"It’s kind of crazy, the impact on culture so many Boom Chicago alums have had. Boom was where I became my best comedic self: the excitement of Amsterdam, the freedom of that environment, the letting loose—it's magic. There's no better training ground." —Jordan Peele
"Boom Chicago should have ended up on the scrap heap of 'Terrible Ideas Americans Have While Stoned in Amsterdam.' But when you stubbornly love one thing (comedy) as much as another thing (Amsterdam), you just believe they should be together. And here we are—thirty years later, Boom Chicago is alive and kicking." —Seth Meyers
"Working at Boom Chicago was an unbelievable experience. Thank goodness someone was smart enough to write it all down! You're lucky 'cause you get to read about THE most exciting, fun, and illegal time I've ever had!" —Amber Ruffin
Featuring interviews with Meyers, Peele, Ruffin, Jason Sudeikis, Ike Barinholtz, Greg Shapiro, Kay Cannon, and many more; and a sixteen-page, full-color insert with both behind-the-scenes snapshots and images from live performances.
What do Ted Lasso, Get Out, Late Night with Seth Meyers, 30 Rock, A Black Lady Sketch Show, Breaking Bad, Saturday Night Live, Girls5Eva, The Colbert Report, Inside Amy Schumer, Pitch Perfect, Key & Peele, The Daily Show, MADtv, Rick and Morty, The Amber Ruffin Show, Horrible Bosses, Portlandia, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Suicide Squad, Superstore, How I Met Your Mother, Wicked, The Pee-Wee Herman Show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Broad City all have in common? They all feature writers, creators, directors, or stars who got their start at Boom Chicago.
Having risen roughly to the middle of Chicago's cutthroat comedy scene, Andrew Moskos and Pep Rosenfeld decamped the Midwest for Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1993 to start their own improv comedy troupe, Boom Chicago. In a foreign land with zero tradition of English-language humor, Moskos and Rosenfeld unwittingly created the finishing school for some of today's most groundbreaking comedic talents. They (along with coauthors Matt Diehl and Saskia Maas) document this journey in the definitive oral history Boom Chicago Presents the 30 Most Important Years in Dutch History.
From its stages, Boom Chicago went on to launch cultural game changers like Seth Meyers, Jordan Peele, Amber Ruffin, Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Ike Barinholtz, Kay Cannon, and Tami Sagher (and that's just a partial list). At Boom, these young upstarts honed their craft in front of unsuspecting foreign audiences and visiting dignitaries like Burt Reynolds, Run-DMC's Jam Master Jay, Dutch royalty, and the Netherlands's prime minister—all while navigating a world with legal weed and prostitution, annual holiday celebrations involving blackface, cookies with weird racist names, and football that has nothing to do with the NFL. From this culture shock, this collective created a more topical, inclusive, tech-savvy humor that would become the dominant comedy style of our time.
Praise for Boom Chicago:
"The Groundlings. The Harvard Lampoon. Second City. These comedy institutions have been supplying Hollywood with a steady stream of talent for decades. Well, there's another name—almost as influential—that you've never heard of: Amsterdam's Boom Chicago. Huh?"—GQ
"A small theater in Amsterdam became the most influential American comedy factory you've never heard of . . . Boom alums have had a significant hand in many of the shows that defined the past two decades of comedy." —New York
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About the Author
Pep Rosenfeld is the cofounder and director of content for Boom Chicago. He received an Emmy nomination for his writing on Saturday Night Live's 2000–2001 season. Rosenfeld is also a stand-up comedian who got a laugh out of Barack Obama, and a public speaker known for his humorous TED Talks and interviews with thought leaders like Malcolm Gladwell.
Matt Diehl is a journalist and author renowned for his contributions to the New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Interview, among others. Diehl has also written/coauthored nonfiction books such as Notorious C.O.P. (with Derrick Parker), Drinking with Strangers (with Butch Walker), and My So-Called Punk, as well as publishing essays in anthologies spanning The VIBE History of Hip Hop to The Rolling Stone Album Guide.
