Director, actor, author, and producer – Munich-born Michael Bully Herbig has been part of the German comedy landscape for years. From 1992 – 1994 Bully was the man behind the microphone for Radio Gong’s Morning Show and from 1994 to 1995 for Radio Energy.
In 1996, after 800 episodes of the popular radio comedy series “Die Bayern-Cops” – which was awarded the BLM Hörfunkpreis (BLM radio award presented by the Bavarian Regulatory authority for Commercial Broadcasting) for the best comedy series of 1996 – he founded his company herbX medienproduktion gmbh which boasts a varied portfolio of work, including scriptwriting for a number of comedy programs. This was followed by the foundation of herbX tonstudios recording studios and one year later, together with his business partner and editor Alexander Dittner, he established the post-production company Xframe gmbh.
Moreover, he was the author, actor, director and producer behind six series of the comedy show “bullyparade” which was broadcast by ProSieben and proved to be highly popular. This show left Michael Herbig feeling very pleased with himself – and well he might, as his work as an author, actor and director of this popular comedy series won him three nominations for the renowned Golden Rose of Montreux comedy award and two nominations for the German Television Award 2000 and 2001.
Michael Herbig also played a lead role in the RTL movie “Die Bademeister” and hosted the first weekly radio show to be broadcast all over Germany: “Bully’s Late Light Show”. For the ProSieben show “Easy Bully”, which also garnered a nomination for the Golden Rose of Montreux, he wrote the script then switched to the other side of the camera to act the lead. In 1998, he also released his first comedy CD, “Bully – Feines Fressi”.
One year later this man of many talents was making cinema audiences laugh for the first time: he made his directorial debut with “Erkan & Stefan”, the first cinematic adventure for the totally crazy comedy duo of Erkan Maria Moosleitner and Stefan Lust.
For the Disney film “The Emperor’s New Groove” he dubbed the main role of the llama “Kusco”, at the same time as his second comedy CD “Unser (T)Raumschiff” made it into the charts.
In January 1999 Bully founded the film production company herbX film gmbh, whose first cinema project was “Manitou’s Shoe”. Apart from his role as producer and author, he also took on the additional roles of director and double lead for this western comedy film. Seen by almost 12 million cinemagoers, “Manitou’s Shoe” became the most successful German film, and in Austria the most successful film, of all time! This project won Michael Bully Herbig a plethora of awards, including the Bavarian and the German Film Awards, as well as the coveted Bambi 2001. When “Dreamship Surprise – PERIOD 1” arrived in cinemas in 2004, he achieved something unique: With just two cinema films Michael Bully Herbig has so far had over 21 million cinemagoers rolling in the aisles!
No other producer or director had ever achieved such a feat before!
Another year later the first series of the innovative comedy show “Bully & Rick” received the German Comedy Award.
While Bully was still producer, author, director and actor for the second series of “Bully & Rick”, he played the role of “Hui Buh – the Castle Ghost” in the cinema film with the same title while at the same time producing his first computer-animated adventure film “Lissi and the Wild Emperor”– a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the popular “Sissi” films. In doing so, Bully became the first director in Germany to venture into 3D comedies, and it was most definitely worthwhile: “Lissi and the Wild Emperor” became the most successful German movie of 2007.
In 2008 cinema audiences were able to admire Bully’s talents in a really unusual role: in “Asterix at the Olympic Games” he showed his quiet side, and in the fall he created a real stir in the heavens when he appeared as “Boanlkramer” in Joseph Vilsmaiers “Die Geschichte vom Brandner Kaspar”, a Bavarian folk tale of a blacksmith who is visited by the grim reaper, who he then tricks into awarding him some further years on earth. Not only did Bully receive the Bavarian Film Award, but also his third BAMBI.
2008 also saw the most successful German director of the day direct “Vicky the Viking” in the first big screen, live-action adaptation of the story of this little Viking boy. Bully found the perfect actors to play Vicky’s loyal companions during the biggest public casting show for a cinema film in Germany’s history; the six-part casting show “Bully sucht die starken Männer” (Bully searches the strong men) on ProSieben. “Vicky the Viking” arrived in cinemas on September 09, 2009 and became the most successful German cinema movie of the year with an audience of 5 million. Michael Bully Herbig should receive his fourth BAMBI, his sixth German Comedy Award and his seventh Bavarian Film Award. However, the most remarkable award should be the Ehrenleinwand (honorary screen) made of glass, which was awarded to him for special merit by the German cinema association: Bully attracted 30 million cinemagoers with 5 cinema movies within 10 years. This is a unique record!
In “Toy Story 3” Bully is the German voice of “Woody” the cowboy.
