Following up on some TEDxAmsterdam 2011 speakers I got the chance to have a talk with someone who is known for making people cry. Cry of laughter that is: Pep Rosenfeld. Pep is co-founder and artistic director of comedy club Boom Chicago in Amsterdam; co-owner of Chicago Social Club (night club, bar and theater aka the late night version of Boom Chicago); a writer of presentations and campaigns and a “political junkie”. Standing on a stage is nothing new to him, seeing that he is also a host of events such as PICNIC Festival, Spin Awards, TEDxBinnenhof and the 2010 edition of TEDxAmsterdam.
He certainly has a connection to TEDxAmsterdam: Pep also took part in the Worldwide Talent Search for TED2013. If you want to know what can happen when we really listen, then listen to his audition at the last stop of the talent search in Amsterdam.
And the bond with TEDxAmsterdam gets even stronger, as Pep was also one of the speakers last November. He shared his insights on how humor can be used and also abused. Making a joke does not only make people laugh: the message also sticks better.
Three must knows about Pep
So, what was Pep busy with the last few months? Three questions (plus a bonus question) for someone who has been on the TEDxAmsterdam stage in 2011.
What happened? Between leaving the stage at last year’s TEDx event and this moment in time: what kept you busy – what happened that you would like to share with the TEDx community?
A million things happened since last year’s TEDx event. Two of the most fun things were: first of all hosting TEDxBinnenhof. I made jokes about Princess Maxima and Prince Willem-Alexander while they were sitting just 10 meters away from me. After the event I had the chance to shake hands with Maxima and we compared our bad Dutch.
The other fun thing I have been really busy with, which is also fun, is working on a show at Boom Chicago about the election in the US: My Big Fat American Election. I am also writing a blog for the Telegraaf about the elections.
The one great thing or moment you instantly remember about TEDx last year?
The thing I remember clearly was being super duper nervous before the talk. And then… the feeling of relief when I was standing on the red spot and getting the first laugh from the audience. Compared to the stress before, that was great!
That one thing during last year’s TEDx that you’d rather forget. Anything that could have gone better?
The clicker! I really thought it was screwing me! I was thinking what if I have trouble with the clicker the whole time?! When I decided to just not use it anymore, I realized I had a bunch of slides I really needed. So, you can rehearse your talk as much as you want to, but when technology fails you can only fall back on entertainment and design.
And the bonus question: What is the question no one ever asks you – and your answer to it?
People dare to ask me anything! But I think something that no one asks is what I will be doing after the election show at Boom Chicago. What I will be doing after the election show is a show about Sinterklaas: There’s No Such Thing as Sinterklaas. You know, there is one thing about Sinterklaas over here that I don’t like much: the Zwarte Piet tradition. In the first half of the show we will compare Santa with Santa — the Dutch one with the American one — the different traditions in several countries. In the second half we will use Zwarte Piet as sort of a stepping-stone to comparing Dutch politics with American politics. The show will run from the intocht (the day Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands) until 5 December (the day the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas).
To relive Pep’s talk and also to get even more excited about TEDxAmsterdam 2012 at the end of this month: here is the talk that made Pep sweat a bit at the beginning and the audience laugh.