Age: 39 years.
Family: Partner and two children.
Lives: Stockholm’s inner city.
Other interests: “Reading, watching comics and traveling.”
Background: Journalist at, among others, Aftonbladet and Sveriges Radio, switched to comedian and debuted in 2009.
Career: Has done three own solo shows, participated in the comedy programs “Roast på Berns”, “Parliament”, “Släng dig i brunnen” and “Do you think I’m lying”. Competed in “Let’s dance” in 2017 and has appeared in TV series such as “Finaste familien” and “Solsidan”. Broadcast the morning show on the radio channel NRJ between 2018 and 2021.
Also runs the podcast “The daily Messiah” with Klara Doktorow and John Willander Lambrell, which will continue to run while Hallberg is on “Svenska nyheter”.
On January 27, the satirical program “Svenska nyheter” is back on SVT – with a new presenter. Kristoffer Ahonen Appelquist hands over to Messiah Hallberg, who has been waiting for his chance.
“When the program came on, I was annoyed that I didn’t get the job and then when they changed the presenter, I got annoyed when I wasn’t asked then either,” he says with a smile.
For comedian Hallberg, the assignment comes at the best possible time. After the tour with the latest solo show “Messiah Hallberg live – A life’s work with a humorous touch”, which ends in Uppsala on Sunday, that will be enough for a while.
Messiah Hallberg says he is tired of standing up. There might be a few spontaneous shows at clubs, but no new extended tour for a while.
— I like the process when I have to produce a show because it is necessary, but I have always been quite afraid of people and I am quite shy in private so it has always been difficult. After 13 years of standup, I still feel very uncomfortable going on stage.
“Swedish news” has created controversy over the years. In 2018, a drive with Chinese tourists caused a strong reaction from the country’s embassy in Stockholm, and last fall the program angered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by having a Kurdish comedian insult the leader during a sensitive situation in the NATO negotiations.
Messiah Hallberg says that it is inevitable that people will be upset by a satirical program. He has not received any orders from the SVT managers.
– No not yet. But it might come, he says and laughs. But there is an ethics and legal department, so I hope there are wiser people than me who can decide what is sayable.
TT: Don’t you want to be able to decide for yourself?
— Yes, but it can sometimes be good for someone from the outside to speak up. Then I have to decide for myself. Sometimes as a comedian you can start the provocation itself and then it’s good that someone else thinks an extra turn.
It has also become more difficult to make a program like “Svenska nyheter”, Messiah Hallberg thinks, and notes that everyone can now get into an argument on social media. But he does not agree that people are more easily offended these days.
— The criticism that you can’t say anything anymore is a bit tired. There have always been moral lines to cross. You just have to try to write it so cleverly that people laugh even if it deals with topics that can be upsetting.
When Messiah Hallberg began his career, he played on his appearance and background from wealthy Östermalm in Stockholm, as a kind of exaggerated figure, which has remained in people’s minds. But in recent years, his stage persona has become increasingly similar to his private self.
— Yes, but who is ever himself? You always have a public persona, but I try.
TT: Will we see the real Messiah Hallberg on television?
— A few percent of a figure remains, definitely. For the real Messiah Hallberg is the one standing in the laundry room with his children and I don’t think that’s someone people want to see on prime time on Fridays.
“Svenska nyheter” is back on SVT on January 27.