sustainability Tag

GREG SHAPIRO IN TELEGRAAF

Greg Shapiro in Telegraaf

Greg Shapiro in Telegraaf

27 March, 2024
So I was interviewed in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, about a new proposal for expats to integrate into Dutch culture with the coercion of their employers. At first, it sounds like an unlikely proposal. Who has the time? But when I thought back to my first days in Amsterdam, my Dutch boss had me doing plenty of cultural integration. Thank you to Boom Chicago’s Ms. Saskia Maas.
And look at me now: I am a volunteer for helping garbage collection in my neighborhood. Hey, Expats! If you want to make friends with Dutch folks, first just keep the place clean!

Here are some excerpts from the interview. The link to the full article is below. 
(from Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, 27 March, 2024. Translation Google / Shapiro)


‘Expats also need to integrate.’

by Marijn Schrijver

This is what the Amsterdam PvdA (Labor) party proposes. Expats aka ‘Knowledge Migrants’ must learn the language just like other newcomers. Expat expert Greg Shapiro doesn’t think it’s a bad idea at all.

Internationals with high-paying jobs are finding their way to Amsterdam en masse. And they continue to live there longer and longer. As far as PvdA faction leader Lian Heinhuis is concerned, it is time for them to also learn the language, participate in sports or volunteer work and gain knowledge about the history and tradition of Amsterdam. This week she is submitting the initiative proposal ‘Everyone Can Become an Amsterdammer.’

Language

Greg Shapiro jokes: “In the 1990s it was: ‘excuse me, can I order in English?’ Now it’s: No, you have to order in English!” The Boom Chicago comedian is perhaps the city’s best-known expat and author of the book How to Be Dutch: The Quiz. He read the PvdA proposal, and at first he thought: “who has the time for this? Those expats already work full time.” But then he thought about his own experience in Amsterdam in 1994.

“From the start, Saskia Maas (CEO of Boom Chicago) took us to the traditional Dutch brown café, of course a boat tour – and even the sauna. She taught us the basis of Amsterdam culture.” Soon Shapiro was taking language lessons and mingling with ordinary Amsterdammers. “True, I had less experience with volunteer work. But now I have adopted my local garbage container and I think that counts.” This was after seeing how Dutch people would let cardboard pile up in the street next to the container – after removing their address labels.

Culture shock

Shapiro sees the advantages of the proposal. How should expats start with integrating? “For one thing, never be caught bragging about your income. You’re only allowed to brag about how little you paid for something. At a Dutch birthday party, they’ll brag about how cheap the snacks were. ‘Oh, really? do tell!’”

“And arm yourself for Dutch honesty. As I like to say, ‘Dutch directness’ is an indirect way of saying rude.” Shapiro advises expats to embrace the culture shock. “Don’t pull back, lean in!” He remembers when he was new in town and he held the door for a Dutch woman when it was raining. “She looked at me weird and said: ‘we are not going to have sex!’ Here in Amsterdam, the rule is: do your own thing and stay out of my way.”

The comedian understands that Amsterdam residents feel discomfort about rising rents and housing prices. But he warns against generalizations. One expat is not the same as the other. “The word expat has become a dirty word, but sorry there’s been a housing shortage the whole time I’ve been here.” Amsterdam has always been a magnet for immigration. “Certainly since the Spanish Inquisition, Amsterdam has always been accommodating different waves of immigrants. Without those Sephardic Jews, no diamonds… Thank you, Spain!”

Cheese Sandwich

The most important tip from the Expat Expert is indeed to learn a bit of the Dutch language – so that you can truly complain about Amsterdam with fellow Amsterdammers. “That is bonding. ‘The weather app said it wasn’t going to rain, and then it rained on me! And the bridge was up, like it always is. And it’s cold, and I had to bike against the wind, and the street is under construction again. It’s the worst!’ And – if you do it in Dutch – that’s the moment Amsterdammers will welcome you and say ‘Yes, you are one of us.’”

Just like previous groups of immigrants, expats will also no doubt leave their mark on the city. Shapiro points to Boom Chicago’s influence on the Dutch comedy scene. “Without Boom Chicago, there would be no De Lamas,” he proudly points out. At the moment, he sees that there is huge wave of expats from India, who are bringing a lot of comedy talent with them. “Some of them are really funny. It’s nice.”

