Youp van ‘t Hek: Muppets

Youp van ’t Hek on banning cheeky journalists, female PvdA leadership candidates and bringing a bit of cheer to Dutch news programmes.

I love to watch Buitenhof of a Sunday morning. Not because of the interviews, or the political discussions you understand. It’s the audience I’m interested in. That fascinating little batch of old age pensioners, for instance. They have been sitting there for years staring at nothing for an hour. Presenter Clairy Polak one told me that one of them died on her once, live so to speak, but nobody noticed until it was time to go home. Ever since the local mortuary fills the back row with extremely well behaved audience members who don’t snore.
Camera terrified
Last Sunday Buitenhof invited a certain columnist. She struggled her way endearingly through one of her features, one crooked sentence following another. From the mangled remains it could be deduced that she wanted only decent journalists to roam the Binnenhof. The Hague had to be de-Rutgered. She was referring to a man called Rutger Castricum who had had it in for Cohen apparently. That’s right, the man who was seen sweating profusely not too long ago in De Wereld Draait Door. He’s a sweetie. At one point I thought the columnist’s stuttering was an attempt at solidarity with the recently departed, equally camera terrified PvdA leader but no. Personally I think bungling columnists should be banned from the screen.
When she had finished I just knew Castricum would doorstep her. Life is terribly predictable like that. He rang the doorbell and who opened the door but the girl’s boyfriend, a a big bald weightlifter who did not feel like talking to a cheeky adolescent. He grabbed him by the scruff of the neck – I would have done the same if I were a weight lifter. Bugger off with your cameras and that silly pink blob on your microphone. Nothing much happened really. But Rutger it seems thinks his scruff has been compromised and claims he was being strangled. The little softie may even report the weightlifter to the police.
The next evening the weightlifter and his girl tried to explain about the girl’s journalist ban column. It only made matters worse. The weigh lifter, apart from lifting weights, apparently teaches at a university, something to do with the law of all things. So it’s not just the HBOs that are having problems. When I saw those two I thought: why don’t you invite Kees Tullekens and his Jannetje and go away for the weekend, just the four of you? A lovely meal, a few glasses of wine…I wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall with a tiny camera.
Because Dutch politics is so incredibly boring I decided to do something about it this week. I had a look at the list of candidates for the PvdA leadership and put myself on it at the last minute. I got my wig out, dropped my voice an octave or two and didn’t take off my glasses. It was my first female impersonation and my children did ask whether the name Lutz wasn’t overdoing it a bit but I didn’t think so. I also invented a Friesian background. Off I plunged into the tv talkshow circuit to stir things up: The PVV? I can see myself in a collation with the PVV, yes indeed.
On Sunday I’m going to be on Buitenhof, as part of the audience. And I will be calling out things. Or start singing the Red Flag. Spekman will be sitting next to me. We’ll be knitting. And heckling, like Waldorf and Statler in the Muppets. It’ll be a laugh. The programme can do with a one, not to mention the PvdA.
Youp van ‘t Hek is one of the Netherlands’ best loved comedians and writers