Kazuki Zun Iio: “The person who saved me from sleeping so much…”
Influenced by “masters” such as Shiro Ito, Masao Komatsu, Kazuki Kozai, and Tsutomu Sekine, he arrived at his “just-right position” in the entertainment world.
The “just-right position” in the entertainment world
Before I became a comedian, I was a member of a theater troupe for about three months. I wonder what I misunderstood. When I was practicing dance in a tights-like costume that showed off my curves, I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to quit’ (laughs).
Kazuki Iio, 53, of the comedy duo “Zun,” who laughs bitterly, is now in his 32nd year as an actor, and it is a wonder that he is so active.
In addition to his announced appearance in the third movie in the “Galileo” series, he will also be the navigator of the drama “5 Minutes to the Surprising End” (Yomiuri TV/Nippon TV), which will start airing on September 22, with model Riko (19). She said, “This is my first acting job.
She said, “My first acting job was with Tsuyoshi Domoto of “KinKi Kids” in 2003. My first acting job was in 2003 in the drama “Motokare” (TBS), starring Tsuyoshi Domoto (43) of “KinKi Kids” fame. I played the role of a grocery store owner.
His co-star was Amano (Amano) of “Cayeen” (52), who is a classmate from the same office. (Hiroyuki) (52), with whom I was working as a comedian in the stage “Kankonkin Theater” with Tsutomu Sekine (69) at the time, so I wasn’t nervous at all. I was just excited that I was going to be in a drama. I was just excited.
Gradually, his work as an actor increased, and he appeared in hit TV dramas such as NHK’s morning drama and the drama “Unnatural” (TBS). Iio now balances comedy and acting, and has established a “just-right position” in the industry, but his period of disadvantage lasted for 20 years.
When I was young, I was so plain that even when I appeared on stage as a comedian, I was called ‘the invisible man’ (laughs). I was so bored in my twenties that I slept on the floor until I was out of bed. My classmate “Cayeen” bought me enough drinks to build a whole house. CY-EN sold well right after they formed, and I saw the overwhelming difference in their abilities, so I was not jealous of them.
However, a turning point came in 2005, five years after ZUN was formed.
When I was 37 years old, I compared myself at the end of the year with Cailin, who was busy at the end of the year, and I was relaxing in a coffee shop, and I decided that this was not good enough. I decided to trust the staff in both comedy and acting, and to give more out of myself.
But the results didn’t come right away, and when I turned 40, I couldn’t even pay my rent. I was given a part-time job at a cleaning company started by a junior comedian. While I was trying to make ends meet in this way, my peers with whom I was close, such as “Ninety-Nine” and “Neptune,” who had their own shows, and the staff with whom I used to work invited me to their shows, and I gradually began to be able to make a living. Even if you are in pain, if you don’t give up, you can make it.
Shiro Ito (85) and Masao Komatsu’s surreal comedy, which I admired in my childhood, made me fall in love with comedy, and Sekine and Kazuki Kosai (66) trained my variety skills through their various reckless acts. I am grateful to my “mentors” like Sekine-san and Kazuki Kosai (66), who trained my variety skills through various reckless behavior.
In creating roles, he often uses familiar people and real-life experiences as inspiration, and he feels the support of many people.
The writer of the script for “5 Minutes Later” is a friend of mine, so I had a chance to meet him. I played the role of a teacher who talks to Riko, a high school student, in a casual manner, so I modeled the role after a teacher I had when I was a student.
I played the role of a teacher who was not up to date with today’s technology, and in fact, I myself still use a cellular phone. During the remote recording at the COVID-19 crisis, I called a 22-year-old who had just joined the scene “Sensei” and asked him to teach me many things (laughs).
Iio is loved by his fellow comedians and the staff, and he has overcome some unfortunate times.” Iio’s low “perked up 45 degrees” posture is sure to help him make it big as an actor.
From the September 30 and October 7, 2022 issues of FRIDAY
Photography： Shinji Hamasaki