 

Here is the link to the full article:

https://www.telegraaf.nl/nieuws/2135885712/pvd-a-wil-dat-expats-ook-inburgeren-taal-is-belangrijk

For more on Greg’s book HOW TO BE DUTCH – THE QUIZ

Shapiro Dutch Quiz Book

 

Shapiro Hosts Government Event NL

Shapiro Hosts Government Event NL

Shapiro Hosts Government Event for Netherlands Innovation Network

3 April, 2024

What an inspirational event for the NIN Netherlands Innovation Network’s 70th Anniversary (Oct. 2023)! I was honored to be host for the entire day.

The NIN is an outreach program to create public-private partnerships across borders – and make history. In 70 years of international networking, they can claim credit for the creation of CD’s, WiFi, water engineering, and a whole exposition floor full of more examples.

I started by singing happy birthday for the current staff of the NIN – which is part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.

The Future is Bright

Next, we got a preview of the future. AI and Quantum computing. Agritech and Health / Life Sciences. But for me most interesting was Aviation and the race between SAF (Sustainable / Synthetic Aviation Fuel) and Alternate Power Trains (e-Jets). The good news is: pretty soon we won’t have to feel so bad about flying anymore.

I’ve hosted so many events where the theme is efficiency / downsizing. This was one event where the boss was telling the staff: “get more people to claim more of these subsidies!”

Celebrating 70 Years

Next we heard some Best-of stories from 70 years of Innovation Attaches from around the globe.

And the Minister was there – at the end. I was introduced to Micky Adriaansens.

And I introduced her to the main stage.

At the very end, organizer George van der Raaij was exhausted. But…

After the event, one of the Innovation Attaches insisted on a group photo WITH the minister.

I enticed the organizers to rally for ONE more group photo. Luckily, photographer Robin Utrecht was on board.

And there she is. Adriaansens still is the ‘demissionaire’ minister. And since our next minister will likely be from a new coalition of science-denying amateurs, the longer she stays on the better.

 

Long live the NIN! (and please make your theme song Trent Reznor & Nine Inch Nails)
https://netherlandsinnovation.nl/

For more Greg Shapiro Corporate Events, click here

Corporate Events

Shapiro Dutch Quiz Book

How to Be Dutch: THE QUIZ is back !

27 February, 2024

by Greg Shapiro, the American Netherlander

How to Be Dutch: THE QUIZ. All the questions that SHOULD be on the Dutch Citizenship Exam, according the expat expert who has been living in the Netherlands for close to 30 years. Critics loved The American Netherlander: 25 Years of Expat Tales. Now comes the perfect companion: the Shapiro Dutch Quiz Book.

How to Be Dutch makes you redefine the Netherlands you thought you knew.

  • “If Dutch people are so tolerant, why are they still judgmental as hell?”
  • “How should American parents react to a Dutch bedtime story called Sammy the Super Sperm?”
  • “If the Netherlands is the ‘Drug Capital of the World,’ why is it so hard to get antibiotics?”

 

Order here: https://hollandbooks.nl/product/how-to-be-dutch/

 

Reviews for How to Be Dutch: THE QUIZ (original printing, 2016)

How to Be Dutch plays deftly with clichés and knows how to transcend them. Even if you’ve never been to the Netherlands, Shapiro’s experiences will entertain.’
Access Magazine

‘Humorous columns, funny illustrations, hilarious photos and observations. Very nice book.’
Netherlands Library Council

‘A perfect toilet book.’
TROUW

‘Difficult topics are tackled with facts, sharp insights and often hilarious, personal anecdotes. At each turn of the page, you find yourself both laughing about and appreciating the Dutch. Greg Shapiro treats you to his version of the Dutch Assimilation Test. First, he analyzes the actual exam questions: “Every question tells a story,” Shapiro explains. And then he unveils “The Questions That Should Be on the Quiz.”
How to Be Dutch is accompanied by entertaining cartoons by illustrator Floor de Goede and hilarious photographs by the author.’
DutchNews.nl

Order here Shapiro Dutch Quiz Book:

https://hollandbooks.nl/product/how-to-be-dutch/

Or order via Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=how+to+be+dutch

 

Play the online Quiz!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLccmkVw5sINoSiRMXi9S2xbwnRu_Qwb8t

Read more reviews?

https://gregshapiro.nl/media/theater-reviews-for-greg-shapiros-latest-shows/

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. Next up come shows in Utrecht, Haarlem, Nijmegen & more…

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.” …specifically BACKWARDS.

