I just arrived home from my weekend in Belgium and I had such a good time. I stayed with a mate of mine, Kristof and he really showed me great hospitality and was so nice in driving me around town to my gigs, I felt like a rock star, he’s an awesome bloke.
It started on Saturday evening with a gig at Cafe de Buster in town, a nice open podium venue. Every comedian I met in Belgium was super nice, down to earth and really open. Kristof and some friends of his came so I even had a few people in the audience for me too.
There are many similarities between central European languages and I could feel it between Swedish, English and Dutch. I could really understand a lot of the Dutch words and even in the north of Belgium, where they speak Dutch, I could understand even more. It made me feel at home to be able to get around and even pick up a little of the conversation.
Sunday was a perfect day in Antwerp, we looked around the city and it is a beautiful old place, people were on the streets, I small smiling, I tasted food with flavor!
After Kristof cooked a marvellous meal of local mussels using a special Belgium receipe, the highlight of the weekend was my gig on Sunday night at The Joker in Antwerp.
The people there were so cool, the bar owner told me everything is relaxed and I could do any length of set I wanted. I had been offered the gig by Nigel Williams who is a well known name in Belgium and he was really welcoming. It makes a difference when the people running shows have this kinf of attitude. I did 22 mins in the end, I learnt a lot from the show because I was not performing to my crowd anymore. In Finland and Estonia everyone knows us but here I am just some new dickhead so I wanted the challenge. The crowd were nice and really easy to talk to. Also my old mate Geert came over to see the show too! It was lovely to see him, this is the man that two years ago introduced me to Belgium beer and I have not looked back since.
The highlight of the night was Rick Shapiro, who comes from New York and at first appears to be the Ozzy Osbourne of stand up comedy. Its hard to describe Rick, hes got an intensity, you would swear hes drunk or on drugs but hes not, hes just got this great vibe to him. He came up to the stage and grabs the mic in one hand, while clutching a large pile of papers in the other which seemingly give him inspiration for his next part.
“So I’ve started dating again, because I ran out of hooker money”
The comedians loved it. The crowd loved it too, probably for the first 45 minutes at least. Rick went for a good hour and 20 minutes and after knocking back a few hefty Belgiums I thought it was funny as shit and interesting to see this guy go and go and go. Jason Rouse always says “this is not so much a comedy show, more of a hostage situation”. Last night we witnessed a true comedy hostage situation and I thought it was hilarious. Rick is a great guy too, I wish Id been able to talk to him more, there are bits of his stuff which are inspired genius.
I had a great time in Belgium, the people, the food, the atmosphere, I thought it was great and its given me a kick in the pants. Back into the jokes, theres two shows to do tomorrow.