You could have waited for it, two years in fact, and now that the time has finally come, Hans Teeuwen is no longer testing the patience of his audience. His show in the Circustheater in The Hague has barely started when he makes a joke about the people who paid 40 euros each to see him play. See, he only has to shout ‘a very big fat stiff cock’ on his Hans Teeuwens, dictate to them to put the same words in their mouths and there they go. They will laugh. ‘I like gross humour’, it sounds – ironically, of course. Wait for it.
Well nice then is the long-awaited successor to real resentmentthe performance Teeuwen last performed in 2017. In the meantime, he made the ‘corona conference’ dirty games, a welcome experiment of form that was broadcast by Powned on NPO 3. A lot of short satirical videos of him also appeared on Instagram, YouTube and GeenStijl. In it, he was increasingly critical of society, including his principled opposition to the corona ticket in the cultural sector. He chose not to perform as long as theatergoers had to show a QR code.
In Well nice then briefly talks about getting thumbs up for such “social commentary,” as he calls those expressions on social media himself, in a nice piece about how incredibly delicious likes are (“I smear them on my dick”). A sentence that sticks: ‘If I can fake my sincerity, I’m a fat buyer.’ Furthermore, he refrains from explicit social commentary, as we are used to from his theatrical persona.
What to expect? ‘Hans Teeuwen’s new show gives a disturbing look into his mind’, is the announcement on the sites of stages that he will visit in the coming months. ‘Wet meat, likes, love, medium Gonnie, art, culture, inclusiveness, diversity, bistros and duped volunteers. That may not feel right, but it’s funny. And that’s what people are drawn to anyway.’
The people are given a tour of his fantasy world. After all that sitting inside, he takes them outside for an absurdist round of real positivity, where he falls in love with reality again. Does Hans Teeuwen want to show how much more can be gained from imagination than from endlessly commenting on that reality in talk shows, or from behind a screen? It is only a careful attempt at interpretation, because the individual sketches in this performance do not coincide so emphatically. They are also regularly shouted out by an obscene rant or name-calling to which he gives no further weight.
Confusing, just not in the way you can nostalgically long for at Hans Teeuwen. That he in Well nice then not working towards a point doesn’t have to be a point, but in this crazy whole nothing is just there just like that, right? Or is it? The rhythm is missing. A few fine jazzy piano numbers offer little to hold on to, such as the protest song of an old white man who wonders if his past is still okay. ‘Whoever seeks the light sometimes runs into the lamp.’
Hans Teeuwen is still one of the most popular, fastest selling comedians. At the same time, it has become cliché to say that he used to be sharper, more confrontational, more elusive, more enigmatic, more interesting, better. Watching Teeuwen is undiminished until the end, because he is an exciting, expressive performer. Because you hope he does it again: bite, hold, double-layer twist, create an image that lasts in your head when it’s over, when you start to wonder if what seemed easy was really easy.
There are the skits in Well nice then not to. Much of his audience will equally be content with Gonnie’s chugging, or a joke about gender-neutral toilets, about how the outdated concept of “men and women” has driven us crazy. A very big thick stiff cock. The part that follows Teeuwen with a critical eye waits in vain for more after the closing number.
Stefano Keizers plays Hans Teeuwen
Hans Teeuwen is also the name of the third performance with which comedian Stefano Keizers is now touring the country. ‘Taunting the spectator, the Publikumsbeschimpfung, is a beautiful tradition in the theatre, with illustrious predecessors’, wrote reviewer Joris Henquet after the premiere in March. ‘Among them Hans Teeuwen, the groundbreaking comedian after whom 34-year-old Stefano Keizers named his show. By way of a smokescreen, of course, because there is no other role for Teeuwen in the performance.’
By Hans Teeuwen
29/3, AFAS Circustheater, The Hague. Tour until 7/12.