Moriyama, Who Once Aspired to Be a Police Officer, Is Now Full of Regrets as a Comedian | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Moriyama, Who Once Aspired to Be a Police Officer, Is Now Full of Regrets as a Comedian

Refused to perform at "Namba Grand kagetsu" due to nervousness, lost his house due to debt, and made a mistake on live TV...

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“Manzai is ‘stand-up comedy. If two people get together, they can do it without a microphone. I admired that form of comedy,” says Moriyama.

Currently, Moriyama is a regular on numerous TV shows. He also performs on stage every day and actively distributes videos. Shintaro Moriyama (37), one of the busiest comedians in Japan today, began speaking in a thick voice, showing no signs of fatigue.

He was talking in a thick voice, showing no signs of fatigue. I try to get a break. I think it is old-fashioned that comedians on TV used to say, ‘I don’t have a day off. But it was tough before I came to Tokyo (last April). 180 round trips between Tokyo and Osaka for 200 nights in one year, and I even took the first bullet train for five days in a row. Is that possible? Why did you go back to Osaka once in the first place?

It has been 10 months since the “Naniwa no Gekijobancho,” as he was called, moved his base of operations to Tokyo. He says there are some things he feels a little strange about.

Once on location, I told my partner (Lily), ‘I’m going to hit you, idiot,’ but the Kansai dialect turned out really bad (laughs.) When I do business in Kishiwada, I would say something like, “You’re going to kill me, aren’t you? (laughs) So maybe subconsciously, I speak in a slight Kansai dialect in Tokyo.
Even in Osaka, I am often asked how my dialect differs from that of Tokyo. I’ve been asked so much that I’ve been lying a lot lately.

The Day I Breathed in the Roadside Shikkemoku

Moriyama smiles broadly, but he has also faced many hardships in his 15 years as a comedian.

I was in debt for ten years in my twenties. I didn’t even attend classes at the Osaka NSC (Yoshimoto Sogo Geino Gakuin) and spent my time standing in line at pachinko parlors. I would scout out about seven nearby parlors, take notes on the number of revolutions and say, ‘That’s the one with the highest expected value,’ and the next morning I would line up before the parlor opened and go to. It was a shitty life.
I couldn’t pay the rent, so I was evicted from my house, put my stuff in a trunk room, and lived in the theater for about two months. I was able to live off the catering and bread brought in by Yoshimoto employees, so I was able to make a living (laughs).

(Laughs.) There were times when I wanted to quit as a comedian.

There were many times when I wanted to quit. The hardest time was when I was about 30 years old. I didn’t have a house and I didn’t have money to smoke, so I reached for a cigarette that had fallen in a park. And I smoked. At that moment, I thought, ‘I’m finished. I was at the bottom of my life.
I had so much debt, no results at work, and a mental breakdown that I was even trying to apply to the Osaka Prefectural Police. Now that I think about it, there was no way that guy would have been accepted (laughs).”

On live TV and at events…

I made a lot of mistakes when I was young. In a live Kansai-local TV program, he unintentionally used a banned term. At an event to promote a confectionery, he once blurted out, “It tastes like ferret.”

He once said, “I was asked by a station staff member, ‘Isn’t that a penis? and the station staff got very angry with me. I couldn’t appear on the show for a few years after that. I was also scolded by the company for the sweets, and I lost that job (laughs).
(laughs) These mistakes, it’s not like I said, “I used to do that when I was younger. I still make them today. Recently, I was told by my seniors to take my clothes off in a program, but I made sure to do so (laughs). Of course, it didn’t go on the air. I really am a person who makes a lot of mistakes.”

Now and in the past, “I have no self-confidence.”

Moriyama looks back on the latter half of his twenties as a period of lack of results, but even at the time of his debut, “Mimikazu” was highly acclaimed. In the fourth year of his career, Moriyama was even asked to perform a solo concert at the sacred Namba Grand kagetsu.

I was once asked by the company, “Won’t you do a solo live performance at the Namba Grand kagetsu? But what was I thinking? But I don’t know what I was thinking, but I got scared and said, ‘No way! I can’t do it! I won’t do it. In the end, they let me do it.'”

(Laughs.) “Why did you refuse to perform on a stage that everyone longs to be on?”

I didn’t have confidence in my material or in my ability to attract an audience. I felt like, ‘I’m not good enough yet.
I haven’t always been a confident person. I’m not even now. It was the same when I was a student. I have a cool haircut and a cool atmosphere. That’s because I’m not a confident person.

Now that Moriyama has made his breakthrough, what does he aim for in the future?

I want to be a TV MC, even if people say I’m old-fashioned, and I want to be one of the success stories that have been portrayed for a long time. I came to Tokyo chasing after Chidori and Kamaitachi. I want to be active in the center of television. Of course, I will continue to do manzai.
I make a lot of mistakes, and I am not a confident person. I can’t be cool, so I’m going to do it as I am. What is funny is funny. What is impossible is impossible. What is not in good taste is not in good taste (laughs). That’s how I am.

No tricks, just his natural state. In this age of discovery, Moriyama’s figure will continue to shine.

Click here for the long version of “Shintaro Moriyama: The Story of How He Got His Break!

Busy days. If I had a long vacation, I would like to go to Taiwan. But I might end up playing the slots (laughs).
Shintaro Moriyama, a member of the “Miscellaneous” section of the magazine, talks about his journey to his breakthrough: “My life as a comedian has been full of mistakes.”
Unpublished photo: Shintaro Moriyama, a member of the “FRIDAY” magazine, explains how he got his break: “My life as a comedian has been full of mistakes.”

From the February 17, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

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