In June 2011 “Bullyversum” at Bavaria Filmstadt opened its gates, a unique 3D-film adventure world on 2 levels comprising a total of more than 1,500 square meters. During the first months more than 200,000 visitors came to “Bullyversum“ and went on a surprising discovery journey of Bully‘s works und ideas.
Michael Bully Herbig switched into character roles for Leander Haußmann’s movie ”Hotel Lux“. He played the main role and was co-producer of the dramatic comedy, which was nominated for the German Film Award. Whereas “Hotel Lux” went on a world tour of various film festivals, Helmut Dietl‘s hotly discussed political satire “Zettl” had its premiere with Bully starring as the protagonist of the film.
At the German Film Awards 2012 Michael Bully Herbig was the first to win the Bernd Eichinger Award.
In 2013, Michael Bully Herbig made his Hollywood debut. Starring alongside Steve Carell and Jim Carrey in the comedy “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”, he portrayed a magician who has a very special relationship with cats.
The same year, after his excursion into the field of acting only, he took matters into his own hands again with „Buddy“. Bully was the screenwriter, producer, director and one of the leading characters of this comedy, that not only makes you laugh but also tugs at your heartstrings. Bully received a ROMY, the Austrian Movie Award, for best director for „Buddy“. In parallel he had a comeback on the TV screen with his sitcom „Bully makes Buddy“ for Pro7. Just like the big role models in the US, “Bully makes Buddy” was filmed in front of a live studio audience. This six-part series developed into his second biggest success in terms of number of viewers, next to his casting show „Bully sucht die starken Männer!“
January 2015 Bully succesfully entered unknown terrain, he is the new testimonial for Haribo. Bully stepped into the shoes of Thomas Gottschalk who represented the popular candies brand for the past 24 years. In his very first year of commercials the newcomer received the „Best Testimonial Award“.
Same year the consummate „stage animal“ (quote) thrilled not only the feuilletons, but for the first time in his career, a live audience as well. Under the motto „Classic meets Comedy“ he filled concert halls with his interpretation of Camille Saint-Sans „Carnival Of The Animals“. Due to the large success, the tour was expanded to 13 further cities in Germany.
His next live show “Sounds of Bully´s Cinema” started under the same theme. Humorously he presented the scores of his smash movie hits with the Munich Rundfunkorchestra and his film score composer Ralf Wengenmayr. The concert was transmitted by the Bayerische Rundfunk in 3 media at the same time.
December 2015 through February 2016 he was shooting with Till Schweiger, Mathias Schweighöfer and Jan Josef Liefers, with the German Hollywood director Wolfgang Petersen. The world premiere of the movie „4 gegen die Bank“ was celebrated end of December 2016 in Berlin.
Parallel to shooting „4 gegen die Bank“, Bully prepared his next movie. March 21st 2017 was the first day of principal photography for „Bullyparade – Der Film“ a feature consisting of 5 individual episodes. Again Michael was involved as author, director and producer, additionally he and his buddies Rick Kavanian and Christian Tramitz slipped into more than 26 different roles. Right on time for the 20th anniversary of the successful tv show „bullyparade“ this new feauture conquered the big screens. It immediatly soared to the top of the German and Austrian movie charts. With “Bullyparade – Der Film” Bully accomplished his fifth number one hit. Six months later the movie once again broke all records on PrimeVideo. „Bullyparade-Der Film“ had the best start of all movies in Germany on the videostreaming platform.
Prior to the movie release Bully catered for a lot of laughter and entertainment at „It´s Showtime“ for Sat1. Artists, magicians, singers and dancers from all around the world fought „The Battle of the Best“ and strived to impress not only the audience but the jury consisiting of Michelle Hunziker, Bully and Sasha as well. Following this show Bully supported „Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver“, the most expensive German movie production of all times, as creative producer and the voice of Nepomuk the half-dragon.
On September 12th, 2018, after years of expansive research and thorough preparation, the thriller “Balloon” celebrated its world premiere with much acclaim. Produced and directed by Michael Bully Herbig, the film retells the spectacular and true escape-story from the former GDR in a homemade hot-air balloon in 1979. The star-studded thriller was sold to numerous countries mere weeks after its domestic theatrical release.
For this, his eighth directorial work, Bully was presented with the German Film Award for Peace – The Bridge amongst many other awards.
After this successful delve into a new genre, the result praised by audiences and critics alike, Bully took his seat behind the microphone again. He borrowed his voice to the ever-optimistic lucky ladybug, Bully, in the German animation film “Tabaluga – The Movie”, and once more dubbed leading cowboy Woody in the German version of Pixar’s “Toy Story 4”.