event hosting Tag

Shapiro Same-Day PowerPoint Parody

Shapiro Same-Day PowerPoint Parody

Greg Shapiro Introduces Same-Day PowerPoint Parodies for Corporate Events

12 January, 2024

“Could you watch a day full of keynote speakers and then – at the end – perform a parody PowerPoint, based on their PowerPoints?” The answer is YES.

At the end of a corporate event, you’ll sometimes see a sketch artist give their impressions of the day. Or a spoken word artist. Or me, doing a standup routine.

NOW you can watch me perform a comedy version of the highlights of the day, with a tailor-made PowerPoint presentation.

The visionary who tasked me with this challenge was Ton Wesseling from Online Dialogue. I’m always inspired by his events on the subject of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization). When he first hired me a few years ago, I did a tailored PowerPoint – with a few last-minute additions: my impressions of the day. In 2023, he hired me again – but this time he asked if I could give my impressions of ALL the speakers. Obviously, the most challenging were the speakers toward the end. Not as much prep time. BUT – I did it!

Thank you Ton, for forcing me to develop a format that didn’t really exist yet. Since Ton is obsessed with data and testing, he gave me a score: “We are always looking for speakers with a 70% or higher Good or Awesome rating. Your score: 90.5%!:”

Here are the Reviews:
  1. “It is truly awesome how he dares to be on stage being funny about sessions that happened only an hour ago.”
  2. “Super impressive how much he listened and took that onboard.”
  3. “Great presentation. Great energy. Super impressed with how quickly you pulled it all together, especially for the ones who had only just spoken before your session. Really tough to nail it but you did. Bravo.”
  4. “Greg had me crying from laughter at some point …and I was really impressed of his recollection of the event.”
  5. “HAHAHAHA !!!!”
  6. “Thanks for the amazing closing keynote. I truly admire your talent to come up with something in such a short time that is so funny, and also makes you think.”
  7. “I love his energy and attitude. He greatly adapted to the world of CRO and improvised.”
  8. “Really fun close of the weekend with the ‘roast’ like presentation. Greg just gives energy to the crowd.”
  9. “Great closing keynote Greg! You certainly shook everybody up that were on the break of tuning out.”
  10. “I love your jokes, rants and energy. Very nicely improvised and integrated …Love it!”

Watch: Greg Shapiro PowerPoint parody at CRO event ‘Conversion Hotel.’ 

https://conversionhotel.com/session/keynote-2023-how-to-make-fun-of-conversion-hotel/

More Greg Shapiro Corporate Events
https://gregshapiro.nl/greg-shapiro-corporate-events/

 

Shapiro at Royal Comedy Event

Shapiro at Royal Comedy Event

Shapiro at Royal Comedy Event

28 november 2023

In Praise of Folly! This year’s Dutch Erasmus award was given to a comedian: Trevor Noah. It was an event full of Dutch comedy royalty – and actual Dutch royalty.

The event started with King Willem Alexander making jokes – and getting laughs! “I have the distinction of having sat on the lap of the previous winner, the last time it was a comedian: Charlie Chaplin in 1965. …Don’t worry, this is not a Dutch tradition.”

Trevor Noah actually made fewer jokes than expected – until the end: “I’m very proud that – after 220 years – a South African is able to take a few resources from the Netherlands back to the Cape.” He zinged the King!

Then he went and sat down in between the King and his mother, (former) Queen Beatrix. It was like watching a mini White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner.

