Comedy Against Racism: Greg Shapiro in Amsterdam

Uploaded by USAandEurope on 01.04.2011

I remember I was about 8 years old and some neighbor, friend of ours asked, ‘What do
you wanna be when you grow up?’ And I said, ‘I comedian!’ And he found me years later
and he said, ‘Do remember that?!’ And how amazing, he said, that someone at that
knew at that age what they wanted to be. I seemed to have grown up with Second City Theatre
in Chicago and out of that came Saturday Night Live and Weekend Update, which was all about
making jokes about the week; the news of the week. As those shows have come along, some
of the people that I have worked with here in Amsterdam, have gone back to the United
States and they are writing now for Saturday Night Live and… Daily Show and Stephen Colbert
Report. You might say that the employment rate in Dutch standup comedy is much more
diverse than in the rest of the market place and it’s really nice that Surinamese people,
Antillean, whatever, they have a voice very much. Moroccan comedians have done very well;
Najib Amhali is, like, the biggest example. But there are a number of up and coming Moroccan
comedians who are great and nobody’s even heard of them yet. There was an event on diversity
recently organized, in part by the US Embassy, and… it had the head of recruiting for Randstad
International, who was pointing out this demographic problem in the Netherlands about the shrinking
of the, sort of, native population. So whereas there is, sort of, populism, right now in
Dutch politics, that is saying, ‘Oh, we’re not gonna recognize our country anymore…
It is being taken over by Muslims or people who don’t live like us, don’t look like
us.’ The fact is that within 5 to 10 years, apparently, it’s going to be less ‘don’t
come here’ and more ‘please come here and don’t go to France or Germany… Instead
we need you in the Netherlands.’ So yes, that is a message that I am trying to convey
in hopefully… a humorous way. I’m actually working on a solo show right now, which is
my second show. My first show was all about my passport, my second passport, you know,
and what you have to do to get a Dutch passport. And the second show that I’m doing now is
based on a conference which was about the Dutch identity, the sort of, native Dutch
people have a big argument about, ‘What is the Dutch identity?’ ‘How much integration
should there be?’ You know, ‘The population is shrinking, but is it that bad?’… and,
so anyway, yeah, these topics are what I take on in this new show. It’s gone from a childhood
dream to something closer and closer to reality for me.