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What is a ‘Doug Stanhope / Amsterdam Comedy Swapcast’ ?

Date: Sunday, November 1, 2015
Category: Blog

What is a ‘Doug Stanhope / Amsterdam Comedy Swapcast’ ?
How did I get name-checked at the Doug Stanhope show?
Am I the Michael McIntyre of Dutch comedy?

If you don’t know Doug Stanhope, you’re not alone. He’s a in a league of his own. He’s earned the label ‘Comedian’s comedian’ because he dares to go to the dark places mainstream comedians don’t. He even started a group called ‘The Unbookables.’ His solo DVDs have names like ‘No Refunds,’ ‘Morbid Obscenity,’ and ‘Before Turning the Gun on Himself.’ If there was a Bill Hicks Award, I’d nominate him.

My favorite Stanhope project is his video series, partly filmed in the Arizona desert he calls home / partly filmed onstage. Yes, he’s got his own podcast, but he’s not known for giving interviews. When I asked for an interview, the answer was ’No Interviews.’ We went to the show anyway. And we caught a lucky break.

Jonathan Groubert and I are the hosts of the Amsterdam Comedy Podcast. I’m the comedian; he’s the actual journalist and documentarian. We were there at Toomler comedy club, sitting with – a bunch of other comedians. Jonathan was already laughing before the show began.
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One of the other comedians I saw was Albert J, whom I’d met when I was hosting an open mic. He was funny. We chatted afterward. He’s in Religious at Univ. of Amsterdam. He did time in the US Army. And – as it turns out – he’s good friends with Doug Stanhope from his time in Arizona.

AJ sat in the front row. Stanhope referenced him the whole time. At one point, Stanhope was riffing about mainstream comedy. And he asked AJ ‘Who would be like the best-known comedian in Holland?’ AJ shouted ‘Greg Shapiro!’
Stanhope: ‘Greg Shapiro? Who’s Greg Shapiro?’
‘The American Netherlander!’
And that’s how I got name-checked at the Doug Stanhope show. As I found out afterward, Stanhope was thinking of an example of someone like a Michael McIntyre. Great. I’m the Michael McIntyre of Dutch comedy.

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Another AJ moment onstage was Stanhope riffing about AJ’s stories from the US Army. He said ‘too bad I don’t have my recording equipment with me… I’d love to interview you for my podcast.’ …Hello!

Introducing the Doug Stanhpope / Amsterdam Comedy Swapcast. After the Stanhope show, I offered our mobile sound studio for him to interview AJ – in exchange for an interview with him. Like an improviser, Stanhope did a Yes-And. He said, ‘Why don’t we all just interview each other and post it on both our sites? Then my listeners will learn about you and your listeners learn about me.’ Hence the Swapcast. Stanhope did a Google search for the term ‘swapcast,’ and he didn’t find anything. So he has effectively coined the term. And – instead of claiming credit – he insists that you share it. Swapcast. It’s open-source.

IMG_0412photo: Bingo

So there we were, in the Amsterdam Hilton, in Stanhope and Bingo’s room. On the same side as John & Yoko’s Bed-In. And apparently on the same side Herman Brood jumped to his death. If you don’t know Herman Brood, he was a famous Dutch singer and painter. ‘And in the end, he did a Jackson Pollock,’ says Stanhope.

The Swapcast will likely air in two parts – and AJ’s story deserves a blog piece of its own. But indeed, Jonathan and I got to interview Doug Stanhope. And – much to my surprise – Stanhope was interviewing me. He seemed genuinely curious how a comedian like me makes a living doing comedy gigs in a tiny country like the Netherlands, in a foreign language. I told him, ‘well it’s easy: I’m a sell-out. I’m trying to be the John Oliver of Dutch comedy. But I’ll settle for the Michael McIntyre.’

We got some good stuff out of Stanhope. We found out what makes him cringe. And he seemed happy to hear my story of doing a comedy show on a 747. But for more of that story, dear reader, tune into the podcast.