political comedy Tag

240 YEARS DOWN THE DRAIN – from George Washington to Donald Trump at Boom Chicago

240 YEARS DOWN THE DRAIN – from George Washington to Donald Trump
13 June, 2022

Comedians Pep Rosenfeld and Greg Shapiro present their 12th duo show, premiering at the Boom Chicago Comedy Festival July 7-17. Come raise a glass to the end of American democracy!

After their critically acclaimed shows ‘Trump Up the Volume’ and ‘Lock Him Up,’ Rosenfeld & Shapiro team up for a new political comedy show: ’240 YEARS DOWN THE DRAIN – from George Washington to Donald Trump.’ Because George Washington was the first president of the United States, and – come 2024 – Donald Trump might be the last.

Trump will be like: “I wanted a DO-OVER for the 2020 election. Now that I’ve won the do-over, NO MORE DO-OVERS! President for LIFE.” George Washington is known for saying “I cannot tell a lie.” Trump is known for saying “I cannot tell a lie… from the truth.”

Perhaps the best thing George Washington did for American democracy is to willingly depart after two terms as president. It’s hard to imagine Donald Trump doing that. It’s also hard to imagine Joe Biden departing after two terms – only because there’s no way he’ll live that long. 

Rosenfeld & Shapiro will use their traditional mix of standup and improv to celebrate American dysfunction. You will see a debate between Washington and Trump. You will see Inner-City Americans realize they’re not that different from rural MAGA Americans. And you will see the QAnon Proud Boys unveil their latest conspiracy theory.

Click here to see the full line-up for the BOOM CHICAGO COMEDY FESTIVAL. And our show on 11 July.
https://boomchicago.nl/boom-chicago-comedy-festival/ 

‘240 YEARS DOWN THE DRAIN – from George Washington to Donald Trump’ can be seen at the Boom Chicago Comedy Festival on 11 July at 19:30. Yes, it’s a Monday, but that won’t matter since you’re probably already gone on vacation.

…and if you can’t make it on 11 July, don’t worry! We’ve got a feeling 240 YEARS DOWN THE DRAIN will be back on a recurring basis starting this fall.

 

Greg Shapiro and the Office Jester Team Up for Trump Video

Greg Shapiro and the Office Jester Team Up for Trump Video
24 May 2022

We were both experts in corporate speaking, specifically comedic corporate speaking. Yet we came to our positions from completely different routes. I was a comedian / corporate speaker, and he was an academic / court jester.

1) Comedian / Corporate Speaker. Me, I started out at theater school, and I quickly transitioned to improv comedy. I came to the Netherlands to work with the Boom Chicago comedy theater in the booming 1990s – when every Dutch business became an e-business, and every Dutch office transitioned to English. Hence, Boom Chicago was quickly called upon to perform comedy for business events. Many, many business events: for Philips; Heineken; KLM; Shell; Unilever. All the biggies.

According to most comedians, corporate entertainment is the worst. “Vanilla jokes for boring events, just to get a paycheck.” But I quickly realized it can be the opportunity to ‘speak truth to power.’ We comedians can make jokes about the boss that the employees can’t. It doesn’t have to be ‘vanilla jokes.’ It can be more like a roast. Closer to the comedy speech at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner: you make jokes about the president to their face. Or, as I put it at Boom Chicago years ago: “We make fun of your boss in front of your boss, and the one who has to pay for the whole thing is your boss.”

2) Academic / Court Jester. I met Juri Hoedemakers at a networking event for Speakers Academy in Rotterdam. Juri was the man who had done his PhD on the role of the jester in the modern ‘court’ known as ‘Upper Management.’ Sounds familiar! It turns out we had come to the same place from different directions.

Juri had just written his book Gezocht: Hofnar. Reflective voor Leiders en Leidinggevenden.
Of course he did this all in Dutch (at Erasmus University). And now he’s speaking for corporate events about the importance of reflection for business leaders. According to his research, every leader has a blind spot, which is to take oneself too seriously. Leaders need jesters to help their message connect with their teams.

Juri was of course a fan of the Trump voice I did for the ‘Netherlands Second’ video on Zondag Met Lubach. So I did a quick voice recording to promote his book.
And here it is. [Video created by Jeroen Smolders]

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:

English Language Amsterdam Election Debate – Hosted by Greg Shapiro

English Language Amsterdam Election Debate – Hosted by Greg Shapiro
7 March, 2022

Hey Expats & Internationals! You might be able to vote in the Amsterdam City Council Elections – aka the Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen.
Basically, if you’ve been living here long enough you can pronounce the term Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen, then maybe you can vote in the Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen.

Election Day is next Wednesday, 16 March. And on 9 March I hosted the ONLY English-language election event in Amsterdam. Here are some highlights.

As the host, I started out with a comedy version of the basics: If American politics is quite Bipolar, then Dutch politics has Multiple Personality Disorder. Even in Amsterdam – with only 45 seats in city council – there are 15 different parties. And there are 26 parties running in the upcoming election! That means there are 11 parties that have never existed before – and may never exist again. That’s the nature of Dutch politics: the smaller the country, the more they like to disagree.


Onstage last night we had three parties from the current city council coalition: GroenLinks; D66 & Labor PvdA. We also had VOLT – who have never campaigned for city council before. And we had VVD who are in city council – but not in the ruling coalition.


