Wow, time has flown by! In 2018, Boom Chicago celebrated our 25th anniversary! We had a big birthday party bash in the Royal Theater Carré last July 14 with two fantastic shows. One was a performance by our alumnus Seth Meyers, host of Late Night with Seth Meyers and well known for picking on Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents dinner in 2011. People claim that was the night Trump decided to run for president (thanks, Seth).
The second show that evening was the Boom Chicago & Friends show featuring Boom Chicago’s current cast, former Boom comedians including Seth, his brother Josh Meyers, and Ike Barinholtz (Mindy Project, Neighbors, Suicide Squad, Central Intelligence) and Dutch comedy friends like Ruben van der Meer and Horace Cohen.
Earlier that year, we launched our anniversary show Bango! New-Form Improv with a Beat, which premiered May 7.
It was 25 years ago when Boom Chicago introduced improvisation comedy to a mainstream Dutch audience. Since then, the successful comedy ensemble has made more than a million people laugh while continuing to innovate in and out of their theater.
Proceeds from the shows go to InterActing
Ticket proceeds from our anniversary celebration went to InterActing, founded by Boom Chicago CEO Saskia Maas. InterActing teaches children with autism social skills and understanding through improvisation. Her TED Talk explains the role improvisation can have in the development of children with autism: InterActing encourages autistic young people to break out of their preferred patterns to embrace the unexpected.
It’s Funny How It All Started…
Twenty five years ago, Americans Pep Rosenfeld and Andrew Mosko graduated from university and were traveling in Europe. They immediately fell in love with Amsterdam and had what they claim is “the best stoner idea ever”: quit their jobs in the U.S. and move permanently to Amsterdam to start a comedy show.
They wrote the Amsterdam Board of Tourism for some advice, and the VVV wrote back very quickly: “Your idea will not work.” The letter went on: “Dutch People do not want to see a show in English. Tourists do not want to see a show at all. You will need subsidy to do theater in the Netherlands. You will not get any subsidy.” (They were actually right about that one.) Their final advice? “Think twice about your plans.” But Andrew and Pep were not dissuaded and came anyway. Joined by Saskia Maas, who had been an exchange student in the U.S. and connected with them there, they started at the small theater Iboya, just around the corner from the Leidseplein.
Boom Chicago introduced improvisation theater to the Netherlands and has grown into the influential and innovative international theater company it is today.