Coronavirus Tag

Greg Shapiro Hosts CitizenM TV Episode 2

Greg Shapiro Hosts CitizenM TV Episode 2
20 June, 2022

Thanks, Covid! After the 2020 Lockdown canceled Christmas, CitizenM hotel group had to reinvent their annual Christmas party as a TV show in January. Thus ‘CitizenM TV’ was born – with me as the host. It went so well that I was invited back to host the live Christmas party in 2021. But would we be able to have a live Christmas party…?

NO! The latest Covid lockdown kicked in on 18 December, and canceled everything. Which is EXACTLY what CitizenM had predicted when they decided to make CitizenM TV Episode 2. Again, with me as host.


I must admit: when I’d hosted the first CitizenM TV, I’d never stayed at a CitizenM hotel before. I’d been to meetings at the Amsterdam Zuid location, just because it’s a cool place to meet. For Episode 2, I did my homework. I got to do an overnight ‘staycation’ at the Amsterdam Amstel location. And since then I understand their motto ‘affordable luxury.’ More than that, they recognized me from the TV show, and they treated me like one of the family.

The concept for Episode 2 was to show me warming up before the show – IN a CitizenM hotel room. Hence – WARNING: CONTAINS SOME MALE NUDITY. Episode 2 was again produced by Dutch media company GRNDPA. And this time they gave me more to do: I got to interact with CitizenM office staff, dressed as ninjas. And I got to play a mustachioed gym coach (inspired by Ted Lasso’s alter ego Led Tasso). That’s why you can see me yelling at CitizenM employees like Boyan.

Again, I got to chat with founder Rattan Chadha and CEO Klaas van Lookeren, and I noticed that yes they felt even more relaxed and on-message than in Episode 1.

Looking forward to seeing a live Christmas event this year… But if it ends up being CitizenM TV Episode 3, I won’t complain.

Comedian Greg Shapiro hosts CitizenM TV, Episode 2 (Dec. 2021). Produced by GRNDPA, NL.

Remote Meetings Are Dead – Long Live Hybrid Meetings! Greg Shapiro

Remote Meetings Are Dead; Long Live Hybrid Meetings!
7 March, 2022

In February I was called upon to do two separate events for Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Belgium – both remote meetings. Now that Covid restrictions are lifting in the Netherlands and Belgium, you might expect a return to 100% live events ! And you’d be wrong. Looks like hybrid meetings are the New Normal.

The first remote meeting was an expat event, and I was asked to make a 20-minute tailored video.

Would there be enough material about cultural quirks in Belgium? Oh, yes. But how far should I go in making fun of Belgium? I started out with “Who knew one country could drink so much beer? Even the children drink to excess – at least that’s what I assume since the national mascot is a boy urinating.”

I sent in my video – via WeTransfer. Would they approve? Would they even watch it before plopping it into their meeting? I didn’t hear anything back… until after the day of the meeting. The subject heading said “LOVED IT!” Phew. “We used your video at our event yesterday and it was great. It really hit the right note and was enjoyed by all. We hope to see you again – hopefully F2F next time.”

Indeed, we were hoping for F2F Face to Face next time. But the next time was a hybrid meeting. Which was fine! The second Janssen remote meeting was produced by Co-MANA, who created a pop-up studio in Belgium. There was a giant LED wall, with projections that could change themes for the two-day event.

 

There was a dedicated screen with a dedicated link to the internal Janssen team leaders. There was a live monitor. And there was a prompter screen, which doubled as a link to the Q&A moderator. And we ended with a live band, who played during the interactive quiz.

It would have been nice to have the team leaders on location, as well as the band. Heck, it would have been nice to have a fully live event. But if Hybrid Meetings are the new normal for now, i gotta say this meeting was great. 

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.

Q&A: Why EU Vaccine Strategy Is Not as Bad as You Think

Q&A: Why EU Vaccine Strategy Is Not as Bad as You Think

On my YouTube channel, I have a long-running show called ‘United States of Europe’ – Making fun of the EU the American way. So of course, I had to make fun of the EU’s comically slow Covid vaccination rates, as compared to the US and the UK. BUT along the way, I realized – it’s not that simple. In fact, in many ways EU vaccination policy is not as bad as you’d think.

