Comedian Zen Monkey says, “I have only one goal: to win the KOC | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Comedian Zen Monkey says, “I have only one goal: to win the KOC

Former partner of Angora Muranaga, former Japanese representative of "Bandi," and a man with five different surnames. ...... The future of this unique trio

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I’m happy that we were able to get results in the awards race so early. However, I am still not good enough. I will not stop until I become the best in Japan.

Shotaro Ogino (26), a member of the comedy trio “Zen Monkey,” is in charge of the comedic direction of the group. He made his debut in 2008 with Yazaki (25) and Muramatsu (25), two of his classmates from the training school who are in charge of comedy. In their first year, they won last year’s “Watanabe No. 1 Contest,” in which a record number of 339 groups participated. They also made it to the quarterfinals of the “King of Conte” for the third consecutive year. They are an up-and-coming trio that is dominating the awards race, but the path to their formation was a story of apartness.

Profile Zenmonkie / Debuted in 2008. The trio consists of Ogino (center), a comedian, and Yazaki (left) and MURAMATSU, both of whom are good at making fun. TV producers Nobuyuki Sakuma and Rinzo Kaji, who served as judges in the “Watanabe No. 1 Contest,” also praised their talent.

Ogino: “ I was a member of a comedy club at Waseda University, and in my first year, when I was not getting any traction at all, I got up the courage to ask Angora Muracho of “Nyanko Star,” who was then a third-year student and the center of the club, to join our duo. After that, every time we performed live, I was laughing so hard that I woke up and thought, “This is fun! I was hooked on the world of comedy. I was instantly hooked on the world of comedy.

Yazaki: “ I played for the Japanese “Bandi” team for about two years until around 2006, when I entered the training school. Bandi” is an ice hockey-like sport played on a field the size of a soccer court, and originally there were only three teams in Japan. I was the goalkeeper, but I had to turn down the World Championships because I had a regular gig at my office.

Muramatsu: “ I have five last names because my parents remarried several times. I have never been passionate about anything, but the only thing I was passionate about was comedy. After dropping out of college, I worked at a relative’s factory until I was about 21 years old. I left my job and jumped into the world of comedians.

Ogino’s loose comical style enhances the situation in which Yazaki and Muramatsu cross paths. Their unique worldview is attracting a lot of addicts.

Muramatsu: “ After we debuted, Ogino-kun suggested that all three of us should do a story every day. However, Yazaki and I both dropped out after about 10 days. ……

Ogino: “ All three of us had written material for our previous duo. So I was thinking, ‘It’s cool that all three of us can write material! But in the end, we ended up like this.

Yazaki: “ I’m sorry! But Ogino-kun was outstanding in terms of content. Now we are working on the script that Ogino-kun wrote, and the three of us are making it up as we go along.

Ogino: “ We were lucky enough to win the “Watanabe No. 1 Contest” in our first year, but I thought our ability was still not good enough. After the “Watanabe No. 1 Championship,” I have not won a title for more than a year. I am impatient.

Muramatsu: “ That’s why I’m going to perform about 40 shows in August. I also do three to five new pieces of material every month. I think now is the time to hone my skills.

Yazaki: “ Oh? Muramatsu-kun is making the material?

Muramatsu “ That’s good! Let me say something nice once in a while (laughs).”

As they described their personalities as “serious,” they remained humble throughout the interview. The three of them, however, were open about their ambitions for the future, revealing their big dreams in no uncertain terms.

Ogino: “I still want to win the ‘King of Conte. I’d rather do it than ……! Oh, I just said that.

Muramatsu: “ I think that’s the number one goal of a contortionist. I lost in the quarterfinals this year, but I want to achieve it next year.

Yazaki: “ I have always dreamed of having my own radio show. To achieve this, I want to win the “King of Conte” first and use that as my calling card to get on the radio!

The challenge of the three members continues.

Unpublished cuts from the magazine Zen Monkey, Comedian Next Generation Star Vol. 16
Unpublished cuts from Zen Monkey, Comedian Next Generation Star Vol. 16

From the September 9, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Yuri Adachi

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