Comedy Show Tag

Greg Shapiro Mini Standup Special ‘LEAVING TRUMPLAND’ 

Greg Shapiro Mini Standup Special ‘LEAVING TRUMPLAND’
4 January, 2022

I wrote a comedy show about America during Trump and during Covid. It’s called LEAVING TRUMPLAND. And it’s partly about how Trump and Covidiots killed my stepfather.

Most of my performance dates were cancelled due to Covid. But thankfully, a Dutch performance series asked me to perform part of my show for them, at the ITA International Theater Amsterdam. And here it is:
GREG SHAPIRO’S LEAVING TRUMPLAND on ‘Cultuurexplosie Live.’ (link below)

My previous show was called The Madness of King Donald. This show is more personal. Ever since I moved to the Netherlands, my family and friends keep asking “When are you moving back? When are you coming home?” And now, since 2020, they’re asking “What is it like in the Netherlands? Maybe we could come live with you?” And I tell them “Nee! Vol is vol!

And yes, I wrote new bits about President Biden. Did you hear what he said today? No. No one did. No one cares! And it’s wonderful!
We don’t have the mental space to pay attention to Joe Biden. We’re still recovering from 4 years of Post-Traumatic Tweet Disorder.  America is like a toilet clogged with 4 years of toxic dumps. Biden is the plumber. And as happy as we are that Joe the Plumber is on the job, I hope he knows it’s not like we’re not going to WATCH, right? Just let us know when you’re done. 

We can’t pay attention to the current president, because some of us are still mourning. As for me, I found out in the summer of 2020 that my stepdad had Covid. In a nursing home at age 75. And the nursing home was in Trump country, aka ‘Trumpland.’ And my stepdad had a roommate. And the roommate was like many Republicans in the US: they believe in Freedom more than Science. In fact they believe in “Freedom FROM Science.”

And for the rest of the story, you’ll have to watch:

Greg Shapiro New Video Series: ‘DutchNews of the Week’

Greg Shapiro New Video Series ‘DutchNews of the Week’
7 December, 2021

“The headlines are from DutchNews.nl; the punchlines are from me.” So begins every episode of my new weekly video series ‘DutchNews of the Week.’

DutchNews.nl already has a daily newsletter and a weekly podcast. So I thought: “Why not a weekly video as well?” And, in the spirit of Branded Content, I decided to just start making the videos first, on my own. Then – instead of saying “What would it be like if I made these videos…” I can now say “Here, look at these videos.”

It’s like “Better to ask forgiveness than permission.” First I make the videos. Then I approach the client. “If you like it, pay me to make more.” (And if you hate it, pay me to stop…) (wink emoticon)

As it turns out, the founder of DutchNews.nl is a friend of mine: Robin Pascoe. What do you know: she likes the videos. (Robin is the woman who used to write for the English version of the Financiele Dagblad. There are other Dutch news sites in English, but DutchNews is my favorite.)

I love humor as a tool to make news items more relatable and more memorable. At first, I wanted to make videos that went a bit in depth for every major story of the week. The videos were still about 3 minutes long, like this one. WATCH:
https://youtu.be/IKIjvmmO4Rs

But I soon realized a couple things about social media. 1) Current events videos do not age well on YouTube. 2) If you want to post videos on other media – like Twitter and Instagram – you can only post 60 seconds max. And so the new format was born: Set-up / Punchline. Just like ‘Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.

So keep an eye on your socials. If it’s a Friday – and if I have the time that week – then I’ll be posting to Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

And if enough people like it, I might just use the same technique for Politico.eu. But this time I might try to make content for their YouTube channel as well. They have a YouTube channel, but it suuuuuucks.

Wish me luck.

Greg Shapiro Hosts TFG Event at Prinsenhof Delft

Greg Shapiro Hosts TFG Event at Prinsenhof Delft

I was asked to host an annual dinner for an IT trade association at a historic location: the Prinsenhof in Delft. Where Willem van Oranje – the founder of the country – took his last breath in 1584. Even if my event would be a disaster, it couldn’t be worse than that.


