Local comedians based in regional areas are now in the spotlight. In “Audrey, There’s Someone I’d Like You to Meet! (NTV) aired a “Local Talent Special” for three weeks starting July 24.
The program featured Masaru Saito (45) of the Fukuoka-based comedy duo “Parachute Unit” and “Bunbun Bowl,” a “live-in geisha from Ishikawa Prefecture,” among others. The success of Yoshimoto Kogyo, which has “live-in” comedians in 47 prefectures, was followed by Watanabe Entertainment, to which Saito belongs.
The third force is likely to be Sun Music Production, to which “Maple Chogokin” and “Pekopa” belong.
Sunmusic Productions operates talent training centers in eight locations throughout Japan, from Sapporo to Okinawa, and has been promoting regional development through “entertainment” since last year! and since last year, the company has been holding events in collaboration with local governments and public facilities under the slogan, “Creating local communities through entertainment! Kinki (54), formerly of “Doyo,” who was active on “God of Entertainment” (NTV), made quite a splash when he won an audition to be the MC of “Sugoroku,” a TV program in the evening in Yamanashi. Kinki moved to Kofu City and has already become the face of Yamanashi,” said a director of a production company.
The broadcaster noted that “Yoshimoto Kogyo, the pioneer in this field, is trembling with fear” at the prospect of Kinki’s entry into the market.
The preliminary speculation was that it would be a Yoshimoto comedian who already had a connection with the station, such as ‘Dambiramucho,’ who has had a regular program in Yamanashi since 2004. Yoshimoto is once again focusing on strengthening relationships with local stations.
One of the measures to strengthen the relationship is to introduce nationally known star comedians to local stations.
Koji Higashino (56) has been featured in special programs on stations in Toyama, Ishikawa, and Iwate under the guise of “looking for a place to settle down after retirement,” and Koji Imada (57) has appeared on a Fuji Television affiliate in the Miyagi version of a program called “Imada Koji no Omotenashi de Otsukushimete Yorinasama! on Fuji Television affiliate stations. The show also featured local resident comedians.
St. Force, which has a large number of freelance announcers, has also begun to increase the number of announcers who live in regional areas.
Former Kanazawa TV announcer Momoko Baba (31), who was nicknamed “Kanazawa’s Rampage Horse” for her free-spirited behavior, was scouted on the condition that she would work mainly in the Hokuriku region. Kubo Enka (Madoka), 31, was transferred to Shizuoka Asahi Television as a contract announcer. Key stations are cutting back on the use of freelance announcers due to production cost reductions, so they saw an opportunity in local announcers who can work on a stable basis even if the unit price is low,” said a senior entertainment industry executive.
(Entertainment industry executive) “With the entry of the major companies, the wintertime for genuine local talent has arrived,” says a director of a production company.
After the success of “Parachute Squad,” Watanabe Entertainment pitched Daiki Sato (35), a comedian from “KUMAMUSHI,” to a TV station in Toyama, his hometown, and got him a regular show. However, Sato’s attitude that he is a “national celebrity” was not very appealing, and his work did not seem to be expanding (laughs). (Laughs.) “At local stations, it is important to be interesting, but also to be likable.
The entertainment agency that controls the local area may control the Japanese entertainment industry.
From the September 15 and 22 combined issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Takayuki Ogawauchi