lnq 👨🏿‍🦱: Holland Dutch

/Holland Dutch

So, back in Summer 1997 I was in Tampa, Florida touring the Bay Area doing mainly dancing and stand-up comedy (ie. vaudeville). I was looking for a new character to develop for one of my weekly open mic shows, and had watched a Pee-wee Herman improv sketch on cable television one day. I knew Paul Reubens to be a funny guy - just from his brilliance portraying the classic Pee-wee persona - but I had never really connected the dots of his comic acting to actual stand-up performance. That show I saw put a lot of things in perspective for me.

Around the same time, there were two (2) other Hollywood movies that were making their rounds on home video distribution - Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) and Mr. Holland's Opus (Richard Dreyfuss). In creating my character, I used 'Holland' for the first name (from Mr. Holland's Opus) and 'Sugar' (from Jay Mohr's Bob Sugar character in Jerry Maguire) to come up with 'Holland Sugar'.

The character was basically (at that point in time) a rip-off of Reuben's Pee-wee Herman (right down to the laugh), except that Holland wore purple sweaters and cheap rubber-sole shoes (I had bought a pair from Payless ShoeSource and had gotten really comfortable wearing them everywhere, even on stage). I incorporated the 'Sugar' portion into the act literally, and had Holland subsisting off of sugar (candies, etc.) to explain his hyperactiveness. Confession: I performed a gig as Holland in a Tampa nightclub in April 1998 where I bombed atrociously. That evening was one of my most embarassing moments (but also a huge life lesson) of my career.

It wasn't until years later that I had learned that there was a company in The Netherlands also called 'Holland Sugar' which prompted me to change the surname from 'Sugar' to 'Dutch' in order to avoid any potential disputes. -- The character and act are much more evolved now.