The IT association was called The Future Group, which I immediately made fun of: “Good name! Sounds vaguely evil, without hitting it over the head.” I reminded everyone of the famous Google motto: ‘Don’t be evil,’ as opposed to Facebook’s motto: “Be evil enough for Facebook AND Google.” Just before the event, the ’Facebook Papers’ were released – revealing that Facebook knew its product was addictive and refused to change it. “How could Facebook not be addictive? It was created by Mark Zuckerberg! Berg meaning ‘mountain’ & zucker meaning ‘sugar.’ And how did he respond to the accusation? By launching ‘Facebook Meta.’ “The Metaverse. Like Facebook, but worse.” It’s always a risk to try out all-new material in front of a corporate crowd. But luckily this stuff killed.

I was warned that there would be a special challenge in hosting the evening.
The celebrity chef would be Yuri Verbeek: a creative genius in the kitchen – who had a tendency for overheating onstage. I’d never met him. But I was impressed by his set-up in the pop-up kitchen. 

 

 

 

Yes, Yuri had a whole cookbook he wanted to promote.

Yes, he had a whole new concept for every course. Yes, he had a nervous energy onstage that seemed to freak people out. But as for me, I have a high tolerance for weird energy. I decided on a dual-pronged strategy: let him talk as long as he wanted; and tell the technician to kill the mic if I signaled. Turns out – I didn’t need to kill the mic. Yuri did great!

By the end of the night, people liked the show – but they loved Yuri. “How did you get him not to be so long-winded?” I followed a classic bit of Dutch advice: “Doe normaal.” 

The event hall is the covered atrium of what once was a Catholic cloister. It was inspiring to stand on the stones that Willem van Oranje may have once stood. I’d never visited the Prinsenhof Museum, and it’s a good one.

The star of the show is the staircase, where Willem was gunned down in 1584, at the start of the Dutch Revolution. You can see the bullet holes still in the wall. And – thanks to a clever animation – you can see how the assassin crept up and fired at Willem, before he collapsed on the floor. 

Luckily, the Future Group was a great show. I killed onstage, but no one died.

Unofficial GREG SHAPIRO OCTOBER BENELUX Tour

Unofficial GREG SHAPIRO OCTOBER BENELUX Tour (feat. a stop in Luxembourg for cheap fuel)

October has turned into a busy month, as I have accidentally assembled a list of Dutch cities where I’ll be performing. (And at least one date in Brussels…)

But the big news is: I’ll be featured in CABARETFESTIVAL PEPER in Den Haag. Organized by Theaters Diligentia & Pepijn, this current events festival calls itself ‘De Lachspiegel van de Samenleving,’ ie ‘Holding a mirror to today’s society.’ I’ve repurposed my solo show LEAVING TRUMPLAND for Fall of 2021: now with less Trump and more Covidiots. At the end of my show, we will be joined (via Zoom) by my former Boom Chicago colleague Tarik Davis, who will give us his New York perspective on Before & After the Lockdown. (And he might give us a preview of The Amber Ruffin Show season 2 – as well as his new Broadway show Freestyle Love Supreme.)

This month, I’ll be doing a series of open mic shows to try out new material. Starting at De Pelgrim in Rotterdam. And I’m excited to try out the new Comedy Cafe Utrecht location! After that it’s back to Fox & Solo in Amsterdam. And I’ll be rounding out the month with my new friends in Brussels from ImproBubble. They’ve developed a new monthly sketch & improv format called The Schuman Show. And I’ll be improvising a sketch with The Real (fake) Angela Merkel.

-Thurs. 7 Oct. ROTTERDAM. ‘Comedy Brew’ @ Stadsbrowerij De Pelgrim. Open mic lineup show. 8:30pm.

-Tues. 12 Oct. UTRECHT. English Open Mic. @ Comedy Cafe Utrecht. Open mic lineup show. 8pm.