Saskia Maas is the CEO of Boom Chicago and the founder of Inter-Acting—an Amsterdam-based organization which helps autistic teenagers develop social confidence utilizing improvisation techniques.
Table of ContentsWelcome to Thirty Years of Boom Chicago
Foreword by Seth Meyers
Fore-and-a-half-word by Ruben van der Meer
Meet the Cast by Rob AndristPlourde and Greg Shapiro
CHAPTER 1: 1993. Flevolollapalooza: The Year the Modern Music Festival—and Boom Chicago—Are Born
CHAPTER 2: 1994. Royale with Cheese? Yes, Please! Pulp Fiction Goes Boom in Amsterdam
CHAPTER 3: 1995. Ajax Wins the Champions League: Actors Get Soccer Fever
CHAPTER 4: 1996. Villa Volta: The Ride Opens at the Best Theme Park on Earth (with Expat Comedians Shocked to Discover Holland Has Superior Theme Parks to America)
CHAPTER 5: 1997. The Fifteenth (and Last?) Elfstedentocht Skating Race: Rapping, Clubbing, and EuroPerve
CHAPTER 6: 1998. Gold Medal in Handbag Throwing? Amsterdam, the World’s Gayest City, Hosts Europe’s First-Ever Gay Games
CHAPTER 7: 1999. So Ruud: the Year the Dutch Invented Reality TV (Plus Funny Stories about Ike Barinholtz)
CHAPTER 8: 2000. Amsterdam’s Taxi War: Cabbies, Cops, and Criminal Cyclists Collide
CHAPTER 9: 2001. It’s Not Funny Having “Boom” in Your Name During 9/11
CHAPTER 10: 2002. The Royal Wedding—No, Not That One: The Netherlands Has Kings and Queens Too . . .
CHAPTER 11: 2003. The Polderbaan Runway Opens at Schiphol Airport: Don’t Bring Weed to the US Embassy
CHAPTER 12: 2004. Day of De Lama’s: Dutch Proven to Be Actually Funny, Boom Chicago Takes the Credit
CHAPTER 13: 2005. Bite the Bullet: Boom Gets Political, Holland Gets the Euro, We All Get Fucked
CHAPTER 14: 2006. For Years, the Dutch Had Racist Candy Names. We Can’t Make This Shit Up, People . . .
CHAPTER 15: 2007. Everything Is Love: Motherfucking Burt Reynolds Takes the Boom Stage, and Other True Tales
CHAPTER 16: 2008–2009. Crisis? What Crisis? Boom Goes Corporate as World Economy Tanks
CHAPTER 17: 2010. Facebook, Myspace, and, um, Hyves? Dutch Fail Early in Social Media Arms Race
CHAPTER 18: 2011. The Dutch Team Wins the Baseball World Cup. Wait, There’s a Baseball World Cup?
CHAPTER 19: 2012. “Gangnam Style” Brings K-pop to the Masses; Boom Chicago Brings Yesterday’s News to Comedy Central
CHAPTER 20: 2013. Keep It Classy, Boom Chicago: Movin’ On Up to Amsterdam’s Legendary Rozentheater
CHAPTER 21: 2014. Beloved Dutch Icon Says Goodbye as Boom Goes Commercial
CHAPTER 22: 2015. Nothing Interesting Happened This Year, But . . .
CHAPTER 23: 2016. Boom Chicago Hired to Teach Dutch Prime Minister How to Be Funny
CHAPTER 24: 2017. Trump Up the Volume: America Embraces Fascism, Netherlands Rejects It (Sort of)
CHAPTER 25: 2018–2023. Boom Turns Twenty-Five—and Then Ted Lasso Takes Over the World
Backword by Jordan Peele
Boom Chicago Alumni, 1993–2023
About the Authors