The new life of rapper Dr. Knarf

Watch now on ARD until 29.08.2025.

Broadcast dates:
Das Erste, 29.08.2023, 23.35 – 00.05 hrs.
WDR Fernsehen, Menschen hautnah, Thursday, 23.11.23, 10.15 pm - 11.00 pm

A documentary film by Katja Duregger.

Six years ago, Niko Brenner (38), alias Dr. Knarf, narrowly survived a serious accident of his own making. A gas cylinder explodes in his hands in his Cologne recording studio. The public prosecutor's office accused him of producing highly concentrated cannabis extract there. At the time, Niko was heavily addicted to drugs.

40 percent of his skin was burnt and had to be transplanted. Niko was in an induced coma for three months and had four strokes during this time. Since then, he has been paralyzed on one side and half of his skull is missing. But Niko is fighting. Despite his severe physical limitations, he has been living alone in his own apartment again for four years and works in a workshop for people with brain damage. "A temporary solution," says Niko, "I don't see myself working in this workshop until I retire."

His declared goal: he wants to live independently again and, above all, get back on stage. "This is the best rehab measure for me," says Niko. His new spiritual home, the Greek Orthodox community in Cologne, also gives him strength. "It feels like I've arrived," says Niko as he prepares for his baptism. Real life accompanies Niko on his way back to life, to the stage and to his baptism.

Book and Direction Katja Duregger
Camera: David Klammer
Sound: Ralf Weber, Jule Vari
Film edit: Kawe Vakil
Color correction: Lynn Al-Abiad
Music: DR. KNARF
Speaker: Rebecca Jung
Line producer: Muriel Breier, Alica Humm, Carina Wulf
Florian Schneider
Producer: Valentin Thurn 
Editorial: Angelika Wagner(WDR)
A production by
On behalf of WDR