Life after graduation

Cabaretier die handen omhoog houdt en glimlacht
Image: Jaap Joris Vens

I have a huge need for affirmation, thats why I'm a comedian

Andries Tunru (33) is a comedian and improv actor. He has won awards at three different comedy festivals and caused a storm on Lingo, Dumpert and De Slimste Mens, where he came second. He is currently touring with his third solo show ‘Marmer’ and as half of the improvisation duo ‘Beperkt Houdbaar’. He is also a permanent member of the comedy team Spijkers met Koppen and one of the men behind the podcast ‘Radio Willekeur’. Andries studied Social Psychology at Utrecht University and obtained a degree in comedy from the Koningstheateracademie in Den Bosch. If he hadn’t become a comedian he might have been a policeman. I like telling other people what to do, haha!

You may be the juiciest peach in the world but there are still people who don’t like peaches

Andries Tunru

He studied Social Psychology at Utrecht University but knew from a young age that he wanted to be a comedian. At that time I still listened to my parents, who thought that I should go to university, says comedian Andries Tunru, laughing. He expresses his fascination with human behaviour and group dynamics on the stage, that’s where he belongs. Being on stage really is the best thing in the world. You can’t get much more independent in terms of a job than that, I don’t think. I can do whatever I want in my career and I can take advice on board. Or otherwise. It’s fantastic.

So, when asked whether he is sensitive to authority, he doesn’t need long to reflect: Absolutely, it puts my back up. If someone starts a sentence with ‘You have to …’ I switch off. I don’t have to do anything, I think. And people buy a ticket to my show because they like the fact that I say what I want, so that’s important. At the same time, in today’s society people have more access to information and can put forward an alternative view, and let me know if I say something that’s not right. I think that’s good too.

He can’t deny that he can also feel hugely vulnerable, alone on the stage, with all eyes on him. Comedy is so hyper-personal. I stand there as myself, sometimes a bit magnified or a bit accentuated, but in principle I tell stories from my own life, in a way that I find funny or interesting. So if it doesn’t resonate with the audience, it feels like a rejection of the very person that I am. After all, one of the reasons I do comedy is that I have a huge need for affirmation. But luckily you get used to it.

And now ...?
Nowadays he has enough self-confidence to realise that there are plenty of people who find him really funny. You may be the juiciest peach in the world but there are still people who don’t like peaches. That should be a slogan on a coaster.