Nishikigoi”: “Work increased 7 times” and “Weight increased 10kg”… “Nishikigoi”: One year after winning the M-1 Grand Prix
M-1 Grand Prix 2022 Last-Minute Special: Interview with the previous champion
I went through the tunnel of ‘M-1’ and was reborn in a different world. My work increased rapidly, about seven times. But I hardly remember anything. When people are too busy, their memories don’t catch up with them.
So says Takashi Watanabe, 44, a comedian in the comedy duo Nishikigoi. Last year, he and his bokeh, Masaki Hasegawa (51), became the oldest ever M-1 champions. Known as the “star of middle-aged people,” Watanabe is so active that there is not a day that goes by that he is not seen on TV.
Immediately after winning the championship
One year later…
Hasegawa: “ To be honest, at first I could barely keep up with the competition, and there was no afterglow of the victory. I finally felt it this summer when I recorded three shows in one day with Uchimura (Mitsuyoshi, 58), Ariyoshi (Hiroyuki, 48), and “Kurimuchu.
The two look back on a turbulent year with deep emotion. On the other hand, the duo’s physical strength was a heavy burden for the elderly duo. Hasegawa turned to something unexpected.
Hasegawa: “ When I get tired, I get over it by taking injections.
Watanabe: “ Hey! Masaki, you’re not doing anything crazy, are you?”
Hasegawa “ No, I’m not (laughs). By injections, I mean garlic injections!
Watanabe “ That’s confusing.
Hasegawa “ I also ate more as a reaction to the fatigue. I ate too much of the backstage lunch boxes, and when I realized it, I gained 10 kg in one year. Thanks to that, two of my suit pants broke.
Watanabe: “ The zipper popped off, didn’t it? I had never seen such a cartoon-like breakage before.
After a long period of being a low-ranking employee, Watanabe finally made his breakthrough. However, he has always had a sense of insecurity about being a champion that he could not talk about to those around him.
Watanabe: “ There was a period of time when I didn’t know if I was getting results in my work. I was getting work even though I wasn’t getting a good response. I kept wondering, ‘Is this what I should be doing? I had doubts about whether this was the right thing to do.
Hasegawa: “ I was never gut-punched when the recording was over. But when I was invited to appear on “Matsuko Kaigi” (Nippon Television Network) in June, Matsuko-san (50) affirmed, “It’s fine just the way it is. I am too old to slow down, but I realized that I shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry. Instead of worrying about it, I thought I should enjoy it first.
Watanabe: “When I appeared on “Sukkiri” (Nippon TV) in August, Kato-san (Koji, 53) said to me, “Just take it easy, just take it easy! I was told by Kato-san (Koji, 53), “Do it just right, just right! I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and since then I have been able to do things in a natural way.
On December 18, this year’s M-1 champion will be crowned. When I asked him about the loss of his title, he gave me a very encouraging answer.
Watanabe: “ Winning the championship is just the start. We are still challengers. Please look forward to our further progress!
Hasegawa: “ Even if we win the championship, it is possible for us to compete again. I will be 56 years old in my last year, so if push comes to shove, I will try again (laughs).
The two had gone through a roller coaster year. Their faces were full of confidence.
From “FRIDAY” December 30, 2022 issue
PHOTO： Takero Yui