EU Tag

Greg Shapiro Netherlands Cheerleader

Greg Shapiro ‘NETHERLANDS CHEERLEADER’

Greg Shapiro ‘NETHERLANDS CHEERLEADER’ – Speakers Academy Magazine, 2022-23
by Jacques Geluk

Greg Shapiro is world-famous, ever since he perfectly imitated Donald Trump’s voice in Arjen Lubach’s ‘Netherlands Second’ video. (It’s since been viewed almost 30 million times). Shapiro is already known in the Netherlands for his work with Boom Chicago comedy theater, and previously as host and writer of Comedy Central News. Now, he is also an author and vlogger, and he frequently focuses on the Netherlands and Dutch innovations – a self-proclaimed ‘cheerleader for the Netherlands.’

Shapiro moved to the Netherlands in 1994 and is married to a Dutch woman. “Came for work, stayed for love.” By now he has lived here more than half his life, hence he knows both American and Dutch culture quite well. He often gives a ‘Masterclass’ in Dutch culture called ‘Culture Shock Therapy,’ or additionally ‘How to Be Dutch: the Quiz.’

Given Shapiro’s unique Dutch-American status, he is a popular bilingual speaker at major events. He is known for hosting or performing for NATO, for the president of France, and for King Willem Alexander. “I’ve lived here long enough to be proud of the Netherlands, but I’m still American enough to not care how loud I am about it,” says Greg in his native language. “I am frequently asked by Dutch or multinational companies for business events, often to talk about culture shock. I confront the stereotypes like sex, drugs – and Dutch cheapness. Then I go into more detail, realizing that it’s actually better here than I was used to in America. As ‘The American Netherlander’ [which is also the title of his last book from 2020], I am already a fan of Dutch inventions, innovations, water management. I’ve become a kind of cheerleader.”

 

Business card

Shapiro finds it interesting that the ‘Netherlands Second’ video has been used by Prince Constantijn and the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency during trade missions – as a kind of business card. “And as far as water management is concerned, yes there’s the Afsluitdijk – a marvel of water engineering. And there’s the Deltaworks in Zeeland – but also the New Orleans Deltaworks, built with the help of Dutch engineers at Royal Haskoning. It’s like the old commercials from Centrale Beheer: ‘Have a problem? Better call the Netherlands.’ Hurricane Katrina? Better call the Netherlands. Containership stuck in the Suez Canal? Better call the Netherlands (Boslkalis).”

“So many examples to mention! And not only foreigners are surprised to learn these companies are Dutch – it’s Dutch people too. Dutch folks are not giving themselves enough credit. That’s where I come in. And I’m collecting new examples all the time – for the shows and projects I do for clients like TU Delft, for Mosa Meat (lab-grown ‘cultivated’ meat) and for Wageningen University & Research.”

Event Host of the day

As an ‘improv comedian’, Greg Shapiro is also the almost ideal event host of the day. He puts guests, audience and organizations at ease with a lot of humor and always without being rude. If something goes wrong with the sound, a speaker who is not comfortable, the timing or the connection during a webinar… he improvises immediately, thanks to his many years of theater experience. “The unexpected actually makes it all a bit more lively and interesting for everyone.”

Greg Shapiro Netherlands Cheerleader 

Greg Shapiro NETHERLANDS CHEERLEADER – in het nederlands

‘Een Cheerleader voor Nederland’

Hij is wereldberoemd sinds hij de stem van Donald Trump perfect heeft geïmiteerd in Arjen Lubachs ‘Netherlands Second’ video (inmiddels bijna 30 miljoen keer bekeken). Greg Shapiro is al bekend via Boom Chicago theater en als gastheer en schrijver van Comedy Central News. Nu is hij ook auteur en vlogger, met als onderwerp Nederland en Nederlandse innovaties. Hij is een zelfbenoemd ‘cheerleader van Nederland.’

Greg Shapiro woont sinds 1994 in Nederland en is getrouwd met een Nederlandse. Doordat hij nu al meer dan de helft van zijn leven hier woont kent hij zowel de Amerikaanse als de Nederlandse cultuur heel goed en kan hij ze naast elkaar leggen. Vaak geeft hij een ‘Masterclass’ in Nederlandse cultuur die heet ‘Culture Shock Therapy,’ of zelfs ‘How to Be Dutch: the Quiz.’