After the Royal Comedy Event – SCHMOOZING WITH THE KING

If you’ve never been inside the Paleis op de Dam, I can recommend visiting when the Dutch royal family is hosting. I’ve attended events with King Willem Alexander before, but he’s usually whisked away quickly. This time the Dutch King seemed to want to stick around and chat with Dutch comedy royalty, like Claudia de Breij and Peter Pannekoek and even Andrew Moskos. “Is it harder to make jokes in a tense political climate? What kind of jokes go too far?” (And I was thinking “Is it all a bit too white?”) But then Soundos el-Ahmadi swooped in and took over. “Can I take a selfie?” Willem Alexander: “I’m not allowed to say yes.” Soundos: “That’s not ‘NO’!” So she broke open the floodgates (a true Dutch taboo), and then everyone got selfies with the King. I did mine modestly, from a distance. To make sure it would be the worst selfie ever:

THE GREEN KING

But I did talk to the King! I told him I might see him at the event I’m hosting next spring for the Dutch green startup Growy and the first harvest of their urban vertical farm in Amsterdam. He said “Sounds interesting,” which I relayed to the founder of Growy – who still doesn’t believe me.
(I also bumped into former Queen Beatrix! She is so little, and she was saying “I can’t see… Where is my son?” So I cleared a path for her. A couple people gave me eye daggers, but then they saw who was behind me, and they moved aside real quick. At the end I asked her for a photo, and she looked at me like I was crazy.)

And yes, I said hi to Trevor Noah. But I didn’t take a photo, because he was getting mobbed. Trevor, next time I see you I’ll say thanks for the inspiring words. Yes, comedy does connect people. Even if we oppose each other politically, when we share a laugh – in real time – we agree.

 


Thank you to the PraemiumErasmianum for the invite! Thank you to Boom Chicago for saving me a seat. And thank you to Erasmus the philosopher who was indeed Dutch. Without his writings, there would be no Reformation or Protestant religion. His “most famous” work is a socio-political satire called In Praise of Folly. Happy 65th Anniversary to the Erasmus Awards. You did well to pick a comedian.

King and Trevor Noah Make Jokes at Erasmus Award Ceremony
https://nos.nl/video/2499585-koning-en-trevor-noah-maken-grappen-over-en-weer-bij-uitreiking-erasmusprijs

For more tales of Greg performing for King Willem Alexander, check out the book – The American Netherlander: 25 Years of Expat Tales.

New Book

Greg Shapiro Premieres 'ClimateGoodNews' Show

Shapiro Premieres ‘ClimateGoodNews’ Show

Greg Shapiro Premieres His ‘ClimateGoodNews’ Show

12 October, 2023

The premiere was a success! ‘GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE: 60 Minutes of Climate Good News’ at De Nieuwe Anita in Amsterdam. The next show is 7 December in Haarlem:

Based on a True Story

My day job involves speaking and hosting at corporate events – increasingly for Dutch green startups and leaders in sustainability. Inspiring stuff, actually. So I thought: “why not make a show about it? With d**k jokes.”

So far I’ve got funny stories and inspiration to share about events for:

  • Boskalis Offshore Wind Energy
  • HZI Waste-to-Energy Power Plants
  • The European Sleeper Overnight Train (sustainable alternative to short-haul flights)
  • Kipster Sustainable Chicken Farm
  • Mosa Meat Lab-grown hamburger
  • NRC “How Green Are We” Survey
  • TU Delft Energy Transition event
  • TU Eindhoven Pitch Coaching for Green Startups
  • WUR Wageningen Food X – the food of the future
  • Koppert Agriculture – the Future of Farming

And I was even hired by a company called New Motion to standardize EV charging stations in Europe. But then I was fired – because apparently the startup had been bought out by Shell Oil, and Shell “wanted to move in a different direction.” (f**k those guys.)

Climate Feel-Good News?

And – to be clear – when I say #climategoodnews – I’m not talking about “Feelgood News,” which is largely bullshit.

In fact part of the show is about how to spot Fake Good News. For example:

  • Norway announces world’s largest floating offshore wind farm (which will power existing oil & gas extraction).
  • California unveils world’s largest EV fast-charging station (powered partially by diesel generators).
  • Indonesia introduces new biofuel for jet engines (based on palm oil).

The opening was part of the Nutty Anita’s Solo Nights, at De Nieuwe Anita in Amsterdam. And it was a nicely full house. Thanks to Amsterdam’s ‘Maestro of the underground’ Ken Parsons for producing. And thanks to Amsterdam’s Maeva Dolle for being the opening act. Her solo hour is well underway.

 

GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE: 60 Minutes of Climate Good News – Thurs 7 December @De Dakkas Haarlem

https://www.eventbrite.nl/e/greg-shapiro-saves-the-climate-tickets-761757185247

FOR MORE GREG SHAPIRO GREEN-THEMED CORPORATE EVENTS:

Shapiro Hosts Sustainable Train Launch

Shapiro Hosts Kipster Event

Shapiro Hosts Kipster Event

18 sept., 2023
Hooray! I hosted another green event, this time for a sustainable chicken farm called Kipster. 
Kipster (not Kipsta) started with 2 Dutch chicken farms, creating the world’s first carbon neutral eggs. Now this Dutch business is expanding into the US, and to host their launch event, they called me: The American Netherlander. The event took place in North Manchester, Indiana (23 Aug). And Queen Maxima even taped a video message.

 

To prepare, I met with one of the founders Olivier Wegloop, who is a vegan and animal rights activist. Here he is in the blue shirt behind me (gawd it was hot in that tent…)


Olivier believes in the writings of animal rights activists like Temple Grandin, who said: “nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be. If we are raising animals to be eaten, at least we can treat them with some respect.“ (and then we got to interview Grandin… see below) Since chickens are traditionally forest animals, Kipster has created – not only a cage-free environment, but – a fun forest.

As you can see, they still lay plenty of eggs.

Another Kipster founder is Ruud Zanders, who explained the main reason their chickens are carbon neutral: they feed the chickens food waste.

Every year A) humanity grows enough food to feed 4 billion people – and then we give it to livestock, B) of all the food we produce, we waste about 33%. Kipster simply asks: “Why not feed the chickens food waste?” The motto of Kipster is “Crops should be about Food not Feed.” This ground-breaking strategy is actually thousands of years old. But …

KIPSTER’S REVOLUTIONARY TWIST

The revolutionary part of Kipster is: Roosters for Meat.

Since male chickens don’t lay eggs – and they’re considered too gamey to eat – the normal practice on chicken farms is to kill baby male chicks they day they hatch. (The waste product is hopefully repurposed into things like pet food.) But Kipster asks “what if we let the roosters grow to maturity (and then we eat them)? How gamey are they really?”

To end the event, Kipster served up the first-ever rooster meatballs. I met with Managing Director Sandra Vijn to try one. And I thought it the texture was perfect. The tray of ‘Boom Boom’ rooster balls was not finished at closing time, and I was afraid it might become food waste… but I suppose the rooster meat was fed to the hens. What better way to say ‘Death to the Patriarchy’ -?

Thanks to Olivier Wegloop for putting this event together. He was the one who arranged an interview with Dr Temple Grandin – via Livestream. Dr. Grandin is famously autistic, and she demanded to see all the questions in advance. Then – as soon as Olivier asked his first question – she just went on a rant about sustainable farming and animal behavior and didn’t stop. She’s a legend!


Thank you to Olivier & Sandra for inviting me. Thank you to the Dutch Consulate of Chicago for putting us in touch (years ago). And thank you to Markey’s Event Services who created the backbone for an extremely professional show – including full build and build-down in extreme heat. And they made it look easy.

For more about Kipster in English: 
https://www.kipster.farm/

More Green-themed events hosted by Greg Shapiro:
https://gregshapiro.nl/blog/shapiro-hosts-sustainable-train-launch/

Greg’s new Green standup special GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE
https://gregshapiro.nl/blog/greg-shapiro-saves-the-climate/

 

Shapiro at ‘4 More Years’ Event

Greg Shapiro Helps Celebrate ‘4 More Years’ of Castro Communicatie, May 2023

31 July, 2023

How do you celebrate your 4th anniversary as a Dutch political consultancy? With a political-themed party called “Four More Years!” Dutch communication and lobbying agency Castro Communicatie hired me to help them celebrate their fourth birthday, at The Loft in the A’dam Tower Amsterdam.

Shapiro '4 More Years' Event

Stefan de Bruijn, Greg Shapiro, Frits Huffnagel

I asked if “Four More Years” might seem too partisan for their clientele? But of course – in the upcoming 2024 US election – the term “Four More Years” could apply to two different candidates: Biden and Trump. So “Four More Years” it was! They wanted an event with all the hype and hollering of American campaign – but with a Dutch twist. Who better to help them than The American Netherlander?

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/castrocommunicatie_castro-four-more-years-activity-7064245462496665600-upym?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

 

Castro Communicatie’s American Roots

Castro Communicatie gets its name from the Castro district in San Francisco, the historic gay capital of the US. The two business partners (who also have male life partners) are Stefan de Bruijn and Frits Huffnagel. (aka S+F for SF: San Francisco). And they base their political consulting on the American model, so a connection to the USA seemed a perfect fit. (And then of course there’s Fidel Castro, who was famous for giving political speeches lasting for hours – which Frits and Stefan try to avoid.)

My job was to host the video presentations – and give a 20-minute keynote speech about the 4-year history of Castro Communicatie and the unique appeal of their Dutch-American style. In English, of course. Were there some older folks who didn’t like standing? Yes. Was there a MAGA hat or two? Yes. And was there one tired guy right up front? Also yes. Luckily, I’ve been trained to focus on people who are laughing, and that was most of them.

After my bit, Frits announced a new partnership with Castro Communicatie and event organizer New Balls Please. https://www.newballsplease.amsterdam/

They did a great job organizing this event – with real popcorn!
And I got to meet the DJ, who is also a former client and currently the mayor of Halderberge in Brabant: Bernd ROKS!

Congrats Castro Communicatie! We wish you a happy 4 more years.

Greg Shapiro Linkedin
https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-shapiro-b030392/

Greg Shapiro Corporate Events

Corporate Events

 

Shapiro Hosts Sustainable Train Launch

Shapiro Hosts Sustainable Train Launch

Shapiro Hosts Sustainable Train Launch

28 June, 2023

Looks like my Climate Good News series is paying off! Again I got the call to host an event with the theme of Sustainability: the launch of the new European Sleeper train from Brussels to Berlin.

photo credit: Alvin Williams JMT Mgmt & Events

Link: ‘Night Train Startup European Sleeper’

Background: Two Dutch entrepreneurs (and train nerds) created a startup company to offer more overnight train service throughout Europe. And – after years of crowd-funding and organizing – the day of the maiden voyage had arrived! While the two founders were focused on preparing the photo moment of the train departing… the event organizer told them they really should consider a professional host for the launch event.

I was told that the two founders were nervous and rather serious. So – as soon as I met them, I said “I hear you two are entrepreneurs… but I assume you’re primarily train nerds?” And I asked if I could take a selfie with them. Here’s what we got:

I could tell this was going to be fun.

The launch event was held in the Pullman Hotel. Hence, my intro wrote itself: “The Pullman Hotel refers, I assume, to George Mortimer Pullman – the inventor of the first railroad sleeping car. And where did George Pullman set up his business? Chicago, Illinois – which is where I’m from. …Hence, my entire life has been leading up to this moment!”

THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

I had to ask a question of the two founders. “Everyone knows there’s a term for having sex on a plane: ‘The Mile-High Club.’ So why is there no term for having sex on a train?” And I was quickly corrected by founder Chris Engelsman, with a perfect deadpan delivery: “There is a term, actually. It’s called ‘The Mile-Long Club.’”

The event ended with the Belgian transport minister taking the stage and announcing the news: the Belgian parliament had voted to grant a subsidy to The European Sleeper and their Goodnight Train. Hey, I was already thrilled to hear that Belgium had a functioning government.

The train arrived on time and departed on time, with many happy first-time passengers.

And look at serious entrepreneur Chris Engelsman as the European Sleeper train arrives in the station.

 

The Goodnight Train is now running regularly from Brussels to Amsterdam to Berlin.
https://www.europeansleeper.eu/en
Next up, they plan to extend service to Prague. Soon, there will be a new service from Brussels to Barcelona. It’s like playing real-life game of Ticket to Ride!

Thanks to the excellent Alvin Williams at JMT Management for organizing a memorable event. Extra thanks for all the photos.

Read more about GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE: 60 Minutes of Climate Good News
https://gregshapiro.nl/blog/greg-shapiro-saves-the-climate/

GREG SHAPIRO RETURNS TO PEPIJN

GREG SHAPIRO RETURNS TO PEPIJN

10 June, 2023

Greg Shapiro Shows / TV Appearances

Greg Shapiro returns to host Pepijn’s Comedy Club in English for Season 2023-24.
Shapiro’s first season hosting at Theater Pepijn featured top comedians, sold-out theaters and great reviews. Additionally, next season will feature extra dates:

CLICK HERE FOR DATES IN 2023-24

See below for some quotes from the latest review:
(full article here: https://artstalkmagazine.nl/comedy-in-english-at-pepijn-in-the-hague/ )

‘STAND-UP COMEDY IN ENGLISH AT PEPIJN IN THE HAGUE’

Michael Hasted, ARTS TALK MAGAZINE  14th April 2023


Stand-up comedy is a funny thing; funny peculiar – and, of course (hopefully), funny ha-ha. This was demonstrated last night at the Theater Pepijn comedy club in The Hague which was staging its now regular English comedy night. …consisting of comedy ambassadors from America, China, Romania and India. That in itself could be the basis of a good joke – “An American, an Indian and a Romanian walked into a pub . . . “, but I digress.

Greg Shapiro as Host of Pepijn’s Comedy Club in English

The evening was MC’d by the doyen of English language comedy in The Netherlands, American Greg Shapiro. His relaxed, easy-going style got everyone in the mood and this was continued by the first act, Mohna Joshi, an Indian lady of a certain age who one would have thought was a very unlikely candidate for stand-up. But although much of her act was about her sex life and problems distinguishing between her vibrator and the TV remote control, it was all very laid back and in the best possible taste. More aggressive, but equally focused on her sex life, was Romanian Luana Elena Matei. The second half of the show consisted of Sid Singh and Weina Ma, the only, and I say this with no fear of contradiction, young Chinese lady performing stand-up comedy in English in The Netherlands.


(photos: Greg Shapiro)

I had rather gone off small club stand-up in the UK because it got rather too boisterous, too much drunkenness and too much vulgarity but last night at the Pepijn was a very civilized affair.  …One thing that puts some people off in stand-up is the fear they will be picked on, with the comedian insulting or humiliating them. Nothing like that last night; it was a really good atmosphere and everybody had a good night out. More English nights are planned at the Theater Pepijn so if stand-up is your entertainment of choice, there you go.

Previous shows in Comedy Club Pepijn: 
https://gregshapiro.nl/blog/greg-shapiro-pepijns-comedy-club/

Greg Shapiro’s shows this month: 
https://gregshapiro.nl/greg-shapiro-upcoming-comedy-shows/

Greg Shapiro Summit Standup 'Summit for Democracy'

Greg Shapiro Summit Standup


Greg Shapiro Summit Standup

21 April 2023

Was that me performing standup in a global livestream called Summit for Democracy? Yes, it was. introducing a new category of performing: Greg Shapiro Summit Standup.

Greg Shapiro Summit Standup, performing for Summit for Democracy

I got a call from a friend who works at the Dutch foreign ministry. Was I aware of this ‘Summit for Democracy’ thing? It’s an initiative of the Biden White House, to push back against authoritarianism worldwide. There are various themes hosted by different countries, and the Netherlands gets to host the Freedom of Speech.

Would I be willing to perform three minutes of standup for this Summit for Democracy livestream? I said yes. “But,” he said, “the livestream might not be live in America, because they might want to censor some of the content. In fact, you want want to make a joke about that…” Oh, believe me I did.

I said: “I was told that this Freedom of Speech livestream was originally NOT going to be live in the United States, because they might want to censor some of the content. …Censoring the content? About the Freedom of Speech? Ah, America! We’re almost 250 years old, and still trying to grasp the basic concept of irony.”

Greg Shapiro Summit Standup comedy at Summit for Democracy

“Censoring content is very hot in America right now. On the Far-Right, you’ve got people banning books because they talk about homosexuality, or they suggest that slavery might have been racist. And then on the Far-Left they’re censoring books because they use the N-word, or they’re written by Roald Dahl. Oddly, banning books is one thing that could unite the Far-Left and Far-Right in America. And then we will have truly learned the meaning of the word IRONY.”

You can watch the 3-minute monologue here, BUT please note the students sitting behind me were apparently instructed: YOU WILL BE ON CAMERA! DO NOT LAUGH! 

 

THE SUMMIT FOR DEMOCRACY LIVESTREAM

The entire Livestream is worth a watch. Did you know how many initiatives are already in place to push back against anti-democracy disinformation? Samantha Power (USAID) explains. The Dutch Foreign Minister talks about ‘PersVeilig’ to protect journalists from harm. And Amanda Bennett talks about how Voice of America & Radio Free Europe are a vital source of news, even in Iran.
Here’s a teaser for the livestream (I’m in it briefly):

 

+ You can watch the whole live stream here:

 

CLICK HERE for more about Summit for Democracy events.

https://www.government.nl/ministries/ministry-of-foreign-affairs/activiteiten/summit-for-democracy

 

ALSO – GREG SHAPIRO’S POLITICAL COMEDY SHOW ‘PEP & GREG SAVE AMERICA’ AT BOOM CHICAGO:

Review: ‘Pep & Greg Save America’

Greg Shapiro Shows / TV Appearances

Greg Shapiro SHOWS / TV Appearances

Greg Shapiro Shows / TV Appearances
15 February, 2023

By popular demand! You now have a one-stop shop for all my Greg Shapiro Comedy Shows – and TV appearances.

SHOWS

Good news: I now have all my upcoming comedy dates on one page: standup / improv / solo shows.
(Some seasons I have a proper theater tour with a whole season full of bookings, known months in advance. …This is not one of those seasons.)

This season I’m picking up ad hoc gigs on a month-by-month basis, mostly in the Netherlands. Mostly standup comedy spots. Also comedy improv shows, mostly at Boom Chicago.
BUT – sometimes I pick up a show in Paris, just because I’m passing through.
FOR EXAMPLE:
22 Feb. PowerPoint Comedy Show Wed, Mar 22, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
La Pomme D’eve
1 Rue Laplace, Paris 75005
calendar.google.com/calendar/u/0/r/week

And yes, I’m in tryout phase for my new solo show: Dutch to the Rescue. Early previews are great so far!

Greg Shapiro New Solo: ’DUTCH TO THE RESCUE’
Who do you call when you need a sea wall? The Dutch.
Which country’s thriving with sea levels rising? The Dutch.
Who brings you luck when your container ship’s stuck? The Dutch.
When it comes to Climate Change, the Netherlands has a lot of answers to world’s challenges. But they don’t like to talk about it. Yes, Dutch people are producing the world’s first solar-powered car, creating lab-grown meat, cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch… but they don’t like to brag. The Netherlands is like a superhero obsessed with their secret identity.
Enter Greg Shapiro, who’s been living in the Netherlands long enough to be proud of the Dutch – and still American enough to not care how l out he is about it.

CLICK HERE FOR DATES (I’ll update them on a monthly basis):
https://gregshapiro.nl/greg-shapiro-upcoming-comedy-shows/

TV Appearances

“Didn’t I see you on TV?” The answer is: MAYBE, yes. Here is a one-stop shop for everyone wondering if you actually saw me on television – or if you were thinking of Screech from Saved by the Bell.

Here you have a bunch of clickable videos with Dutch American comedian me on – mostly Dutch – TV. Of course there’s the ‘Netherlands Second’ video (scroll down to bottom). But most of these clips are me appearing as myself. And – since I am The American Netherlander – these clips are partly in English, and partly in (bad) Dutch.
Find my TV Appearances page in the MENU under MEDIA – or click here:
https://gregshapiro.nl/media/theater-reviews-for-greg-shapiros-latest-shows/

Also – you can go to Greg’s YouTube channel and view the Playlist:
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLccmkVw5sINqpr3yX4Ex1CeXm8FaIThKo

Greg Shapiro in 'Conference Matters'

Greg Shapiro in ‘Conference Matters’

Greg Shapiro in ‘Conference Matters’ Magazine

Finally, a magazine dedicated to Sharing Best Practice in the (Corporate) Events Sector! Conference Matters Magazine. I was happy to be interviewed for Conference Matters, and Jeroen Mirck’s questions were so good I love him now. Here’s a preview of the interview. Please do click the link and subscribe to the magazine, if you care about quality events.
https://conferencematters.nl/en/greg-shapiro-humor-can-be-the-safest-option-for-serious-events/

STAND-UP COMEDIAN GREG SHAPIRO: ‘EVEN FOR SERIOUS EVENTS, HUMOR CAN BE THE SAFEST OPTION’
CONFERENCE MATTERS MAGAZINE, 18-11-2022

By Jeroen Mirck

Greg Shapiro is a Dutch American comedian who gathered world fame with his vocal impersonation of Donald Trump in the viral ‘Netherlands Second’ video. He started his career as a member of the comedy group Boom Chicago and became a popular speaker at business events. “Humor is the safest option at a serious business event.”

Greg Shapiro was seven years old when he saw the first season of Saturday Night Live. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be a comedian. And I found out that John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray all started their careers at this one theater called The Second City. And it was in my hometown, Chicago! ‘The Second City,’ as in ‘New York first, Chicago second.’ …It was indeed my destiny.”

Did the viral video of your Trump impersonation in the Dutch tv show of Arjen Lubach change your life?

“Totally changed my life, bigly. Hyuge! Hahaha. I don’t know if the ‘Netherlands Second’ video changed my life, but I did enjoy hearing that it was used by the Dutch foreign ministry for trade missions! Personally, I used my Trump impression for a whole standup show – as well as for conferences like The Next Web. We interrupted the show with screens saying ‘Donald Trump Live by Phone’ and had me doing a voiceover from offstage. Then Trump would improvise his reaction to how the conference was going so far. It’s a formula we used many times since!”

 

When is humor a good recipe for a serious business event?

“Humor is always good. Even during a serious business event, humor can actually be the safest option. I recently hosted an event where the CEO wanted me to create an informal atmosphere – a ‘safe space’ for the audience to feel comfortable asking the difficult questions. And sure enough, someone asked about accusations of ‘greenwashing.’ The CEO gave a serious answer and admitted that in the past few years the accusations were partly true. And that’s why they’d appointed their first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer. Once he was done, I turned the humor back up to 100% by saying that if anyone complains about Dutch companies not being green enough, remind them that Shell Oil is now located in the UK.”

What is your expert advice for hosts and speakers who want to be funny?

“Good news! You don’t have to do anything – just be yourself. As we say in improv comedy, ‘Truth is funnier than fiction.’ All you need is a good co-host to help you be yourself. You need a good wing man!”

Greg Shapiro in in ‘Conference Matters’
https://conferencematters.nl/en/greg-shapiro-humor-can-be-the-safest-option-for-serious-events/
——-

Click here for Greg Shapiro on being a Cheerleader for the Netherlands, in Speakers Academy Magazine
https://gregshapiro.nl/blog/greg-shapiro-netherlands-cheerleader/