Helen da Silva
Hill & Weedon
Horse & Louis
Recorded at the Leicester Comedy Festival preview show, January 2009
More Hans Teeuwen videos
|Hans Teeuwen: I Wanna Be Black|
Hans Teeuwen is one of the most successful comics in the Netherlands, coming to prominence as part of a double-act cabaret show called Heist in 1991. However, his performing partner Roland Smeenk died in a road accident the following year.
After a break to grieve for his friend, Teeuwen starred in his first Dutch TV series, Hard en Zielig in 1994. This was followed by four other shows: Met een Breierdeck, Trui, Dat dan weer wel and Industry of Love
He decided not to perform stand-up in his native country following the murder of his friend, controversial film-maker Theo Van Gogh, in 2003.Teeuwen devised Van Goghís 2003 film Interview, which was remade in 2007 by Steve Buscemi with Sienna Miller.
At Van Gough's funeral, Teeuwen sang a provocative song about religion, arguing that freedom of speech is a much more important principle than causing religious offence. The stance won him the 2008 Chortle Award for artistic integrity.
He was also nominated for best music and variety act at the 2010 Chortle awards.
Original Review:Had you seen some of the press interviews heralding Dutch comedian Hans Teeuwenís London run, in which he intelligently and passionately advocated the absolute right to freedom of speech following the murder of his friend, the controversial filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, you might expect his show to be a biting, incisive polemic about the wordís biggest issues.
If, on the other hand, you saw his often electrifying performance in the Amsterdam Underground Comedy Collective at last yearís Edinburgh Fringe, or internet clips of the Nostradamus song for which he is probably most famous, you might expect an evening of high-octane silliness.
What you might not be prepared for, however, are the huge swathes of boredom that wash over you during this sluggish 90-minute show.
Thereís no doubt that Teeuwen is an awesome performer, possessing a wide array of talents Ė and excelling at them all. This is evident from the moment he comes on, hilariously, as a nervous, tongue-tied rookie stricken by crippling stage fright, to his virtuosic jazz-piano playing, to the evocative physicality of his mimes, to the medley of songs featuring his own name to which he closes.
His stagecraft is so exemplary, that he can hold an audience in silence, just as easily as he can make them erupt in laughter. The problem is he does far too much of the former, and precious little of the latter.
This is show of fragmented, theatrical set pieces, all with a daft edge, rather than free-flowing stand-up. His favourite device is the drawn-out shaggy dog story, stretched to beyond breaking point as he delves obsessively into some irrelevant digression, picking some already trivial detail apart to the minutest degree. The joke is that this becomes far more important to him than any narrative Ė until it becomes an intolerable stand-off, him seeing how far he can push our patience, as our attention wanes under his relentless attrition.
So his rambling, surreal epics about a would-be fireman stumbling through life, or of a voyage to the ocean depths in a submersible spacecraft quickly peter away to nothing Ė yet heíll persist with the nonsensical filibustering despite the audience starting to slumber.
Occasionally, he awakens from that reverie with a sudden, violent blast of energy, like a Joe Pesci character unexpectedly bursting into terrifying life. This full-on passion, when harnessed to some inspired lunacy, is when Teeuwen shows us why heís considered one of the top comedians in the Netherlands alongside the likes of other Dutch greats such asÖ. oh, Iím sure one will come to me at some point.
That trademark Nostradamus song is unforgettable, much as you might want to exorcise its frustratingly catchy refrain from your brain; his dithering over which type of film he prefers is a paragon of impotent frustration; while his sock-puppet sidekick taking a snack are all genuinely hilarious.
But these fleeting moments of heavenly brilliance, most of which were in the club set he showcased in Edinburgh last summer, are ultimately lost under a mountain of uncomfortable, soul-sapping padding. And the less said about his graphic mime of a sex session, the better.
Though his show contains not one gram of political comment, Teeuwen says he will no longer perform in the Netherlands since Van Gogh was killed by Muslim extremists Ė thus leaving only the minority backwater of the entire English-speaking world as his potential new constituency. He is such a compelling performer that it would be unwise to think he wonít be able to crack it, should he choose. However this debut full-length show doesnít offer nearly enough chuckles to think heíll be immediately challenging any of our own homegrown comedy kings.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
|Date of review: Jan 2008|
Sunday 11th Oct, '09- Brighton Dome
Tuesday 1st Jan, '08-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2007 - Tuesday 0th Aug, '07-
Show - Misc live shows -
I have seen Hans Teeuwen twice and both times my face and sides ached with laughter. Probably the best hour of anything I have seen in my life. He's a genius.
Have just seen his live in London DVD and for me he has raised the comedy bar considerably, this is so much more than comedy. There is a new god.
Simply awful. I've attended two shows at which he's been booed offstage. Avoid at all cost.
Absolutely dreadful. Definitely a case of the emporer's Definitely a case of the Emperorís new clothes. Saw it after reading rave reviews (like many posted here) And frankly this show is dreadful. Bottom line itís just not funny. Iíve been watching live comedy for 20 years and this is just really very poor. Iím incredulous that people here say itís good. Frankly Ė itís really not. Itís all been done before, better, funnier.
Saw Hans at the Edinburgh Festival. There aren't enough superlatives to describe this guy. Makes our homegrown talent look as overhyped and uninspiring as our national football team. Hans Teeuwen is total comedy.
Loved his recent show in Greenwich. Genius! Especially his take on religion, and fascinating to see the crowd's reaction, summed up nicely by him declaring a verse of his 'I like your c***' song to be just for the the religious people in the audience. The tension was poignant.
What a load of rubbish. He claims to be controversial and he certainly is, but funny he is not.I went to see a comedy show and ended up joining in the "off" chants halfway through his act and then walking out along with many others.
As a Dutch person, I admire Hans Teeuwen and hope that he gets the chance to show more of himself to the British audience. What I noticed is that he grew tremendously during his six full length shows and that slowly but steadily he became the most successful comedian that the Netherlands has ever known. His Dutch shows are characterized by great story telling (with a love story between a fox and a scarecrow as a highlight), amazing piano skills, sublime mimics and the ability to alternate between frustrating and admiring an audience. During his Dutch shows he developed this ability to a point in which he can get away with everything and anything he does is funny. I can imagine that this is kind of strange approach to comedy and that people need to get acquainted with it, but Iíll guarantee you that if Hans Teeuwen gets the chance to develop himself, the reviewer might want to alter his opinion.
Hans Teeuwen: Live In London
Amsterdam Underground Comedy Collective
Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Amsterdam Underground Comedy Collective Presents Hans Teeuwen And Micha Wertheim
Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Hans Teeuwen: Smooth and Painful
Misc live shows
Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show 2009