Darkroom Diaries is a new comedy show in English by Johan Goossens, written out of necessity. People visiting his others shows were complaining about the five minutes of jokes about sex. So Johan decided to cut out those five minutes and write a whole show about sex. And the necessity was also born out of a booking to do shows in Brighton (UK), so Goossens needed to write a English language show. We visited one of his Amsterdam performances, before he travelled to England.
Johan Goossens is a well known comedian in The Netherlands. He is a comedian in the Dutch cabaret style: mixing jokes with funny or sometimes wry songs. His shows are most of all known for the jokes about his day time job being a teacher at a high school. And next to that he also writes columns for national newspapers! You might me surprised, but next to all these activities he also has time to have an active sex live as a gay man. At least that is what this show is about.
Darkroom diaries is not a show about all the encounters of a gay man in the dark rooms of Amsterdam. Goossens explore more the trials and tribulations of a man who loves sex with other men in the modern times. He tells about his first erotic feelings for the bum of a class mate at kindergarten. But also about his fears of (sexually transmitted) diseases and how liberating PREP is for him. What he likes about sex with men and how inner shame sometimes blocks the enjoyment. This is all told in an open, frank and funny way.
The comedy style of Johan Goossens is that of the pseudo amateur. He uses sheets with notes and frequently dead pans his own jokes. That is in our eyes a very effective method of getting the audience at the edge of their seats. Is he really making a mistake? Is he really nervous? Did I really hear him saying that? All these questions pop up in your head and you listen to every word he says. In that way you get involved in his story telling, however haphazard that may seem. This seemingly chaotic comedy routine is a couple of time interspersed by song. That does fit perfectly within the show, because Johan is a good singer and the songs give you a short break.
What we thought of it
We liked the show very much, because Johan lays bare the reality of the sex life of gay men. Of course coming from his own experiences and observations, but true and sometimes challenging. The audience, us included, had a great laugh and something to think about and relate to. Hopefully the audience in Brighton likes his type of comedy as well and perform his English show more often. The first reactions were good according to his own tweet.
First show went great!! Full house @marlboroughbtn And lots of laughter ?
— Johan Goossens (@goossensjohan) May 12, 2017
In Amsterdam you can catch Darkroom Diaries again on 22nd, 23rd and 24th of June in the Betty Asfalt Complex. He will also perform the show in Bath (UK) on the 11th of July. Keep up to date with his play list and other news on his website (in Dutch).