The suffering of Jochem Myjer


If there were viewers who dreamed of swapping lives with comedian Jochem Myjer, they were there on Monday evening after a few minutes of the documentary Jochem Myjer. One more then (NTR) of cure. We have seen Myjer come into his dressing room exhausted and dripping with sweat, dying from the pain in his neck, trembling under the masseur’s fists and whimpering when he has time to recover.

Director Suzanne Raes follows Myjer so closely that it almost gets scary. We see the comedian’s life during the final months of his performance last year Breath in breath out played. Myjer bounces unparalleled across the stage, takes a bath in the selfie-seeking crowd afterwards, records endless video messages for his fans, responds to 500 social media messages a day. “They all get a piece from him,” says his wife. The question that hangs above this loving film is simple: how many pieces of the warmest attention giver Jochem Myjer are actually left?

The cabaret artist’s resilience is related to the benign tumor that was removed from his neck in 2011. Since then he (he tells his audience) is no longer afraid of death. When he steps into the wings a little later, he says “I can feel it” and an employee immediately puts painkillers in his hand.

Totally off the map

The balance is shaky. The rituals surrounding the performance (skipping rope!) Are adjusted to the minute. When colleague Alex Ploeg comes to chat in the changing room during the break, Myjer gets “completely upset”. Then he cannot even tolerate the rustling of plastic. The self-criticism is overwhelming. When the makers of a television record step up to him crowing with enthusiasm, there is a loud voice: “Cunt! I just can’t manage to play the perfect show. ”

The days before Myjer plays his last performances in the Amsterdam Carré, he stays in the Amstel Hotel. At home he is only thinking about his show – then his wife and children are of no use to him. They call it “A Hazesje” in the film, after the classic documentary She believes in me (1999) by John Appel about the singer. Like One more then it is part of the 25-year running series The hour of the wolf – an oasis in the not always culture-loving programming of Dutch TV.

This does not mean that those films are all about art. We do not learn much about Myjer’s artistic ambitions or thoughts. The suffering of the artist is paramount here, although Myjers director Jos Thie makes an interesting remark about the entertainment that a comedian offers: “At the core it is always malicious pleasure.”

Explosion of attention

“I have a cold sweat, delicious!” Myjer says before he has to go – but it doesn’t look very nice. You especially feel the desire to save the man. When his children come to see him before the very last performance, they knock twice too softly on the dressing room door out of caution. Once inside, an explosion of festive attention ensues.

At the end of the film, Myjer speaks about himself, sitting on his hotel bed. “See people up close that it is actually no longer possible. But I have such a great job, it is the most beautiful job in the world. ” The credits state that Myjer will take a year of rest in 2020 “to think about his work and life”. But in bed he has already said, with a soft grin: “A comedian has never stopped.”

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