About Andrew Moskos and Saskia Maas
Andrew and Saskia live together with their two sons in the Kerkstraat, located in the centre of Amsterdam. During the 1930s the building was an old post office. Now it has been refurbished into a cosy home. In 1994, Andrew and his best friend and business partner Pep Rosenfeld came to Amsterdam. Their purpose? To start Boom Chicago, a theatre for English spoken comedy, and introduce improv comedy in the Netherlands. Amsterdam was the perfect place to start their theatre: small enough to become visible to the Amsterdam residents and big enough to make an impact. Saskia was an exchange student in the US at the time and had just returned to the Netherlands, where she helped Andrew with his residence permit. She soon became indispensable to the company and Andrew asked her to be co-owner of Boom Chicago. While she takes care of the business side, Andrew and Pep focus on the shows and performances.
Proud residents of Amsterdam
Saskia: “When Boom Chicago was still housed at the Lijnbaansgracht, where it was first located, I invited Amsterdam mayor Schelto Patijn for a show, and he actually said yes! I was so enthusiastic that I immediately called my mom.”
Andrew: “I played in the show that evening. But when it was about to start, the mayor wasn’t there yet. Then I saw him and his wife arriving on their bicycle. Phenomenal! You won’t get to see the mayor of Chicago cycling to the theatre.”
Saskia: “At the time, we had long tables and you would be seated with other people in the audience. At first we wanted to give mayor Schelto Patijn his own table. But then again, when you come to Boom Chicago, you need to experience the whole thing. And that meant sitting at a table with complete strangers. And so they did. The mayor and his wife were seated with a professor and his wife from Heidelberg (Germany). A year or so later, there was a trade mission from Chicago to Amsterdam and we were asked by the mayor to come up with a few jokes about Chicago, because we know the city well. When we saw the mayor again, the first thing he said was that he was still in touch with the professor from Heidelberg! That made me feel so good and so proud. It’s a great Amsterdam-memory, as it really shows the down-to-earth mentality of the people in this city.”
Favourite activity during the social distancing period?
Saskia: “Cycling! We really love cycling, especially through neighbourhoods with all kinds of new developments. For example the Houthavens, stunning! A whole new residential area, out of nothing, with cool houses and a hotel.
During these Corona times it’s still possible to have take away, so we took our 16 year old son with us to cycle for a few hours. Afterwards we enjoyed our take away meal in the grass and had a picnic. Yes, it is a horrible time, but we are very happy we got to discover so many new places. IJburg, Nieuw Sloten, Noorderpark, we cycled a lot.”
Saskia: “The Foam photo museum, because I am a big fan of photography. I visit it at least a few times a year and I am always there when new exhibitions open. My aunt shares the same passion. When she visits Amsterdam we always go to the World Press Photo exhibition, and of course to Foam. Photography makes me happy.”
Andrew: “Unlike me. I have never been to Foam. I like going to the Amsterdam Museum, because of the history of the city. I really love Amsterdam.”
Favourite resident of Amsterdam?
Saskia: “I’m a huge Ajax fan! I was very moved when soccer player Nouri had a cardiac arrest, so to me, he is the most special resident of Amsterdam.”
Andres: “I’ll go for Arjen Lubach. He is smart, funny – a top comedian in so many ways.”
Favourite movie or book about the city?
Andrew: “Pulp Fiction, not really a movie about Amsterdam, but it is the best movie that features Amsterdam.”Saskia: “Yes, that scene where they talk about ‘you put mayo on the fries’, brilliant.” Andrew: “Oh no, wait, I remember another movie: Plan C. Ruben van der Meer plays a police officer and it feels more like a film about Amsterdam. Can I switch? Plan C it is.”
Saskia: “Oh, and come to think of it: Belofte van Pisa! This is a fantastic movie, a coming-of-age story with actor Shahine El-Hamus. Beautifully filmed and with a great storyline. Shahine is a friend of our son, it’s so nice to have watched him grow up and turn into one of the best young actors in the Netherlands. So, no Pulp Fiction for me either…”
Favourite hidden gem?
Andrew: “Shiraz Amsterdam, a wine bar at the Lijnbaansgracht. The staff there is very friendly and you can sit inside or outside.”
Saskia: “It’s very close to our house, and it’s the perfect place to meet and have a drink before we head home.”
About new show Sitcom
Andrew: “Many people think there is a big difference between Dutch and English humour, but when you joke about things the audience can relate to, they will laugh. We hope to accomplish this with our new show Sitcom. We live in a time with so much to offer, more than ever, but we still watch these ‘old’ series, such as Seinfeld and Friends. I think that’s because we recognise ourselves in the characters. Sitcoms make us feel good and carefree, as every problem is solved within 25 minutes.”
Saskia: “In addition, the improvisation in this show is amazing and the comedians are extremely talented. When we started rehearsing, it was like the first day of school. The comedians were so happy that they could finally be creative again. They can’t wait to perform again in front of an audience.”