The “king of the preaching” who has sent over 3,000 pairs of comedians to M-1 talks about “20 years of M-1
At the end of the year, every duo I see on the street looks like a manzai artist.
There is a comedian who looks at the M-1, the big event in the comedy world where the finals are held every December, from a different angle. It is “Hariken-unzu,” who serves as MC for the preliminary rounds. He is a true “farewell comedian” who has sent over 3,000 pairs of comedians to the stage and watched over their dramas from the sidelines. The first part of the program begins with a “typical year-end experience” of Noboru Maeda (52), the comedian in charge of the comedy.
Maeda : “ I came to Tokyo from Osaka and formed a duo with Yoshiyuki Arai (51). I spent my younger days with “Gokuraku Tombo” and Kotomasa Tsukitei (54). At the time, Yoshimoto in Tokyo did not have a theater, so we had to find one by ourselves and set up the stage.
Arai: “ After we did our material, we rushed to the back and did the sound and lighting (laughs).
Maeda: “ Now that I think about it, it was absurd (laughs). After that, Yoshimoto theaters were completed in Shibuya and Ginza, but I think we were 28 years old. Both theaters had gone. At that time, an employee of Yoshimoto Kogyo named Mr. Tani gave me a job as an advance editor. Shimada Shinsuke (66) also took a liking to me and gave me a job as a front man on “Kaiun! Nandemo Kanteidan” (TV Tokyo) and “Shingo & Shinsuke no Abunai Hanashi” (Fuji TV). In “Nandemo Kanteidan,” I became a frontrunner about a year after the show aired, so eventually I became the second oldest person on the staff, after Seinosuke Nakajima (84) (laugh).
(Laughs)” Later, he was also in charge of the front editorial for “Sekai Urugurun Jyutoki” (TBS).
Maeda: “ I used to do manzai with almost no script, but I developed my ad-lib skills a lot in the preaching. In one show, a guest was late and we had to hold the show together. However, the staff told me, “Don’t mention that the guest is late during the preview. Not knowing how late we would be, we did ad-lib comedy for 90 minutes straight.
Arai: “ After 20 minutes, the audience started to say, ‘What’s wrong? After 20 minutes, the audience started to think, “What’s wrong? and the audience stopped laughing at all (laughs).
Maeda: “ Strangely enough, if we continued to perform the material, it became popular again! A mysterious sense of unity was created in the audience, and by the end the show was a big hit. Among comedians, I think he is known as Yoshimoto’s “King of the Preface.
I realized that I had been performing for more than 10 years.
Maeda: “ We’ve been doing the front of the M-1 since its inception, but we’ve never actually participated in the main contest. At the time of the first edition in 2001, we had already been formed for 11 years. At that time, you had to be a manzai performer who had been in business for 10 years or less to enter the competition. Nakagawa Family”, “Masuda Okada”, and “Hariganerock”, who were almost the same age, had participated. I wish I could have competed back then.
Arai: “ At that time, the prize money for winning an award race was about 1 million yen, but in the M-1 contest, the prize money was 10 million yen. Everyone was excited, but I was completely out of the loop.
Mr. Tani offered them the job of MC for the “M-1” preliminary round.
Maeda: “ I try not to tease the duo’s name so that it doesn’t get in the way of the grabbing blur. Also, I don’t want to cover any current events, so I don’t talk about them. In such a situation, we had to make the core comedy fans at the venue excited. I was able to make use of my experience in ad-libbing manzai amidst these various restrictions. Offstage, I would talk to the performers to ease their tension. ……
Arai: “ Some people intentionally avoid eye contact in order to save us the burden of unnecessary greetings (laughs). (Laughs) After that, we were approached by various award shows and ……. (Laughs) “We took part in all of the awards races with the “one” in the name, from the M-1 to the R-1, and even a Yoshimoto-sponsored competition for dogs’ tricks.
Maeda: “ It is exciting to see new comedy up close every year. I was particularly shocked when I saw ‘Milk Boy’ in the ’19 semifinals. The perfect composition and the way the audience laughed made me think, ‘Oh, I’m going to win. Ranjyatai,” which made it to the finals last year, was also quite an outlandish piece, but I think it was Kirinji who changed the course of the competition.
He was also the MC for the semifinal round of “The W” the other day. After being sent off by the “King of Mae Setsu,” a new champion will be born this year as well.
From the December 30, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Yuri Adachi (1st photo) Kazuhiko Nakamura (2nd photo)