-Thurs. 14 Oct. AMSTERDAM. ‘Oh My Word Comedy’ @ FOX & SOLO. Open mic lineup show. 8pm.

-Sat. 23 Oct. DEN HAAG. Cabaret Festival PEPER. SOLO SHOW ‘LEAVING TRUMPLAND’. @West Den Haag (former US Embassy). 2 SHOWS: 6.30pm + 8pm.

+Thurs. 28 Oct. BRUSSELS. ‘The Schuman Show.’ Sketch & Improv show. @ Location TBA. 8:30pm.

(& driving back thru Luxembourg for cheap fuel)

Thurs. 7 Oct. https://www.facebook.com/events/4343295252428575/?active_tab=about

Tues. 12 Oct. https://comedycafe.nl/comedy-cafe-utrecht/

Thurs. 14 Oct. http://omwcomedy.com

Sat. 23 Oct. DEN HAAG. PEPER Festival! SOLO SHOW ‘LEAVING TRUMPLAND’. 2 SHOWS 6.30pm + 8pm

https://www.diligentia-pepijn.nl/agenda/4162/Leaving_Trumpland/Greg_Shapiro

Thurs. 28 Oct. http://schumanshow.eu/

 

Greg Shapiro ‘How to Be Dutch’ at NBTC Netherlands Bd of Tourism & Conventions

Greg Shapiro ‘How to Be Dutch’ at NBTC Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions
3 June, 2021

I remember when the NBTC was simply called the NBOT ‘Netherlands Board of Tourism.’ (That’s when I did my first events for them back in the 2000’s.) These days, it’s the ‘Netherlands Board of Tourism AND CONVENTIONS.’ Which is handy, because – during a pandemic – tourism you can’t do easily online. But conventions, yes!

As the Corona rules loosen, it’s time to ask: What is the future of conventions and events? Back to Live and In-Person? More online? A bit of both? Will conventions and events ever be the same? The NBTC organized an online event in early June. As it happened, it was right before Step 3 of Loosening the Dutch Corona restrictions. So, if they had rescheduled by a few days, then they could have had up to 50 people in a live audience. !
The fact they did NOT reschedule perhaps proves their point: the role of online and hybrid events is here to stay.

As it happened, I was glad they went with the online setup. The stage was inspired by the TV show Even Tot Hier, with the audience projected onto an enormous back wall. So yes, I could see the audience on two big monitors under the livestream camera. And also the audience could see themselves behind me. Okay, maybe it’s not a great recipe for laughs – being able to see yourself and get self-conscious every time you laugh. But I got laughs anyway!

I was asked to give a reading from my book The American Netherlander: 25 Years of Expat Tales. It’s a module I like to call ‘Culture Shock Therapy.’ And we had a ‘bubble’ set – everyone on set had to have a negative Covid test. And between the speakers and the crew, there were just enough live bodies to be able to play to audible laughs.

Thanks to Host Sophie Hoytema for recommending me for the gig. Thanks to Producer Paul Gruijthuijsen for making us look great. Thanks to the location CitySense in Utrecht. And thanks to NBTC’s Eric Bakermans for having me – and for making the photos of my performance!


Greg Shapiro Masterclass: CULTURE SHOCK THERAPY

Greg Shapiro Masterclass: CULTURE SHOCK THERAPY

“Hi! My name is Greg Shapiro, or you can call me Gregory. Or – in Dutch – ‘Krek.’ That’s my name in Dutch: Krek Tja-piero.’ Prime example of Culture Shock: When you move to a different country and realize ‘Wow – I’ve been pronouncing my name wrong my whole life.'”
There are plenty examples of Culture Shock in the Netherlands. Like having a Dutchman introduce himself and say “Hello, my name is Freek. I am Freek, and this is my colleague Tjerk.” But if you can keep a sense of humor about it, you experience Culture Shock THERAPY: when you realize that  cultural differences can be hilarious.

