Youp van 't Hek

Youp van 't Hek
Youp van 't Hek - Ig Nobel Night - 2013 (cropped).JPG
Van 't Hek in 2013
Birth nameJoseph Jacobus Maria van 't Hek
Born (1954-02-28) 28 February 1954 (age 66)
Naarden, Netherlands
MediumComedian, author, columnist, singer-songwriter, playwright, critic
Years active1973–present
GenresCabaret, observational comedy, musical comedy, cringe comedy, satire, political satire, sarcasm, blue comedy
Subject(s)Marriage, relationships, family, childhood, midlife crisis, elderly care, high society, everyday life, human behavior, current events, self-deprecation, social criticism, religion, death, Oranjegekte, Dutch culture
Debby Petter
(m. 1984)
Relative(s)Tom van 't Hek (brother)
Notable works and rolesBuckler (in Dutch)

Joseph Jacobus Maria "Youp" van 't Hek (born 28 February 1954) is a Dutch comedian, author, columnist, singer-songwriter, playwright, and critic.


Van 't Hek was born and raised in the Gooi, an upper-class region to the southeast of Amsterdam. In 1973 he changed his name from Joep to Youp. He was one of the founding members of Cabaret NAR (Cabaret Jester). In the early 1980s, Cabaret NAR's success declined and van 't Hek moved on as a solo artist. His big break came in 1983 on KRO's De alles is anders-show. His energetic performance made him a household name overnight.[1]

In his 1989 "Oudejaarsconference" (end-of-year show), he ridiculed Buckler, a low-alcohol beer brewed by Heineken. As a result sales plummeted and the brand was eventually withdrawn from the market. Van 't Hek has often cited this as the best joke in his career and has subsequently referred to it in all his retrospective shows.[2]

Van 't Hek is the brother of field hockey international Tom van 't Hek.

Theater performances[]

With Cabaret NAR[]


Van 't Hek in De Kleine Komedie, 1988


Van 't Hek has worked with a changing group of musicians to supply the music to the songs in his shows. The constant factor in his musical backup during almost his entire career has been Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboardist of Kayak), who has composed almost all of his songs. In most of his shows he also worked with multi-instrumentalist Rens van der Zalm. The music to van 't Hek's songs is mostly played on piano, accordion, violin and acoustic guitar, which reflects van 't Hek's preference for classical music. One example of this is his rendition of the song Flappie, ostensibly about a Christmas he experienced in 1961. In 2020, the song was covered by Todd Rundgren.

Columns and books[]

Van 't Hek has written columns on sports and later on general topics for NRC Handelsblad since 1988. Several collections of these columns have been published by Thomas Rap publishing. This company was founded by a friend of van 't Hek, and has printed the texts of van 't Hek's shows from the very first, unsuccessful days, when publishing them seemed a waste of money. Because of this, van 't Hek never switched publishers. A list of the titles of his books that do not contain the texts of his shows:

Sports columns:

General columns:

Other books:


  1. ^ "Youp van 't Hek". (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Youp van t'Hek over de Buckler affaire: 'ik had nooit voorzien dat die grappen zo zouden aanslaan'". (in Dutch). 12 June 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2021.

External links[]