I want to work with Yasuda in a way that goes beyond the boundaries of comedians. I want the public to enjoy our “theater of life. I think “Rial Kids” is a duo that can do that.
Former “Riaru Kids” member Yuki Nagata (37) explains his current state of mind.
The duo’s talent was discovered in an audition program broadcast in 1996, and two years later they made their debut as “Rial Kids. At the age of 18, they became the youngest duo ever to make it to the final of the “M-1” competition and seemed to be on their way to stardom.
However, Nagata soon discovered that he was in debt to the tune of more than 100 million yen. In 2002, Nagata’s contract with Yoshimoto was terminated and the duo disbanded. Nagata retired from performing, while Yasuda became a pin-up comedian, and they lost touch with each other. Their relationship reached a turning point in May of last year.
I had caused Yasuda a lot of trouble with my debt problems,” he said. I was so sorry about that that I contacted Yasuda to apologize to him in person. Yasuda reluctantly agreed to see me again, and I met him for the first time since the breakup.
At the time, FRIDAY closely followed their reunion. Nagata apologized to Yasuda, but Yasuda brushed him off, saying, “I’m not interested in you in the first place. It seemed as if their relationship was beyond repair.
But we gradually began to keep in touch with each other after that day, and a few days later we went out for dinner. At first, Yasuda was reluctant to go out with me, but after a few more meals, he opened up to me.
As the thaw approached, the final push came from the manzai to which he had devoted his youth.
Last November, Yasuda’s YouTube project in which he performed a manzai was the decisive moment for me. The moment I stood in front of the Sampachi microphone, I felt like I was back to 24 years ago when I made my debut. By the way, 90% of the time, Yasuda would do all the talking and I would do all the poking and prodding, and his first words at the end of the performance were, “I’m tired. In July of this year, I was allowed to do a one-night-only manzai in front of an audience.
In May of this year, Yasuda appeared as a live guest on Nagata’s Internet radio program, “Nagata Ryuki no Ikogomi Radio. The broadcast was said to have been a great success.
The radio is a throwaway system where listeners send in items for a fee, and that day there was a flurry of items. Yasuda seemed to get a taste of that gift attack, and now he appears on my radio once every two times. I’ve made so many appearances that now I don’t even get any gifts from listeners (laughs).”
As for a reunion, which has been on his mind, he says, “As of now, there is no reunion.
We are not reuniting at the moment. The relationship we have with each other now is just fine. It would be interesting if a duo that came into the world at the age of 11 were still doing comedy together at 70 or 80. Even if we don’t reunite, I hope we can be like that. The most ideal situation would be if our life as former “Rial Kids” became a story itself.
The once prodigious boy comic genius is now in his 40s. Their dialogue, which has undergone twists and turns, has deepened and become even funnier than in the past.
From the December 23, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Courtesy of Yusei Nagata, Junsei Todoroki (2nd photo)