“I am a bit of both: a bit LOUD AMERICAN and a bit ‘Doe Normaal‘ Nederlander. And yes I am tweetaliggggg. But I don’t like to speak Dutch, because it makes my mouth feel sad. What is it about Dutch people and their Harde G? It makes you sound like angry, choking zombie people. Like that TV show The Walking Dead. Or – since it’s the Netherlands – it’s more like The BIKING Dead.”
And here’s another example of Culture Shock Therapy. As soon as I started learning Dutch, I realized “Oh, you don’t need to yell the whole time.”

“Other cultures might say things like ‘Wow, you look good! Have you lost weight?’ Dutch people will say ‘Wow, you used to be so fat!'”
Dutch people are known for being DIRECT. Which is an indirect way of saying RUDE. If Americans have a reputation for being politely indirect, and the British have a reputation for being politely indecipherable, Dutch people pride themselves on being brutally honest – sometimes at the expense of politeness, or tact, or respect for human dignity. But at least you know where you stand. And HOW you stand – which is much shorter, once their comments cut you off at the knees.

Greg Shapiro (Zondag Met Lubach, Boom Chicago, Comedy Central) is The American Netherlander. He has performed his masterclass in Dutch Culture Shock Therapy for heads of state, the King of the Netherlands and once for the Business Class section of a KLM 747 to Chicago. 

 

Greg Shapiro on ‘Weet Ik Veel’ with ‘How to Be Orange’

Greg Shapiro on ‘Weet Ik Veel’ with ‘How to Be Orange’

Last fall, I got a call from the Dutch quiz show Weet Ik Veel. They wanted to use a clip from the ‘How to Be Orange’ standup special I made for VARA in 2013. The episode aired in 2021.
Beau van Erven Dorens was there, talking about Dutch terms that don’t translate well into English.
And that’s when they played my video.
We start off with a company called HILARIUS ASPHALT.
Then there’s a health drink that’s pronounced AIDS.
There’s the product (or service?) called BABY DUMP.
And the revenge of the dumped baby, which is a Nutricia ad featuring the phrase MAMA DIE! DIE! DIE!

But the moment they really wanted on Weet Ik Veel was the shampoo for removing tangles in your hair. It’s called ANTI-KLIT.
Watch and enjoy what I call ‘CULTURE SHOCK THERAPY.’

 

Greg Shapiro on NPO Op 1: How to Imitate Biden

Greg Shapiro on NPO Op 1: How to Imitate Biden
Broadcast date: 4 November, 2020
Hosts: Charles Groenhuijsen, Carrie ten Napel.
Language: Dutch (and ‘Bad Dutch’)

SO I was asked to appear on a Dutch talk show. In Part One I was asked to comment – as Trump – on the results of Election 2020. In Part Two, Carrie asked me if I could do a Joe Biden imitation. I told her “I’m working on it.” (in Dutch)

At that point, Joe Biden was best known as Vice President – and wacky sidekick – to Barack Obama. Biden was known as ‘Uncle Joe.’ Well, by now Biden is ‘Grandpa Joe.’ Can he stay awake for an entire speech? Stay tuned! Or more to the point: are his eyes still good? Can he see the TelePrompter clearly?

Since we were in a TV studio, where the hosts were reading their intro’s from the TelePrompter / AutoCue, I took the opportunity to ask them how big do they like their text on the screen? I’ve hosted a TV show before. I know how the size of your text can determine the entire pace and flow of your delivery. If the text is too small, you have to squint your eyes. If the text is too big, you have to speak. your. sentence. word. for. word. You stumble through your phrasing. Or – in the case of Joe Biden – it’s like you stutter. Poor Joe is pushing 80 years old. It’s a miracle he doesn’t need glasses. But I guarantee his text needs to be gigantic in the TelePrompter. Sometimes, he can even got tripped up over words with too many syllables.

Earlier in the episode, the hosts played a clip from Biden. It was meant to be inspirational. But he clearly tripped over the text.
Biden: “So let me be clear. I / we are campaigning as a Democrats.”

