I’m writing this after sleeping for 13 hours. The past two weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions, shows and adventures. This was an 11 day trip alongside Dutch comedian and all around top international lad Fedor Ikelaar. We drove from a small ski resort in Bulgaria all the way to Holland in his girlfriend’s Totyota Yaris, we ate local foods and stayed in strange places, we met amazing people and we performed shows every day in strange locations. It was an adventure!
I left Berlin on the 16th of August, in the morning, for Bansko in Bulgaria where my friend Fedor Ikelaar organised a sold out show. We were joined by German comedian Paco Erhart at Danny’s Mexican bar where Fedor gathered so many people we ran out of charis on the premises. People sat everywhere they could or even stood as they were excited something was happening in their little mountain town.
Next stop was Sofia for the Trouble with being Born Romanian show with the same group of comedians plus Bulgaria’s own Deo Katunga. The space at Networking Premium was so full, people sat on tables. Some British guy who came to the show like our show so much, we went to the trouble to write a review.
Fedor and I continues our journey early in the morning. We crossed the Danube into Romania for a show in Craiova. Everyone warned me not to go to Craiova because nobody would come. The crowd was indeed way smaller than the previous shows, but they were eager for comedy in English. We found Americans, Brits, Afganis, Tunisians, Syrians and Romanians in the audience all excited for the second ever show in English in the sountern town of Romania.
After an 8 hour long drive towads Cluj, we were greeted by one of the most spectacular rooms I’ve ever performed in at Insomnia Cafe. We found ourselves in the middle of a festival for the Hungarian comunity with smells of langos and Kürtőskalács driving people in the street. The crowd and town were amazing and we were happy to find a different type of Romania than the one I grew up in.
I was personally so amazed by this part of the country, as I’ve never really visited it in my life. I left like I was married for 32 years and just discovered anal for the first time. “It’s so close, I can’t believe I’ve never tried it before.”
After sleeping in a Cowboy’s cottage in Cluj, we headed for one of the biggest surprises of the tour – the city of Oradea and Patzan Comedy Club. Fedor and I couldn’t belive how beautiful the town was, with colourful restored buildings from the beginning of the previous century and a vibrant crowd full of curious people to see foreigners struggle with the English language. We were also impressed with the location, Patzan Comedy Club which was opened by a local improv group in front of a abandoned synagogue.
On Saturday the 21st we arrived in Budapest to a room full of the most diverse crowd we’ve had this tour, containing a few locals plus Egyptians, Americans, Pakistani, Australians and even Romanians.
Meeting the people on this tour was the cherry on the cake. Such nice and smart and open minded individuals with such a variety of passions and careers and outlooks on life, all brought together by the fact that our shows take place in English. Friends who don’t speak each other’s language come to shows like these as they are usually the only English speaking events in town. Europe is more international than it ever was and it’s a pleasure to travel to places that neved had a show in English take place.
On our way out of Budapest, we ran out of petrol on the highway in the middle of nowhere. I had to walk on the side of the highway to the nearest gas station which we luckily just passed so we sorted out the whole situation within an hour. Thankfully, a minivan full of scared Hungarians picked me up form the gas station and took me back to where Fedor was patiently waiting for me to return with the dinosaur liquid so we can continue our journey.
Eventually, we arrived in Zagreb where we performed outdoors in front of the achievents of the communists, pictured below. Zagreb was the place where the cheese pastry started to get good. We also wento to Gabrek 1929, after it was recommended to us by a conoseur from the audience. Oh lord, I’ve never had a better mushroom soup in my life.
But Ljubjana is the place with one of the best bureks I’ve ever had. We gor there on Monday, 23rd of August. We checked in at around 3PM. By 3:30 PM I was in front of Olympia Burek whith a large grin on my stupid face.
I discovered this place last time I was in town, which was in early March of 2020. I remember how amazed I was with the cheese pastry, so much so that I only ate burek for the whole 48 hours I was in Ljubjana.
That was also the first show I did after the national emergency was announced in Slovenia. I remember walking around town and everyone was talking about how they’ve never seen so few people outdoors. The first lockdown was just starting. At the time I had no clue what it would turn into.
The show we did in Ljubljana was on the 24th of August as part of the International night of the Panc Festival which took place in the castle in the middle of the town. Fedor and I were joined by our Comedians of Europe friends Tamer Kattan, George Zax and Harri Soinila as well as Europen comedian pioneer Daniel-Ryan Spaulding. It was also great to hang out and enjoy more burek with local celebrities Pedja Bajović, Eva Virć and Tin Vodopivec.
At 7:00 AM on Wednesday, Fedor and I started our journey back towards Holland with a pitstop in Cologne for a local show hosted by Christiane Olivier. We arrived at the venue at 19:40 after a grueling drive through Slovenia, Austria and then Germany. The beginning of the trip was trully gorgeous as we went through the Austrian Alps.
I am now trying to rest a bit for the next shows in Hamburg and Osnabrück before I head toward Switzerland and the South of France. If you know anyone in Basel, Bern, Zurich or Cannes please let them know I’m coming with a show!
Here’s some photos of flowers to thank you for getting this far into the post.