Mede daardoor is hij een gewilde tweetalige spreker op grote evenementen, voor zelfs de president van Frankrijk, de NAVO, en voor Koning Willem Alexander. “I’ve lived here long enough to be proud of the Netherlands, but I’m still American enough to not care how loud I am about it”, zegt Greg in zijn eerste moedertaal.

“Ik word meestal gevraagd door multinationale bedrijven voor grote B2B evenementen. Vaak praat ik over cultuurschok, de stereotypes met thema’s als seks, drugs – en de Nederlandse bescheidenheid. Daarna ga ik er dieper op in, beseffend dat het hier eigenlijk beter is dan ik gewend was in Amerika. Eigenlijk ben ik als ‘The American Netherlander’ (wat ook de titel is van mijn laatste boek uit 2020) al fan van Nederlandse uitvindingen, innovaties, watermanagement en andere technieken. Ik ben een soort cheerleader geworden.”

Visitekaartje

Hij vindt het interessant dat de ‘Netherlands Second’- video is gebruikt door prins Constantijn en het Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency tijdens handelsmissies als een soort visitekaartje. “Wat het watermanagement betreft benoem ik net als in de video de Afsluitdijk, een wonder van waterengineering, en maak ik de connectie met de deltawerken, en met de New Orleans deltawerken gebouwd met hulp van Nederlanders. Even Nederland bellen. Ik heb zo veel leuke voorbeelden te noemen! Vaak zijn buitenlanders verbaasd te horen dat de uitvoerende bedrijven Nederlands zijn. Maar vaak zijn ook Nederlanders zelf verbaasd! Dat verwerk ik allemaal in mijn lezingen, voor TU Delft, voor Mosa Meat (kweekvlees) en ook voor een project met Wageningen Universiteit & Research.”
Greg introduceert ook zijn vernieuwde YouTube-kanaal, Climate News Comedy, met nog meer voorbeelden uit Nederland.

 

Dagvoorzitter

Als ‘improv comedian’ is Greg Shapiro bovendien de welhaast ideale dagvoorzitter. Hij stelt gasten, publiek en organisaties op hun gemak met veel humor en altijd zonder grof te zijn. Als iets misgaat met het geluid, een spreker die zich niet comfortabel voelt, de timing of de verbinding tijdens een webinar… improviseert hij onmiddellijk, Geen probleem dankzij zijn langjarige theaterervaring. “Het onverwachte maakt het eigenlijk allemaal nog wat levendiger en interessanter voor iedereen.”

door Jacques Geluk, juli 2022

 

GREG SHAPIRO’S VLOG: ‘WHY THE DUTCH DIG DIGGING’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YILSxeIhWwg

GREG SHAPIRO CORPORATE EVENTS
https://gregshapiro.nl/greg-shapiro-corporate-events/

 

Greg Shapiro Dutch Direct

Dutch Direct vs the Elephant in the Room

Greg Shapiro: ‘Dutch Direct vs the Elephant in the Room’
11 October, 2022

 

As ‘Dutch direct’ as you think may be, it still helps to have an American by your side. Dutch culture prides itself on being ‘Dutch direct,’ which is an indirect way of saying ‘rude.’ Sometimes I get hired by Dutch companies to host their events, to help ‘bridge the cultural gap’ between the older Dutch management and their mostly younger, more international staff. Practically, that means I get to share the stage with them and demonstrate how to not get upset when they say ‘Dutch direct’ things like “I wouldn’t have chosen that outfit” or “Ha ha – that joke didn’t work.”

Lesson Number One: start off by removing the tie.

To show how well integrated I am, I will sometimes respond to Dutch directness by teasing Dutch people right back. It makes the boss more human! There was one Dutch CEO who had a real ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ attitude. He liked to answer questions by saying “Okay, look…” But he was speaking English as a second language. So frequently – instead of saying look – he would use the Dutch word kijk. Luckily, he didn’t pronounce it the ethnic slur way. He said it more like “cake.” So I pointed out that – if he was going to start off every point talking about cake, there had better be some cake by the end of the day. (There was.)

DUTCH DIRECT + Yank Joke

For another event – for another ‘Dutch direct’ CEO – there was an elephant in the room. That’s partly why they’d hired me: to help keep the day loose and informal, so the audience would feel confident enough to ask the difficult questions. And the employees did ask difficult enough questions, about sustainability,  about equal pay, about fair hiring… But then came a question about accusations of fake sustainability claims, ie ‘greenwashing.’ The elephant had arrived! 

