Review: ‘The Cooke & Verhulst Show’

One more time I would be moved to sit out a week of ‘The Cooke & Verhulst Show’, on the understanding that it would be the very last. That’s how it was promised to us in the run-up to this final season by the duo themselves, in a swan song that appeals to the pain threshold. And promise always leads to debt.

Tom Raes

That announced farewell on Thursday took place in the presence of what Gert Verhulst previously described as ‘the fine fleur of Belgian showbiz’. You bet a boy like me will run for cover. The extensive guest list mentioned for the occasion ranged from Leah Thys until Tanja Dextersfrom Marc van Ranst until Margaret HermansHerman Brusselmans indicated that he would say goodbye to Cooke and Verhulst as an inveterate fencing duo. A lacuna was already apparent on Flemish television, Herman knew. I don’t know if it was irony. And what if it wasn’t? You also got proof, as if you still needed it, that politicians were always queuing in droves to lend a hand to Verhulst and Cooke in their next poll. To crown that dubious tradition, now Bart De WeverConner Rousseau and Bart Tommelein sing a farewell song. None of the other attendees made a joke with ‘the Three Tumors’, which I found to be a lacuna, because every time I see such an excellence storm a scale with gusto and pulled microphone, I think: ‘blank’.

The last episode mainly consisted of one continuous look back at almost the entire shared career of Cooke and Verhulst, with old footage, which gave the feeling that you had become stuck between zapping in the ditch between an archive program and a modern, overly shiny upgrading of ‘Zondag Josdag’ in which verbatim anecdotes were retold. You just had to be there. And if you weren’t, you were lucky. What was also striking was that the majority of those apparently miraculous times had apparently taken place on ‘the boat’. The least you can say about the ‘De Cooke & Verhulst Show’ when you look back, is that, unlike ‘Gert Late Night’, there were seldom any fluctuations. Let no one read a light compliment in that, because a swing also has an upward trend just as often. Anyway, the very best moment was voted: James Cooke who blew up a condom on his head. Yes, a lacuna.