CPH Post


Who is ... Pyrus?

(Photo: TV2)

December 15, 2013

by Andreas Jakobson

He is a Christmas nisse played by the actor Jan Linnebjerg. We will focus on the character because Pyrus’s career is far more interesting.

Why is he famous?
He first appeared in the most watched calendar show ever, ‘Alletiders jul’ (the greatest Christmas of all time), in 1994. Back then, Danish Christmas elves on TV were something historical – old and dusty and boring as hell. Enter Pyrus. He was from the hood. With his hoodie and baggie pants and red cap turned backwards, he was cooler than the North Pole by 1990s standards.

Nothing you mentioned sounds like Christmas elves?
If you think of a Christmas elf as the funny little green dude working on the assembly line in Santa’s workshop, we need to get something straight right away. Danish nisser are nothing like that, and it is only thanks to American and English influences that nisser are even related to Christmas today.

What were they like before?
If you read the really old fairy tales, nisser are psychopathic demons that don’t belong in a children’s show. If you lived in the 19th century and had a nisse living on your farm, you might as well move to another village. They needed to get their daily rice porridge, or otherwise they wouldn’t hesitate from setting your entire property on fire.

And Pyrus changed that?
Pyrus definitely modernised it. He played electric guitar and sang hard rock songs about celebrating Christmas in a higher gear, having fun and eating candy all day. Much more fun for kids than old bearded hobos living on the roof.

So he became a success?
The show had three sequels, the latest in 2000, when the actor Jan Linneberg was 40 years old. He probably felt a little too old to reprise the role, but at least he got something to do.

Where is Pyrus now?
This year you need to go to Fisketorvet Shopping Mall to get a glimpse of the greatest nisse of all time. So yes, Jan Linnebjerg is still playing a teenager aged 53. Now it’s just getting sad.


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