The CEO explained that he took the greenwashing accusations very seriously. He admitted that just a couple years ago those accusations would have been partly true. I said “I was here a couple years ago, and I can confirm! The last time I hosted for you guys, you had one HR manager saying ‘sustainability would be a good idea,’ and now she’s on the board as the first ever Chief Sustainability Officer. …And if anyone still comes with complaints that Dutch companies aren’t green enough, remind them that Shell Oil is now located in the UK.”

For more on Greg corporate events: 
https://gregshapiro.nl/blog/greg-shapiro-hosts-citizenm-tv-season-2/

COMEDY CENTRAL NEWS, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

COMEDY CENTRAL NEWS, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

27 Sept., 2022

HBD, CCN! It was 15 years ago that Boom Chicago comedy theater launched Comedy Central News, with your host: Greg Shapiro. “Comedy Central News: Because Dutch News Is News Too.”

 

In 2007, Viacom’s Comedy Central launched its first channel in the Netherlands. The Dutch producers wanted to create a new TV show for the occasion – a mix of The Daily Show and a comedy sketch show. And they liked me when I was presenting the ‘Boom Chicago News’ for a TV pilot we’d made. So Boom Chicago got the call to create a show, and we came in with a concept that was basically “What if The Muppet Show had a Weekend Update?” 

 

CCN COMEDY CENTRAL NEWS SEASON ONE, EP 23 

CCN AND EMMY AWARD WINNER BRENDAN HUNT 

It was quirky, it was daily, and it featured my Boom Chicago colleague Lauren Flans doing remote segments about Dutch culture. Lauren would go on to appear on MTV’s Wild ‘N Out and Epic Rap Battles of History.
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1508641/

Our executive producer – and 2008 head writer – was Pep Rosenfeld, who had actually written for ‘Weekend Update’ on Saturday Night Live and been nominated for an Emmy.
https://boomchicago.nl/pep-rosenfeld/

And the 2007 Head Writer was Brendan Hunt, who is now known as co-creator of the Emmy-winning series TED LASSO. (You might know him as TED LASSO’s ‘Coach Beard.’)
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0402360/

 


(Here is Brendan Hunt with some of his early beard work.)

 

A DUTCH NEWS SHOW IN ENGLISH

It remains amazing to me that we were able to make a TV show – for the Netherlands – in English. At that point, Dutch commercial television was experimenting with more and more English (Dutch publicly funded TV shows not so much). A few years before CCN, there was a brief moment when Boom Chicago was being pitched to create a Dutch version of Whose Line Is It Anyway – for a Dutch public broadcaster. But our Dutch language skills were niet zo goed. That pitch went on to become the smash hit De Lama’s, starring Ruben van der Meer – who started his career working in the Boom Chicago kitchen. The host of De Lama’s was Patrick Lodiers.

Side note: Patrick Lodiers went on to host a 2007 late night comedy news show called De Nieuwste Show – premiering the exact same month as our show, CCN. You know that story about the Burger King opening up right next to the McDonalds, and miraculously both businesses saw improved success? Yeah, that did not happen in our case. But interestingly, one of the commentators on De Nieuwste Show was a young Arjen Lubach. And we would go on to collaborate for some quality TV content – about 10 years later. 

https://mashable.com/video/netherlands-trump-viral-video

 

CCN COMEDY CENTRAL NEWS PROMO SPOT

 

CCN COMEDY CENTRAL NEWS – IN GREG SHAPIRO ARCHIVE 

https://gregshapiro.nl/portfolio_page/greg-shapiro-comedy-central-news/

MEDIA LINKS CCN COMEDY CENTRAL NEWS

https://www.volkskrant.nl/cultuur-media/comedygezelschap-boom-chicago-ook-op-tv-te-zien~b65dd6c7/

https://www.parool.nl/nieuws/boom-chicago-ook-op-tv~bebc3628/

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comedy_Central_News 

BOOM CHICAGO CCN CREW
Producer: Andrew Moskos
Segment Producer: Christy Ju
Exec Producer / Head Writer: Pep Rosenfeld
Directors: Matt Chapman, Becky Nelson
Presenter / Writer: Greg Shapiro
Presenter / Writer: Lauren Flans
Writer / Super Catty Celebrity Bitch: Michael Diederich
Head Writer / Ensemble S1: Brendan Hunt
Writers & Ensemble:
Lolu Ajayi
Rob AndristPlourde
Hilary Bauman
Jen Burton
Hans Holsen
Brian Jack
Mike OT
Jeffrey Spalburg
Andel Sudik

Dutch Producers:
Maurice Hols
Kaja Wolffers
Geert-Martin van der Jagt

18 Sept., 2008

The EU Needs a Late Night Comedy Show | a TED Talk by Greg Shapiro

The EU Needs a Late Night Comedy Show | a TED Talk by Greg Shapiro
6 April, 2022

Now that Europe’s best-known comedian is busy doing his Winston Churchill impression in Ukraine, Europe needs a new Head Comedian. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has given a big boost to European unity. Time to capitalize on our common sense of community?

