A year of laughs

Edition 28 December, by James Luxford

2019’s set to be a year of comedy with the many English language comedians coming to The Netherlands. With all the uncertainty that comes with a new year, it’s good to know that there’s always time to forget your worries and enjoy a good comedy show. The Netherlands will enjoy some of the fi nest comedians from around the world in 2019, and there’s something for every taste. From wacky to controversial to political, the famous names coming to these shores cover a wide array of subjects in styles to suit every type of humour.

Best of the US

The United States may not enjoy the most healthy global reputation at the moment, but there are a number of comic legends arriving to show a different side to the Land of The Free. On February 4, Rich Hall brings his own line of dry, observational humour to De Meervaart in Amsterdam. With craggy features and a gruff voice that reportedly made him the inspiration for Moe from The Simpsons, his musicinfused takes on love, history and politics will have you rolling in the aisles. If you like your comedy a little more raucous, the same venue also hosts Bert Kreischer on April 29. Kreischer built a reputation on being a party animal, often performing shirtless and recalling stories that are so wild they must be true. The father of two nowadays also includes anecdotes about parenthood, but you can still expect some wild antics!

On May 4, AFAS Live welcomes a true legend of American comedy, with Bill Burr arriving for the latest leg of his 50 tour. Burr is a controversial fi gure in the US for his often forcefully expressed views on relationships, political correctness and masculinity, but his masterful delivery has won him fans from all walks of life, as well as the Netfl ix animated show F is For Family, based on his own formative years. On June 13 Patton Oswalt comes to De Meervaart. Star of TV shows such as Agents of SHIELD and movies like Young Adult, as well as, most famously, the voice of the lead in Pixar’s Ratatouille, he is famous for his pop culture references as well as cutting takes on American society. Last year’s critically adored show Annihilation, performed in the shadow of the tragic death of his wife, author Michelle McNamara, showed the performer’s talent for weaving humanity into the darkest of subjects.

The British are Coming

The UK has a rich history of stand up, and kicking off a British invasion of funny people on March 4 at Amsterdam’s DeLa- Mar Theater is Sarah Millican. With a bright, often sarcastic delivery, this comedian tears apart subjects such as gender norms and relationships, and offers some hilariously smutty observations on life in her Control Enthusiast show. Hailing from north of the UK, Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges (April 1, De Meervaart) arrives with his appropriately named tour Brand New. The 32-year-old is oddly nostalgic, discussing the perils of ordering takeaway before delivery apps and his school days with the gruff charm that has made him an international star. Few, however, could match the status of the great Eddie Izzard (April 25, AFAS Live), a comedian, actor and political activist who has inspired a generation of performers. His fi rst show in fi ve years, and reportedly the last before he moves into politics, is a must-see for lovers of his surrealist take on love, history, and the universe. Finally, Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain (25-26 May, Koninklijk Theater Carre) brings two nights of withering takes on middle age, fame and fatherhood, as the popular TV host embarks on another globetrotting tour.

Festival Fever

One of the most exciting festivals to emerge on the global comedy scene has been the Utrecht International Comedy Festival, scheduled for March 8-9, 2019. A mixture of Dutch and English comedy is featured from performers t from all over the world, creating a buzz so loud it was featured in The New York Times’ Vulture. com guide to the best comedy festivals last summer. With over 3,000 comedy fans expected to attend, it’s the place to catch new talent as well as some established performers.