The show is so satisfying to do!

GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE: 60 MINUTES OF CLIMATE GOOD NEWS
https://gregshapiro.nl/blog/greg-shapiro-saves-the-climate/

The Reviews

“Important and Inspiring.”

“Climate news stories making you realise it’s not all bad. Amusing and uplifting.”

“Climate theme is great. Also the ‘look out for greenwashing’ angle. Appeals to the sceptic in me.”

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.

FOR MORE GREG SHAPIRO GREEN-THEMED CORPORATE EVENTS:

Shapiro Hosts Sustainable Train Launch

WATCH: Greg’s YouTube Series ‘Climate Good News’ 

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/

 

The Seven Wonders of the Dutch World

Seven Wonders of the Dutch World

Greg Shapiro Guest Column: THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE DUTCH WORLD

8 Aug. 2023

As seen in the 2023 edition of Corporate Housing Factory Special:

 

The Seven Wonders of the Dutch World

India has the Taj Mahal, Rome has the Colosseum, and the Netherlands has: The Entire Country. Well, at least the 26% that was created by the Dutch people. First, there was the sea – and the Dutch said “Let there be land.”

…Why isn’t the Netherlands included in the Seven Wonders of the World? Maybe it’s because – as much as Dutch people like digging – they dislike bragging. Or, in Dutch: ’Scheppen goed; opscheppen niet goed.

Here are seven Dutch marvels of engineering that I think deserve more credit.

1. Schiphol Airport. Every time your plane lands at Schiphol, just imagine the conversation going on in the cockpit: “Schiphol Tower, we are descending to ZERO meters above sea level. That must be the runway, right?” Wrong. The average runway at Schiphol Airport is three meters below sea level.

2. The Amsterdam Canals. Historically, Dutch people have treated their natural habitat as something like a Lego base plate. This is why so much of the Dutch landscape looks like it was made out of Legos: Straight piece here, straight piece there. The time when Dutch people could finally afford curving pieces? They’re still talking about it.

3. Zevenbergen. Nearby the lowest point in the Netherlands. Zevenbergen translates to ‘Seven Mountains.’ Its highest point? Two meters below sea level.

4. The Maeslantkering. The Port of Rotterdam is protected by this massive storm surge barrier, and each one of these two sea gates is about as long as the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Yet in Paris, if you want an Eiffel Tower t-shirt from the tourist shops, you can find one easily. But in the Netherlands, can you find a Maeslantkering t-shirt anywhere? NO. Instead, what do most Dutch tourist shops feature on their t-shirts? The marijuana leaf. Why doesn’t the Maeslantkering get more credit? Somebody must be smoking something.

Next up:

5. Flevoland

6. Amsterdam Central Station Bike Garage

7. Afsluitdijk / Deltaworks

Want to read about 5/6/7? Click here:
https://issuu.com/zuidaspublishers/docs/chf_magazine_2023

Read my book about how the Netherlands Deserves More Credit
https://gregshapiro.nl/greg-shapiros-new-book/

 

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 Saves the Climate

Greg Shapiro Saves the Climate

GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE – 60 minutes of Climate Good News

Netherlands Tour 2024-25

In the Netherlands alone, there are solar-powered cars, wind-powered trains, garbage-powered trucks – and homes heated by cow poop (warning: contents are not vegan). Comedian Greg Shapiro shares an hour of uplifting environmental game-changers and asks “Why aren’t we ALL doing this?”