Now more than ever, the EU needs a late night comedy show.

Granted, this argument is one I’ve been making for years. In fact it was in 2021 that I made this TED talk for TEDx VU Amsterdam: ‘The EU Needs a Late Night Comedy Show.’

It has been proven: Comedy helps cognition, especially in younger demographics – exactly the ones we need to engage. In America, a majority of 18-35 year-olds say they get most of their news from late night comedy programs, like The Daily Show. And for good reason! Jokes engage emotion. Emotion aids cognition.

More specifically, a study from the University of Pennsylvania concludes that humor helps people remember news better. And it makes them more likely to share the news with others. (watch the video)
Maybe there’s a reason for the popularity of comedy shows like The Daily Show, The Late Show, and Late Night with Seth Meyers (my former colleague).

WHY IS THERE NO LATE NIGHT COMEDY SHOW FOR THE EU?
In a way, there is. In 2017, Dutch late night comedian Arjen Lubach achieved international success with his viral video ‘Netherlands Second,’ (for which I provided the voice). There are German late night comedians like Jan Boehmermann and Oliver Welke.

Personally, I’ve hosted my a late night comedy show in the Netherlands: COMEDY CENTRAL NEWS: Because Dutch News is News Too. I’ve even hosted a YouTube version of a show called THE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE: Giving EU leaders the respect they deserve by ridiculing them on a regular basis.

My mission was to create a network of EU comedy correspondents. I would still love to make this dream a reality. All I would need is a generous subsidy from an intra-governmental agency that’s happy to throw away money on hopeless projects in arts & culture.
…THAT’S THE VERY DEFINITION OF THE EU. 

If you fund it, I will come.

The United States of Europe: MAKING FUN OF THE EU, THE AMERICAN WAY. 

WATCH:

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 Comedy Show LISTPUSHER at Utrecht Int’l Comedy Festival

Greg Shapiro New Comedy Show LISTPUSHER at Utrecht Int’l Comedy Festival
3 March, 2022

Based on my experiences as a real-live (fake) politician – I’ve created a new 30-minute show called LIST PUSHER.

“List Pusher?” What’s that?

THE ORIGIN STORY
A friend of mine on Amsterdam city council asked me “Could you help us on our campaign to reach out to the expats and internationals?” And I said yes. The upcoming city council elections – the gemeenteraadsverkiezingen – are the one time expats and non-Dutch citizens can vote. Basically, if you’ve lived in the Netherlands long enough to pronounce the term gemeenteraadsverkiezingen, then maybe you can vote in the gemeenteraadsverkiezingen.

But then he asked “this time what if we don’t just have you as a volunteer – but as a symbolic candidate on the candidate list?” And – here’s how my big my ego is – I said “But wait – what if I win? If everybody votes for me, will I have to be on city council?” The answer is technically yes – but I’d be candidate 49 on a list of 50. The so-called Lijstduwer – the ‘List Pusher.’ So now I’m a pusher man. Telling expats “The first vote is free.”

WHO SHOULD I VOTE FOR
Before I could become a candidate for this party, I had to make sure it was the right party for me. Politically, I’m not too far right, but also not too far left – kind of in the middle. So I found the online voting guide called Stemwijzer. They have 30 questions, and you agree or disagree, and at the end they tell you which party is for you. As an experiment, I clicked ‘No opinion’ for every question, and the party they gave me was: D66. Because they’re right in the middle. And I thought “YES! That’s the party for me.”

(Also D66 are pro-Europe, pro-gay rights, pro-bilingual education and pro dual citizenship. You should vote for them. But don’t vote for me! I know what happens when they put a comedian in charge – the next thing you know you’re fighting off Russian missiles.)

VOTE ABM: (anyone but me)!