So that’s part one of how to do a Joe Biden imitation: BE the smartest guy in the room, but SOUND like George W. Bush.

Greg Shapiro Presents THE ZOOM IMPROV WORKSHOP

Yes, it IS possible: THE ZOOM IMPROV WORKSHOP
Team Building by Videoconference

Watch the teaser, below

Recently, I had a client ask: “Could you lead one of your classic improv workshops via Zoom?” I said YES. Or more specifically, “YES AND.”

Already, I’ve been performing my ‘HOW NOT TO ZOOM’ videoconference mini-show for over a year. And I’ve been incorporating some interaction. For example, when I’m demonstrating Worst Virtual Backgrounds, I might say, “Look at Gareth, who has chosen to be located at Hogwarts Castle. Well, let’s take a moment and ask which Hogwarts House are you?”

The Zoom Improv Workshop builds on that kind of interaction. I interact with you, partners interact with each other. It serves as a wake-up call! Even though we’re meeting remotely, we can still activate our eye contact. We can amplify our Give-and-Take. And we can make the most of non-verbal communication.

Online meetings don’t have to be boring!
So many team meetings seem like they started out with a warning from the Legal Department: “Don’t say anything that could incriminate you! If you display any honest emotion, we could be held liable.” An improv workshop is specifically designed to immediately inject Spontaneity and Vulnerability. Two things that are desperately missing from most corporate culture.

The Zoom Improv Workshop starts with:
– Introducing yourself to your team in a whole new way.
– Sharing WORST practice in video conferencing.
– Showcasing Special Skills.
And it builds up to:
– Allowing yourself to be an expert, based on virtual backgrounds, assigned to you at random.

In essence, it’s just a bunch of fun exercises with your team. But in the end, you realize your team has been practicing:
– Active Listening.
– Thinking outside the box.
– Trusting your instincts.
– Empowering your team dynamic.
Afterward, you’ll realize: “This meeting could NOT have been an email.”

WATCH:

1 Year of ‘HOW NOT TO ZOOM: a Videoconference Mini-Show

1 Year of ‘HOW NOT TO ZOOM: a Comedy Roast for Your Awful Online Meeting, April 2021

It was April, 2020 when I got a phone call: “Could you do 10 minutes of comedy about video conferencing for our weekly video conference?” I said YES. And it was such a hit, I developed a new videoconference mini-show called HOW NOT TO ZOOM, aka “Sharing WORST Practice.”

It’s been a year now, and still you haven’t learned anything about basic Framing, Lighting, Background. It’s hilarious! You need a Comedy Roast. Either to kick off your meeting, or to end it.

More often, I’m being asked to do longer sets of 30-45 minutes – including a tailored powerpoint show. No problem! By now, I’ve performed HOW NOT TO ZOOM for small Management Teams, for entire Business Units, and for AGM Annual General Meetings with thousands of online viewers. And wow, I’ve learned a lot. For example: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. If at all possible, I try to be on location in a pop-up studio at your office. Then, when the livestream – inevitably – freezes up, instead of wondering “Is it my wifi?” I can say “call Kevin from IT!”

I did a series of HOW NOT TO ZOOM shows to ‘celebrate’ One Year of Working from Home. Here’s some feedback from Ingenico in Hoofddorp:
“Het was super leuk! We hebben erg gelachen en Greg heeft erg z’n best gedaan om het op maat voor ons te maken. In de toekomst zouden we een eventuele nieuwe show van hem graag weer boeken. Bedankt!”
“It was super fun! We laughed a lot, and Greg did his best to tailor the show to our office. In the future, we’d love to hire Greg for his new show. Thanks!”

‘NEW SHOW’ -? Well, okay then…
Coming soon: from the makers of HOW NOT TO ZOOM – it’s the ZOOM IMPROV WORKSHOP. Again, based on someone asking “Could you do that improv training you do, but for a videoconference?” And again, the answer was YES.
Or more specifically, YES AND.

WATCH: HOW NOT TO ZOOM 60-second teaser