In the video, I started with:
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has criticized the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Europe as being ‘unacceptably slow.’ I’m in the Netherlands and as of April, even my friend who works in health care can’t ‘get a jab.’
I know the Dutch are famous for the ‘Netherlands Second’ video. But now it’s more like ‘we know it’s going to be the rest of the EU first, but can we just say NL 27th?’

When it comes to vaccinations, you have to think of the German poet Heinrich Heine who said: ‘When the end of the world comes make your way to Holland. There everything happens fifty years late.'”

…SO that was where I would normally end the video. BUT this time I decided go a bit deeper.

One of the people who appreciated my video was Trendwatcher Vincent Everts. Vincent is a longtime friend of Boom Chicago, (and he hosts a weekly online show with America expert Charles Groenhuijsen). Vincent noticed that my EU vaccine video was a lot longer than usual. Because there was a lot more to cover! So we did a deep dive interview. Well, it wasn’t supposed to be such a deep dive, because it was on a Saturday morning. And he totally missed his slot on the tennis court.

For more regular updates on The United States of Europe, check http://youtube.com/gregshapiro .

Greg Shapiro Hosts 1st-Ever CitizenM TV Show

Greg Shapiro Hosts First-Ever CitizenM TV Show

Typical 2021: “Will the Covid lockdown end in time for our AGM Annual General Meeting?” In the case of CitizenM Hotels, nope. Every year, these guys have an off-site event for their whole, global team: Someplace exotic; someplace inspiring; something to keep them going for the rest of the year. But in 2021, it was time to face the ugly truth: they were going to have to livestream it.

Luckily, CitizenM HQ hired Dutch production company GRNDPA to make the livestream something special. And they hired me to host the ‘First-Ever CitizenM TV Show.’ Luckily, I have some history with the CitizenM folks. I was at one of their 2018 off-sites, to perform my ‘Dutch Culture Shock Therapy’ masterclass. It was a good show! I liked these guys.

PRO-TIP: Your Livestream doesn’t need to be Live! We had 3 days of production, with plenty of time for me to meet the C-level execs and reassure everyone. We pre-recorded the transitions, and I spoke in the voiceovers. The priority on-set was to keep the vibe of a normal offsite event, as much as possible. And yes, the top management were way too dry in the first take. But with a couple of retakes – and me more actively engaging them – the managers managed to loosen up and feel like they were talking to their team, in person.

I really appreciated hearing it back in the comments, like “You made us feel comfortable Greg, it was a joy. Many thanks!”

Was everyone nervous? Of course. But not me. Which is why I also appreciated hearing “Your years of experience shine through, seeing how smooth it went.”

 

HOW DID IT GO? See for yourself:

 

BACKSTORY
Do you know CitizenM? It’s a Dutch start-up, launched in 2008 with the slogan ‘Affordable luxury for the people.’ They were most notable for the things they didn’t provide, like bellhops. They provided automated check-in, so you could skip the check-in chat and just go straight to your room. They basically designed their dream hotel, based on the years they’d spent traveling for fashion brand Mexx. And by ‘they,’ I mean Mr. Rattan Cheddha and family. I’d performed for them at corporate events with Boom Chicago for years.

[In fact, I think it was 1997 when Seth Meyers and I performed a birthday show at the Cheddhas’ house. That was the time we did an improv scene, where Seth had to guess the word ‘Mallorca’ – a place he had not heard of, at that point. Have you ever seen an improv guessing game performed so brilliantly that you wonder if it’s all pre-planned? Well, this was one of those times we proved conclusively it was definitely improvised. To this day, Seth will still grind his teeth anytime someone brings up the Mediterranean Island of Mallorca.]

Greg Shapiro presents HOW NOT TO ZOOM

Greg Shapiro presents HOW NOT TO ZOOM
A Video Conference Mini-Show

A couple weeks ago, I got a phone call: “Could you do 10 minutes of comedy for our weekly video conference, about video conferencing?” I said YES. And it was such a hit, I’ve now developed a 10-minute package I call HOW NOT TO ZOOM. 