And come see my show:
LIST PUSHER. UTRECHT INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Friday 4 March
Saturday 5 March

https://utrechtinternationalcomedyfestival.nl/
https://www.ticketmaster.nl/event/big-binge-of-comedy-friday-tickets/275019

GREG SHAPIRO – HOUSE EXPAT OF DUTCH POLITICS

GREG SHAPIRO – HOUSE EXPAT OF DUTCH POLITICS

26 Jan., 2022

After utterly failing to appear on Dutch TV reality shows like Wie Is de Mol and Expeditie Robinson, I have decided to take part in the biggest reality show of them all: Dutch politics.

In March of 2022, the Netherlands will hold nationwide local elections, and I will be appearing on the list for D66 in Amsterdam. Every candidate list has a leader at the top: the lijsttrekker (list-puller). My position on the list is more symbolic. I will appear at the bottom of the list – what is known as a lijstduwer (list pusher). Yes, I’m your pusher man.

Unlike other Dutch elections, the local elections (Gemeenreraadsverkiezingen) allow non-Dutch citizens to vote. And that is why Amsterdam D66 contacted me – to shamelessly exploit my connections in the expat and international community. To remind people – like you – you can vote! And you don’t have to vote for my party. There are a number of websites where you can answer a questionnaire to find out which party is right for you. (see below) As long as you vote!
After all, the D in D66 stands for Democrats. If you vote, I’m happy.

Why D66? Well, it started in 2014 when my friend Jan Paternotte (D66) asked me to join the team. Paternotte was actively supportive of dual citizens like me. He was also strongly pro-Europe (like me). So I said yes. Also, Jan helped promote my book, so I know he has excellent judgment and taste.

Since then, (since 2006 honestly) I’ve been known to help out on D66 campaigns. So much so that Amsterdam’s Het Parool describes me as ‘Expat à la Maison’ …
https://www.parool.nl/amsterdam/het-gevecht-om-de-stem-van-de-expat-is-begonnen-in-amsterdam~b48e0a9d/

…or ‘House Expat.’ Sounds a little bit like ‘House Elf,’ or worse… But I’ll take it.

Here’s the English version:
https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2022/01/every-vote-counts-political-parties-in-amsterdam-target-the-expat-voter/

And here’s the questionnaire to determine which of the – way too many – parties is right for you.
|https://verkiezingen.stemwijzer.nl/

HAPPY VOTING!

GREG SHAPIRO ADDED TO NEW TEAM: MODERATING.EU

GREG SHAPIRO ADDED TO NEW TEAM: MODERATING.EU
28 December, 2021

Since the Covid lockdown hit in 2020, I’ve been using the opportunity to branch out. One area that has been calling out to me is right around the corner in Belgium. It’s the EU HQ and the community known as ’The Brussels Bubble.’

A friend of mine in Brussels has been organizing a monthly EU-themed talk show called ‘Brussels Bubbles.’ And what do you know – they even have a website called ModeratingEU.  ModeratingEU is a booking agency dedicated to creating EU-themed events that are NOT BORING. And I offered my help.
https://moderating.eu/

I can now be hired via Moderating.eu to make your event less boring and tedious. Unless you WANT your EU meeting to be boring and tedious, in which case – just keep doing what you’ve been doing.
https://moderating.eu/greg-shapiro/
 
Here are some examples of what you can find on my profile:

GREG SHAPIRO – Using humor to make your message hit home.
For 20 years, I’ve been using my background in comedy and improvisation to take dry subject matter and make it more fun – and more memorable.

– Laser-focus on your Main Message – and how to use humor & interaction to make it stick.

– Native English speaker, but also fluent in ESL ‘English as Second Language.’
– Experienced improviser. Even when your event doesn’t go according to plan, I make it look like part of the plan.

A Gentleman Onstage.
Greg uses humor, but always with a diplomatic touch. Literally. He has performed for the Netherlands Embassy, as well as hosting events for French President François Hollande, and once for King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands. 

An Onstage Veteran.

Greg has experience hosting events where everything goes right – and when it goes wrong. According to Judith de Lange from Dutch Data Center Hub: “Greg provided lots of laughter in an otherwise very serious crowd. And although confronted with some technical difficulties, Greg was well-equipped to improvise and let the show go on. I would definitely recommend Greg as a host! 

A Published Author.
Greg Shapiro is the author of 3 books, such as THE AMERICAN NETHERLANDER: 25 Years of Expat Tales, available internationally. Greg uses his experience with dual nationality to bridge the gap between cultures, between organizations, and between the presenters and the audience.

