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Creator / Van Kooten En De Bie

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Van Kooten (left) and De Bie (right).

Van Kooten en De Bie are a Dutch comedy duo, consisting of Kees Van Kooten (°1941) and Wim De Bie (°1939). Van Kooten is the small one, while De Bie is the big one. For 38 years they performed together as "Van Kooten en De Bie". They started their career as radio hosts, but are better known for their television work. In 1974 Van Kooten en De Bie presented their first TV show, "Het Simplisties Verbond" ("The Simplistic Club"). From that point on they hosted several shows with differing names, but to the audience they were always referred to as "Van Kooten en De Bie".

In all incarnations the shows were basically the same. Van Kooten and De Bie talked about stuff that was in the media that week and showed sketches in which they played countless reappearing comedy characters. Several of these characters became very popular and are fondly remembered to this day. They painted an amusing satirical view of Dutch society that nevertheless appealed to both the high brow as well as the general public. They won countless awards and honors. In the Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium their satirical status is comparable to Monty Python, despite the fact that their comedy was never totally absurd, but always rooted in reality. They never made a film, but they did release several other merchandising items, like calendars, books, songs and comedy albums.

For decades their shows were broadcast weekly on Sunday evenings. By 1998 they felt they had done everything and decided to quit. Since then they no longer perform together, but remain on good terms with each other. Their influence on Dutch and Flemish comedy endures. Because of the sheer scope of their video back catalogue Van Kooten and De Bie never released all their episodes, but personally selected only the best ones of each year for DVD release.

Interestingly their names are pretty polar opposites. "Kooten" is derived from "koten" and ultimately from "kot" which means something ramshackle or rudimentary. "Bie" on the other hand means great or wonderful.

Van Kooten en De Bie provide examples of:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: One sketch has a language expert continuously doing this.
  • Attention Whore: Tjolk Hekking, the deputy of major Hans Van der Vaart, who always tries to get attention by placing himself in front of the major and Spiking the Camera.
    • Arie Temmes, who brags about his act of resistance during World War Two, while he actually did nothing else besides telling a German officer the wrong direction to the station. Despite this, Arie still fantasizes how this deed might have changed the outcome of the war.
    • Prof. dr. ir. Akkermans, who invites the press to his home because he claims his "name was mentioned" for about every important business position.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: De Bie was tall, while Van Kooten was significantly smaller.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Mr. O. den Beste who speaks actual German sentences at times.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mr. Foppe, a shy man who is always the target of De Vieze Man's pratical jokes. You automatically feel sorry for him, thus making him The Woobie too.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Geen gezeik! Iedereen rijk!" - Jacobse & Van Es.
    • "Hou je d'r buiten, Cock!" - Cor Van Der Laak.
    • "Ik ben genoemd." - Prof. dr. ir. Akkermans
    • "Jemig de pemig" - Koos Koets.
    • "Mozes kriebel!" - Koos Koets.
    • "Daar ben ik voor behandeld" - Frank van Putten.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Combined with Intercourse with You, Foreign Curse Word, and Gag Sub, courtesy of Mr. P
  • Dirty Old Man: De Vieze Man, a character played by Van Kooten, who wears a shabby coat and constantly gets aroused whenever he talks about filthy stuff like dog turds.
  • Fat Slob: Dirk, a fat, drunk tramp who is usually seen drinking.
  • Funny Foreigner: Most of their characters were Dutch, but they have also played Belgians, Englishmen, South Africans and Turkish people.
  • Game Show Appearance: Lex, a stupid game show candidate.
  • Grammar Nazi: Prof. Kipping who tries to defend several language mistakes and rules
  • Gratuitous German: Mr. O. den Beste who is a former teacher German and thus often uses untranslated German expressions in his vocabulary.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Gé and Arie Temmes, two old men who spent most of their time complaining about stuff.
  • The Hermit: Walter de Rochebrune, a former mining engineer who prefers living alone in his mother's garden house.
  • In Harmony with Nature: Walter de Rochebrune, a hermit, and Beredien uut Wiesp, a lady who collects herbs and spices to make potions.
  • Long-Runners: They were active for over 38 years.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Jacobse & Van Es.
  • Minimalist Cast: Their entire show was presented and performed by them alone. Sometimes a celebrity guest appeared, a few extras or a real actress whenever they needed an extra female character, but most of the time it was either Van Kooten alone, De Bie alone or both of them together.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Their characters Jacobse and Van Es at one point started the political party De Tegenpartij ("The Opposing Party"), whose party program was mostly far-right. Unfortunately real-life Dutch far-right parties didn't get the joke and openly embraced them. Therefore, Van Kooten en De Bie felt the need to kill these characters off in a failed military coup.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mother and son Van Putten. Van Putten is a neurotic 40 year old man who, to his frustration, still lives with his mother.
  • Mythology Gag: Dirk the tramp (played by De Bie) usually insults Wim De Bie, but is always sympathetic towards Van Kooten.
  • Name and Name: Van Kooten en De Bie. Several of their characters were also always seen together like Jacobse & Van Es, Van der Vaart and Hekking, Mother and son Van Putten, de Vieze Man and Mr. Foppe, Cor Van Der Laak and his wife, Gé & Arie Temmes, Koos Koets & Robbie Kerkhof,...
  • Neologism: They inspired several new Dutch words and expressions which are difficult to translate in English.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Koos Koets and Robbie Kerkhof, two older hippies.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Though most of their characters were their own creations Van Kooten and De Bie occasionally imitated real-life Dutch politicians and celebrities too.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot and Ripped from the Headlines: Most of their sketches were directly inspired by things that were in the media that week.
  • Real Person Cameo: Youp Van 't Hek, Doe Maar, Guy Mortier,...
  • Running Gag:
    • De Vieze Man had a tendency to meet Mr. Foppe and embarrass him every time again.
  • Same Story, Different Names: Their TV show had several different names over the years, but was always known as "Van Kooten en De Bie" and essentially the same format: the duo discussed what was in the news that week and then showed sketches or pre-recorded interviews with their characters in between.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The duo's comedy was very verbal and they enjoyed playing characters who used very complicated words and expressions. As presenters they also used formal language.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses:
    • German language teacher O. den Beste.
    • Dutch language specialist professor Kipping.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Their infamous "De Klisjeemannetjes" sketch has Van Kooten and De Bie use several unique euphemisms for sexual activities.
  • Women's Mysteries: Berendien uut Wisp, an old woman who makes potions made from herbs and spices she finds in the woods, but basically make people ill.