As the host, I welcomed the 100+ people in the audience, and I subtly switched from my native English to ESL ‘English as a Second Language.’ That also helped the five politicians on the panel, who were each rather nervous about their level of English. As expected, everyone’s English was FINE… with a few exceptions.

“If you live in an old house, you need isolation. The city needs to provide isolation. Isolation for everyone!” I quickly pointed out that in English it’s called INSULATION. That’s very different. 

HOUSING
There’s more housing coming! Pre-fab houses, 3-D printed houses, and floating houses. And if you’re smart you’ll get a floating house, because this city is going to be underwater soon.

SUSTAINABILITY
Thanks to Putin, everyone in Europe is now desperate to get off of fossil fuels. GroenLinks wants more solar, more insulation and even 6-7 wind turbines on Amsterdam land. I had to ask Rutger from GroenLinks “Why has Amsterdam been cutting down so many trees?” And admitted “It’s bad for optics,” but the truth is many trees that were planted 30 – 40 years ago were not well planned, and now their root systems are destroying canal walls, city streets and foundations. They’ve been replanting new, proper trees. But that doesn’t stop Thierry Baudet from putting tree stumps in his campaign photos.

ARTS / DIVERSITY
Well, since GroenLinks & D66 chose to hold this event at Podium Mozaiek, I guess that shows they support diversity as well as the arts. Anything is better than the place they had four years ago – the Marktkantine. Yuck.

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

Arjen Lubach: Curse Breaker (So Says Greg Shapiro)

Arjen Lubach: Curse Breaker (So Says Greg Shapiro)
28 February, 2022

Is it time for the Netherlands to get its own long-lasting daily late night comedy show? Looks like the answer is YES. Arjen Lubach has already mastered the weekly format of John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight.’ Why not go for daily? Introducing De Avondshow! It’s really good. The reviews are good. Now if only we’d give him time to really find his form…
Here are a couple of quotes I gave to Dutch newspapers about De Avondshow.

Het Parool Friday, 18 February 2022
‘Will Arjen Lubach Succeed? – ’
by Roelf Jan Duin

Pullquote: “We’re already putting De Avondshow under a magnifying glass. For Arjen, the best thing would be if we just gave him time to get into the groove and work out the bugs.”

“On Comedy Central in 2007, Greg Shapiro tried a Dutch late night comedy show: the daily Comedy Central News. Together with his improv comedy group Boom Chicago, he brought Dutch news ‘in an American way.’ He remembers how heavy it could be. “If you’re making a weekly show – like we did in season two – you can say ‘I’m just not feeling it today. Let’s try a fresh angle tomorrow.’ With a daily format, you don’t have that luxury. Having to turn out jokes on a daily basis, that inevitably produces a lot more stress.”

Actually, we should give De Avondshow plenty of time before we start looking too closely, says Shapiro. (Shapiro who in 2017 did the Trump voice for the ‘America First – Netherlands Second’ video) Remember, with Zondag Met Lubach it took a few seasons before Arjen Lubach found his form – and his ratings. At the start he was getting maximum 300,000 viewers, but during his last season he was averaging 2 million.

“We’re already putting De Avondshow under a magnifying glass. For Arjen, the best thing would be if we just gave him time to get into the groove and work out the bugs. Instead, here we are – before he’s even started with one episode – commenting on his show in the paper. We are part of the problem!”
https://www.parool.nl/kunst-media/lukt-het-arjen-lubach-wel-met-de-avondshow~bb7ba224/


De Volkskrant
Monday, 21 February 2022

‘Elke Dag Lubach’
by Ashwant Nandram.

Comedy Central News (2007)

Presenter Greg Shapiro: “When the American channel Comedy Central came to the Netherlands, they wanted to have one show with original content. They asked Boom Chicago to make a late night show, and they wanted me to host it. They were aiming for a combination of The Daily Show and The Muppet Show. And they wanted it in English.
“Our first episodes were tough, but we had a sharp learning curve. We knew from The Daily Show that it’s smart to spread the work load to different recurring correspondents. We had a roving reporter to investigate typical Dutch traits, such as forming a funeral circle for birthday parties. We had a super catty celebrity bitch. And we had a black man to comment on Zwarte Piet.

“We worked with a minimalistic budget. But after a few months they realized how expensive a daily show can be. We were getting decent ratings, but they were getting the same result from showing old episodes of Rosanne, which were way cheaper. After one season, we tried a second season only weekly. But eventually they pulled the plug.”
“The only reason we can’t seem to have a successful late night show is that Dutch people seem to be too impatient. People forget that most successful American late night stars had years to develop themselves. Jon Stewart was making The Daily Show in the dark for 3 years before people started noticing him in the 2000 election. He used that time to develop his own voice, his show’s identity. The same story for Seth Meyers taking over Late Night. So my request for the tv world: give Lubach time. Let him find his form.”
https://www.volkskrant.nl/mensen/grappig-relevant-en-snel-nieuwe-talkshow-belooft-lubachs-grootste-uitdaging-te-worden~baff13bb/  

 

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 Mini Standup Special ‘LEAVING TRUMPLAND’ 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREG SHAPIRO 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.