TALES FROM THE EXPERT

Shapiro’s day job is hosting events for Dutch green startups and leaders in sustainability. Greg has hosted events for: offshore wind, lab-grown meat, garbage-powered trucks, a sustainable chicken farm, the European Sleeper train, Extinction Rebellion – and even for Shell. Come hear the stories from the front lines – and behind the scenes. Warning: audience members may include activists and innovators such as Mark van Baal (Follow This), Olivier Wegloop (Kipster), or David Rossati (Climate Law, VU).

“Yes 90% of climate news is bad. But if you ignore the 10% that’s good, you’ll go 100% crazy.” – Greg Shapiro

Preserve your mental health and come see GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE.

AUDIENCE REVIEWS:

“Important and Inspiring.”

“Climate news stories making you realise it’s not all bad. Amusing and uplifting.”

“Climate theme is great. Also the ‘look out for greenwashing’ angle. Appeals to the sceptic in me.”

 

Greg Shapiro (Boom Chicago, Comedy Central, ZDF) is best-known as the voice of the ‘Netherlands Second’ video. Meanwhile, he has written and performed 6 solo shows including Leaving Trumpland and How to Be Orange. 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. He is a proud contributor to Boom Chicago Presents the 30 Most Important Years in Dutch History.

Greg Shapiro Saves the Climate Utrecht

Reviews for Premiere GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE:
https://gregshapiro.nl/blog/shapiro-premieres-climategoodnews-show-2/


For more of Greg’s Solo Shows, see the ARCHIVE

https://gregshapiro.nl/greg-shapiro-web-archive/

Greg Shapiro Tours Berlin

Greg Shapiro International Tour Hits Berlin

5 June, 2023

I’ve taken my international standup set to Brussels, to Paris, to Zurich… and so many comedian friends have told me: “You have to check out the English comedy scene in Berlin. There are so many shows! You can do 2 or 3 a night!”
What they meant was: “You can do 2 or 3 shows a night… and make about €30!”

Of course I took the train. Because I’d heard bad things about DB Deutsche Bahn, so it’s good for material. And quickly enough a German passenger claimed my seat (good luck trying to reserve a seat via Dutch rail…)

 

 

Indeed, the train to Berlin was way overcrowded. And when we arrived at Berlin Central Station, there was big welcome sign for all the English-speakers: “Travel if you dare.” Wilkommen!

I played my first show at a bar called Oblomov (in Neuköln), for the enigmatic stage animal Rohit Bhatia.

What a loving little audience! And as soon as we were done, the bar crowd spilled over into our room and put on music, but not for dancing. They were just standing in the stage lights and posing. It was like they were doing a parody of Mike Meyers from Saturday Night Live: “And now is the time on ‘Sprockets’ when we dance.” The bartender explained it to me this way. “Amsterdam is wild, but Berlin is weird.” Keep Berlin weird.

 

 

 

Friday night my international set killed – KILLED! In fact, I had two gigs – meaning I had to get from a bar in West Berlin to Comedy Cafè in East Berlin. And this was a highlight of my trip: I rented an e-bike and jetted through town at twilight.

  It felt like all of Berlin was one big green space – with apartments and shops in between. (And indeed, someone said Berlin is the greenest capital city in Europe.) I even tried out some jokes about biking in Berlin – on the Sonnenallee – and the audience gave an audible “Oooh!” Because “No one dares biking on Sonnenallee!” Well, this Amsterdammer does.

On Saturday I checked out Cosmic comedy, where I hope to play in October. On Sunday I played The Wall Comedy Club, and one of my favorite things to do is to take portraits of the other comedians onstage and send them after the show. My final show was for EastWest COMEDY in front of a familiar red curtain.

It was very warm while I was in town, so I found myself wearing my trademark suit and tie, but with shorts instead of suit pants.

Someone described me as a human mullet. “Business up top, but party down below.”
Doing my part to KEEP BERLIN WEIRD.

See you in October, Berlin! I’ll be touring a double bill with Ken Parsons.

COME SEE MY NEW SOLO HOUR GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE -?
https://comedyhuis.nl/shows/greg-shapiro-saves-the-climate-early-show/

FOR MORE GREG SHAPIRO STANDUP, click here:
https://gregshapiro.nl/greg-shapiro-upcoming-comedy-shows/