rumour that he had a hand in toppling the wall and was a factor in the reunification of Germany.
“I don’t have to explain myself or apologise to anybody, I know what I did,” he says. “I know I had nothing to do with the Berlin Wall coming down. I had nothing to do with anything except for fact that everyone in East Germany was singing a song called Looking for Freedom.
“When they asked me to sing I said, ‘OK, as long as I can sing on top of the wall’. They said ‘yes’ and I went, ‘Oh my god, they said yes’.”
Hasselhoff, 62, has sung, danced and acted since the age of seven. He’s had some well-documented battles to keep his private life on the straight and narrow.
“Sometimes the knocks you take are not by choice,” he says.
“You just have to pick yourself up and move on.
“Everyone knows when we screw up; everyone knows when you do wrong.
“And you go, ‘I know I was stupid, I know I was an idiot, but so what, it’s part of life.” HASSELHOFF VS THE BERLIN WALL SUNDAY, 6.30PM, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC