22 March, 2023 ArtsTalk Magazine reviewed my book again! This time it was for their online supplement, and it’s an all-new review.
My third book debuted in 2020: THE AMERICAN NETHERLANDER: 25 Years of Expat Tales.
Greg Shapiro: The American Netherlander. Book Review
by Michael Hasted. November, 2022
“The book is full of apposite observations, canny advice, witty asides and some nice cartoony illustrations. It could well have been entitled The Netherlands – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly because, like the Dutch, it does not pull its punches.
“Greg takes us, chapter by chapter, through the different aspects of Dutch life and how to cope with – sorry – appreciate them. We learn of course about about sex and drugs and the ubiquitous coffeeshops. We find out more about bike etiquette. And …serious though it is, the Zwarte Piet subject is treated in an easygoing, unpreachy, unjudgmental manner.
“The last section of the book re-utilizes Greg’s previous book How to Be Dutch: the Quiz. This section is both funny and informative. Again, this is broken down into sections like bikes, health care, politics and … err… Zwarte Piet.
Book Review ‘Shapiro funny, informative’
“There is even a ‘Oh, I never knew that’ section which lists, in rhyming couplets, things we never knew were Dutch. Like half the place names in New York City, LED lights, multinationals Philips and Shell, the microscope, the discoverers and namers of New Zealand, etc etc.
“To round it all off there are pages of photos of shop signs taken by Greg over the years, showing how Dutch can produce names and words that we English speakers find amusing. For example a hair dresser called Down Under Hair or the Bad Hotel or the Dutch senator called Tiny Kox. You’ve got to love ‘em.
“The American Netherlander provides us with lots of information about the Dutch persona and way of life and is the result of not only Greg’s personal experiences and insights but a lot of thorough research as well . Oh and the laughs, don’t forget the laughs.”
By popular demand! You now have a one-stop shop for all my Greg Shapiro Comedy Shows – and TV appearances.
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.
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.
“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/
GREG SHAPIRO HOSTS PePijn Comedy Club JANUARY – IN ENGLISH
12 Jan., 2023
So much talent developing in the English-language comedy scene in The Netherlands! And I get to curate it for PePijn’s Comedy Club. Here’s the Best-of the January edition:
(Yes, I’m wearing a mustache. I hate it! I had to grow it out for a film role. Coming soon…)
I am lucky enough to be programming one of these English comedy nights, in one of my favorite little spaces: Theater PePijn in The Hague. Normally reserved for solo shows and Dutch ‘cabaret,’ it is known among comedians as one of the best spaces to perform.
The January show:
He’s a black man from the Caribbean – but his name is Sjoerd. The jokes write themselves. Yet the magic came in his crowd work: “Are you two together? I hope so, because she’s got her head on your shoulder. Sir, if she’s NOT with you, please blink three times.” Plus: “How did you two meet? At work? So: ‘unprofessional?’ Should someone be calling HR?”
Ken is a folk-singing comedian, who is not afraid to talk about mental health issues during the holidays. Hence, he introduced a new song called “Bipolar Christmas.” Ken is also a Dutch teacher, and his roast of the Dutch language is legendary. And – as a former squatter – Ken knows all the best places to organize his many comedy shows.
JACK HEYJACK. Stepped in as our 5-minute spot. He talked about being legally blind. (After the legally deaf Lara Ricote last month, I can see a pattern developing.) If I can make him stick to material about the realities of blindness (and playing the kazoo), he’ll be all right.
Our headliner for the night! “Anybody doing any New Year’s Resolutions? Because statistically, 80% of people fail by Day 8. And the rest of us fail by Day 12. …That’s today!” Kendra also talked about trying to get in shape after the Covid lockdown: “The only 19 I got was kilos. I gained so much weight, I went from NOT being in an at-risk group – for getting the early vaccine – to being IN the at-risk group.”
Theater PePijn was established as a tryout space for the bigger names in Dutch theater and ‘cabaret.’ You can still find big name artists for a tiny little price, as they try out new material.
THE NEXT DATES FOR PEPIJN’S COMEDY CLUB – IN ENGLISH
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.”
“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!”
DUTCH TO THE RESCUE – a new Greg Shapiro solo comedy show
6 January, 2023
Welcome to the Netherlands, where 30% of the land mass is below sea level, and the sea level is rising. But don’t worry! If the water gets too high, Dutch people will do what they’ve doing for centuries: make more land. It’s what they do.
In fact, when it comes to Climate Change, the Netherlands has a lot of answers to world’s challenges.
“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.”
The Netherlands doesn’t get nearly enough credit – and somehow that’s exactly how they like it. The entire country is allergic to anything resembling bragging.
Scheppen, goed. Opscheppen, niet goed.
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 talk about it. The Netherlands is like a superhero obsessed with their secret identity. Netherlands, you need a sidekick. You need a wing man. You need a cheerleader!
Enter The American Netherlander: Greg Shapiro is Dutch enough to be proud of the Netherlands – and American enough to not care how loud he is about it. So many examples of Dutch traditions and innovations to fight climate change, but they don’t like to brag. That’s where I come in.
DUTCH TO THE RESCUE is Greg Shapiro’s seventh solo show. Previous shows include Leaving Trumpland and How to Be Orange.
Greg Shapiro: Comedian. American. Dutchman. As a comedian, he is known as the voice of the ‘Netherlands Second’ video – and as one of the originals at Boom Chicago theater in Amsterdam. He has hosted ‘Comedy Central News’ on ComedyCentralNL, and he has appeared on BNN-VARA, VPRO & ZDF. As author, Greg has written books such as How to Be Dutch: the Quiz and his latest The American Netherlander: 25 Years of Expat Tales.
Also coming soon in 2023: a return of Pep & Greg Save America at Boom Chicago in March.
The English-language comedy scene in The Netherlands is developing so much comedy talent these days! For under 20 euros, you can easily see ‘Tomorrow’s Netflix Special’ comedians – before they start charging 75 euros per ticket. I am lucky enough to be programming one of these English comedy nights, in one of my favorite little spaces: Theater PePijn in The Hague. Normally reserved for solo shows and Dutch ‘cabaret,’ it is known among comedians as one of the best spaces to perform.
LARA RICOTE – our First Headliner
Lara started out as an international student in Amsterdam a few years ago. She developed her first solo show based on her unique blend of demographic categories: GRL/LATINX/DEF. “Girl, Latin American, and hard of hearing.” Lara plays up her triple ‘Minority status’ to great effect. Now she’s winning awards like the UK Funny Women Award and the coveted Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2022.
Before Lara moves off to the UK – or the US – I managed to get her onstage for the November edition of PEPIJN’S COMEDY CLUB – IN ENGLISH.
WATCH (90 seconds):
Also featured in the November show
– Hermes Ahmadi. Afghan / Dutch comedian, known for his solo show You Might Be Here. – La Hager – Egyptian / Dutch comedian, and female. She is a mainstay of the English comedy scene, particularly in The Hague.
– Lia Sulim – Ukrainian comedian – was in the New Talent spot. She is a recent immigrant, forced to flee from the invasion. She’s still working on her English, but her punchlines are killer. One to watch.
+ special thanks to Lia’s boyfriend ISIK ISIN for photos & videos!
Theater PePijn was established as a tryout space for the bigger names in Dutch theater and ‘cabaret.’ You can still find big name artists for a tiny little price, as they try out new material.
The next dates for PEPIJN’S COMEDY CLUB – IN ENGLISH
November starts with a BANG. For FOUR nights only, we perform ‘PEP & GREG SAVE AMERICA’ at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. (starting 3 Nov.) Just in time for the US Midterm Elections 2022. Pep and I have been doing standup comedy shows together for 20 of America’s 240 years. So this time we’ve added music and improv from Stacey Smith & Sacha Hoedemaker. It’s a hoot. And – based on the results on Election Night – Pep & I might just save America by putting a pillow over its face and ending the pain.
Another show I’m excited about is the new English comedy series at Pepijn Comedy Club in The Hague. (10 Nov.) I’m booking the shows as well as hosting. And guess who’s coming to be our headliner? The Best Newcomer at the 2022 Edinburgh Comedy Awards! Amsterdam’s own Lara Ricote. She is smart & funny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgySVdjX86E
And I’ll be headlining the first show in a new series in Westerpark at the Pacific Amsterdam in Westergasfabriek. It’s called Jesterpark.
I’ll be playing in Amsterdam, Leiden, Den Haag, Utrecht – and Paris!
One of the more bizarre aspects of knowing famous people is when they name-check you on TV. The king of Dutch late-night comedy is Arjen Lubach, and he is also one of the smartest fellows on TV. Hence he can frequently be seen on the Dutch quiz show De Slimste Mens.
To introduce a new quiz category, Arjen made a short video, saying: “Na de inauguratie van Donald Trump maakte wij bij Zondag Met Lubach een filmpje dat aardig viral ging. The ‘Netherlands Second.’ Ik hou het niet exact bij, maar de teller staat op ongeveer de 41,980,818 views. De stem van Donald Trump werd trouwens fenomenaal gedaan bij Greg Shapiro van Boom Chicago. Boom Chicago. Boom. …Wat weet u van de eik?”
“After the inauguration of Donald Trump, we made a video at Zondag Met Lubach that went quite viral. The ‘Netherlands Second’ video. I can’t keep track of it exactly, but the view count is approximately 41,980,818 views. The voice of Donald Trump was done phenomenally by Greg Shapiro from the Boom Chicago theater. ‘Boom Chicago.’ Boom (Tree). …What do you know about the oak?”
Thanks for the shout-out!
One Shout-out and One Insult
Also my name recently came up, when a friend of mine was watching a 2014 episode of Broad City. He sent me a screenshot of Zack Gallifianakis’ character saying, “Only me and Greg Shapiro could go blow ourselves.”
What -? Why ‘Greg Shapiro’ -? Surely this was a coincidence. Or… could it be my former girlfriend? One of the writers on Broad City was indeed a former Boom Chicago colleague – who was also a former girlfriend. I thought we had broken up amicably (in 1995). But who knows, maybe it sometimes takes 19 years for people to exact their revenge. I’ll never know.
A lot of my former colleagues are working in American show business. We all worked together doing improv comedy at Boom Chicago. And one of the fundamental rules of improvisation is “Make Your Partner Look Good.” So when I see former colleagues winning awards – like Seth Meyers and Jordan Peele and Jason Sudeikis – I feel like “I made them look good.” And looking at my career, I realize “I guess I did a better job than they did.”
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.”
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 – 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.”
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.
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.”
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.”