This is one of the greatest words in the German language, which features a whole bunch of creative concoctions. If Germans were as good at humor as they are at word creation, then they might suffer less from a national inferiority complex...or is that a feeling of guilt?
Anyway, the word is schaulustig.
The dictionary defines it as "curious", but that hardly does the word justice. Another suggests the term "rubbernecking", which comes closer to its usual context. One hears it just about every time there is a traffic report of a highway accident. It describes the people that slow down in the opposite lane to get a glimpse of the damage and suffering. It suggests pleasure at someone's misfortune, personal satisfaction at not being involved, and disregard for traffic congestion that their curiosity and own driving behavior is causing.
German is the Lego of all languages: pieces are combined to make something fun. Schaulustig is made up of schau (to look, to see as a verb or show as a noun) and lustig (too many definitions to list: look it up yourself!). One might confuse the combination to mean "funny looking" or "to look silly", but the true meaning is far more clever.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.