HOW NOT TO ZOOM 60-second teaser

Lockdown life, 2020. Working from home means video conferencing. And – despite the tutorials – many of us are slow to adapt. Time for a new training strategy?
Comedian Greg Shapiro presents HOW NOT TO ZOOM. Kick-off your next online meeting with 5 – 10 minutes of “Sharing WORST Practice.”

Whether you use Zoom, Skype, WebEx or Teams – Shapiro’s interactive presentation will parody the Seven Deadly Sins of video conferencing. Including: Awful lighting, Unflattering angles, Embarrassing backgrounds AND Yelling at your kids when you think you’re on mute.

Do yourself a favor and start your next video conference with a guaranteed icebreaker. More than that, it’s an effective teaching method: sometimes the best example of How-to is How-NOT-to.

Stay safe, keep laughing.
For bookings please contact my other half at inezdegoede@gmail.com.

 

https://youtu.be/iIoKuh6giKM

Did I Get Infected by a Dutch Comedy Show in Brabant?

Did I Get Infected by a Dutch Comedy Show? In Brabant? 

I was part of the problem. I was part of Team #DontPanic. Now I’m on Team #StaytheFHome.

On Saturday, 7 March I was hosting a Dutch comedy show in Tilburg (epicenter of the Dutch Corona virus outbreak). In retrospect, I might have been infected with the Corona Virus and COVID19.

That morning, I knew it was a risky move. But I decided to take a risk – because my gigs were already disappearing. I even took public transport to get there. On the way to the show, Dutch health officials advised people in the province of Brabant to stay home, to avoid being infected. But it was a sold-out crowd! They were willing to get infected by the comedy show.

We made fun of the crowd for ignoring the warning. We imitated the drunken Brabanters going to ski in Italy, then celebrating Carnaval & spreading COVID19. The guy in the front row was so proud of his Party Cred I dubbed him “Patient Zero.”

And yes, I posed for a selfie with him after the show.

But in retrospect, it was a stupid risk.

SO – Did I Get Infected?
Luckily for me, I still have no symptoms, and I don’t seem to have been infected. As of this writing, it was 11 days ago.

In retrospect, the show should have been canceled. At the time, I was trying to mitigate the damage: “yes go out, but do it safely.”
Then I saw the data about #flattenthecurve. And I’m convinced: t
he shortest way through this is full lockdown.

Yes, it’s selfish for young & healthy people to keep going out, since it’s dangerous for older & at-risk people. But ALSO it’s in your OWN interest: There’s no avoiding a total shutdown at this point. But keep it limited. Look at that graph of Philadelphia vs. St. Louis during the 1918 Spanish Flu.

Right now, China is like St Louis. USA is like Philadelphia, and they’ll be feeling the effects for months. Possibly all the way until Election Day…

Minister Wiebes, You’re Right: I DID Choose for This.

Minister Wiebes, you’re right.
As a freelancer, I DID kind of choose for downturns like this. But it was worth it! Because the highs were so high!

Wiebes, you know that high-priced consultant in the Audi, taking your space in the parking lot? That was… actually a partner at KPMG on full salary. But you THOUGHT it was me! A freelancer! And that makes it worthwhile.

Team Wiebes, you must have been jealous while you were at your 9-5 job – and I was sitting at home with nothing to do. …Nothing but desperately checking LinkedIn, creating free content online – putting the free in freelance – to tempt people to hire me, and hustling – constantly hustling – looking for work. Remember the stress and constant disappointment of being “in between jobs?” Applying for jobs, being rejected for jobs? That’s what I do every damn day. Yes, this is the LIFE!

Wiebes, I know you’re VVD – the Pro-Business party. So when you see us freelancers NOT claiming annual vacation pay from businesses, NOT demanding permanent contracts from businesses, making it effectively easier for businesses to hire and fire people – you must be jealous.

Now that we’re on Lockdown, schools are closed and people are working from home. This morning at 9am, I saw plenty of folks out walking their dogs. At 9am! Well Wiebes, I was underemployed walking my dog during weekday office hours BEFORE it was cool.

“Dutch Economic Affairs Minister on Freelancers Hit by Corona Shutdown: ‘You Chose for This…'”

https://www.nu.nl/coronavirus/6037648/wiebes-over-zzpers-en-gevolgen-coronavirus-zelf-bewust-risico-genomen.html