RECOMMENDATIONS
“Greg’s hosting was sharp, tactful and very, very funny. We did not make things easy for him! He dealt brilliantly with the tailored EPO material.”
– Bert Lockhart, European Patent Office

“Greg made the difference between a pretty-good event and an excellent event. His total understanding of the content, his humour, and his optimistic persona gave the event depth and made it sparkle.”
– Sylvester Lindemulder, Logica Innovation Day

“Greg brought humor to our theme, mixed with a serious note. It gave energy and fun to a serious discussion, which led to more enthusiasm and interaction with our audience.”
– Marike Scholten, Windesheim Univ. Sustainability Event

“We had a lot of fun with Greg as our host for our young professionals event. A great mix between humor and serious interviews onstage. That led to good energy in the audience.”
– Marit van Heugten, Drecht Cities

ABOUT GREG SHAPIRO
Greg Shapiro graduated from Northwestern University in the US and then moved to Amsterdam to work with comedy theater Boom Chicago. He now has 20 years’ experience hosting events for multinational clients such as Philips, Shell and ING. Shapiro has hosted the tv show Comedy Central News in the Netherlands, and he is the voice of the ‘Netherlands Second’ video from 2017. Shapiro has published three books on Dutch culture. He has hosted events for the King of the Netherlands, the French President, and NATO. And he has performed in the Business Class section of a 747 flying to Chicago.

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 Guests at the ‘SNL of the EU’: The Schuman Show

Greg Shapiro Guests at the ‘SNL of the EU’: The Schuman Show
27 October, 2021

For years, I’ve been wondering why the EU doesn’t have a late night comedy show. I’ve even been trying to make one myself since 2014. But now there’s a new kid on the block: the Brussels monthly series called The Schuman Show. You see, Robert Schuman is one of the founders of the European Union. And The Truman Show is a movie from the 90s. Together, this is apparently enough to generate a full audience in Brussels. A very full audience. As I found out when I took part in October.

YOUTUBE: EuroNews: The Schuman Show: or how to poke fun at EU politics

The Schuman Show is the brainchild of Kelly Agathos, an expat who started out inside ‘the Brussels Bubble.’
These days, Kelly is the founder of ‘ImproBubble’ – the closest thing to a Boom Chicago comedy theater in Belgium. I made contact with Kelly and said I’d be interested in seeing a show someday. She turned around and asked if I would want to participate in the October edition of The Schuman Show. I said “YES, AND.”

 

I was invited to improvise a scene – as Donald Trump – interacting with an improvised Angela Merkel. Merkel would be played by Barry McKeon, a crowd favorite. Based on current events – Merkel would be at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, and Trump would ambush her backstage, since he was in Scotland to play golf and had no idea there was a summit going on.

 

The show started out with a cold open, reminiscent of Saturday Night Live. In which EU commission President Ursula ‘VDL’ von der Leyen has to deal with Poland and cutting off their funding. The scene ended in a rap battle called ’99 Problems But a Budget Ain’t One.’ There were sketches, songs, improvisations. And then I played my Trump imitation – probably too well. Wow, that crowd hated Trump! And they loved Angela poking holes in Trump’s thin skin.

 

Next up, I got to drop the Trump imitation and improvise as myself. With the other actors, I took part in a game of ‘Worlds Worst.’ The audience shouted out ‘Consultant.’ And as ‘World’s Worst Consultant,’ I simply said “Hi, I work for McKenzie.” And I got a huge laugh! Always gratifying to get a laugh based on an article I read in The Economist.

 

There was a sketch about James Bond trying – and failing – to infiltrate EU bureaucracy. There was an opening monologue about the news of the week. And there was a folk song about ‘The Answer My Friend Is Blowing Lots of Wind.’ With regular contributors to politico.eu.

There was a sketch about James Bond trying – and failing – to infiltrate EU bureaucracy. There was an opening monologue about the news of the week. And there was a folk song about ‘The Answer My Friend Is Blowing Lots of Wind.’ With regular contributors to politico.eu.

The Schuman Show according to Kelly Agathos:
“A Late-Night-meets-SNL variety show; I am the host and open with a monologue. It’s called The Schuman Show (named after Robert Schuman, one of the founders of the European Union, but also the name of a roundabout in the heart of Brussels’ European quarter- a bit like what K Street is for Washington).
Little by little, I found some Brussels-based folks from the local stand up and improv scene, and The Schuman show was born.

We’ve received a lot of attention and we have plans to put more content online in the future, so that we can really reach a large Europe-wide audience and finally make ‘Boring Brussels’ funny, interesting and relevant to the average citizen.”