It was a place to learn how to live.
As I watch YouTube videos of “Boru Juku” chatting in a normal way while eating lunch and snacks, I am reminded of the diversification of methods used by comedians these days.
In fact, I heard that the teaching methods of NSC (Yoshimoto Sogo Geijutsu Gakuin) are also changing.
What kind of teaching methods are they using now? I asked Mr. Takeshi Masumoto, a popular lecturer, novelist, and broadcaster who has worked on many popular programs such as “Guru Ninety Nine”, “Tonight Kurabeshimashita” (both on Nippon Television Network Corporation), and “Nanikore Chin Hyakkei” (on TV Asahi), to show me the audition for the Masumoto class.
There was a duo of a 16-year-old and a 69-year-old, as well as a student who entered the school as a punishment for a company’s year-end party…
On a certain day of the month, when I visited the Tokyo headquarters of Yoshimoto Kogyo, which is located in an abandoned school building, everyone I passed greeted me with a loud “Good morning! They were all audition participants. They are all participants in the auditions. The image of a comedian is one of shyness and slurred speech without making eye contact, but the “comedian eggs” are surprisingly cheerful and refreshing.
A total of 129 groups participated in the audition. A total of 129 groups participated in the audition, and 25 groups were selected from among them after auditioning from morning to night without a break.
There are now university students, housewives, presidents, and even a pairing of a 16-year-old and a 69-year-old in the NSC. In the past, the usual route was to become a comedian in junior high school and enter Yoshimoto, but I have the impression that more and more people are joining Yoshimoto after having experienced working life. I’ll never forget that about seven years ago, there was a student who joined NSC as a punishment at the company’s year-end party,” said Masumoto.
Masumoto has trained more than 6,000 comedians, but when he started teaching in 2010, his teaching methods were actually quite different.
When I first started teaching, I was doing about 18 shows, so I was trying to show off to my students how great I was. But the students didn’t respond well.
I myself am an NSC graduate and a divorcee, and I told them, “I’ve made two mistakes in my life, one by quitting my job as a comedian and the other by losing my marriage. But I’m having a lot of fun now,’ I said, and the students started to listen more attentively.
I found that students were more interested in listening to me when I showed them my wounds than when I bragged about them.
When I became an instructor, I learned more from my students than I did from teaching them. I realized that teaching is better suited to people who know that they are ignorant.
Mr. Masumoto seems to be a friendly and “approachable big brother” teacher, and the students are polite, making the school seem like a safe place.
There was a time when comedians were brought up in special environments, such as being poor, bullied, or rough around the edges.
But before being a comedian, you have to be a human being. That’s why I say it’s beneficial to be polite.
For example, if we didn’t have a culture of greetings when dealing with superiors, we would have to make small talk like, “Hanshin won,” or “Gasoline is expensive,” or some other clever conversation, but with greetings, we can get by with, “Good morning,” or “How are you? When I tell them that politeness and honorifics are items that help them get along with the older generation, some of them become more polite from there.
Teaching methods have changed since the spread of SNS
In the past, the NSC was often talked about as having classes such as jazz dance and flamenco that were not well understood.
Today, however, the NSC has changed dramatically, and in addition to Mr. Masumoto, there is a lavish lineup of instructors including Akira Ishida from NON STYLE (Tokyo and Osaka schools), Sato from Punk Boo Boo (Tokyo school), and Tetsuo from Laughing Rice (Osaka school).
In addition, 40% of the classes are for showing stories, and the rest are for learning ideas, vocalization, acting, and the tradition of laughter.
The teaching methods have changed especially since the spread of social networking sites.
I grew up on TV, so I want to give back to the world of comedians and TV, but I don’t want my students to stay in one place if they want to be able to make money in the future.
What I often say is, “Please create four goodwill.
For example, you can create a photographic company on Instagram, a 140-character writing world on Twitter, a music business on Tik-Tok, and a personal network on Facebook.
In other words, you can form four different communities.
This is my own advice based on my own life experience, but if you create several places for yourself, even if one of the communities becomes inadequate, you can revive yourself in another community.
It is important to have a strong sense of what you want to do in the entertainment industry, but when that community becomes inadequate, there are many people who lose their place or get stuck there.
Also, in the past, the only place for comedians to be active was in performance and storytelling shows, but we live in an age where EXIT is making his debut as a singer, Naoki Matayoshi is becoming an Akutagawa Prize winning author, and Yu Shinagawa is becoming a film director. Also, in “Ametalk! Also, on “Ametalk!”, comedians are expanding their fields in various ways as “○○geijin”.
I tell them, “If you have one curtain of material, if you have three other curtains, you will become a talent who can be easily approached.
For example, one of my classmates, Yoshimi Tokui of Tutorial, who lived with me, has been featured on “Ametalk!
We are a popular business, so if we don’t have more than one goodwill, no one will call us. One is to revive the community and create a place to live, and the other is to make it easier for people to call on us, so we need four noren to survive.
80% is the story, 20% is the potential for growth and talent
Mr. Masumoto said that the criteria for passing or failing the audition that day was “80% material, and 20% potential for growth and talent. What kind of potential and talent do you see in them?
People often use the word “conscious,” but I think that people with a broad consciousness are the ones who have potential to grow and sell.
When you make a TV program, there are cameramen who film you, lighting people who light you, and directors who use you. It is not possible to sell a product alone, but there are an overwhelming number of successful people who are prepared to listen to others, accept their opinions, ruminate on them in their own way, and try to digest them.
Of course, there are things like cute faces and fashion, but more than anything, I see a sense of “capturing the times” in their looks.
For example, in manzai and comedy, there are probably 10,000 different ways to portray a detective and a criminal, but even if it’s the same police and criminal, if there’s a guy who has the literacy to take up the Cyber Division in the Metropolitan Police Department, I think he has the ability to grasp the trend.
What kind of comedians will be needed in the future?
So, what kind of comedians will be in demand in the future? When I asked him about this, Mr. Masumoto told me his theory.
For example, next year will be the 20th anniversary of the “R-1 Grand Prix,” during which time “Bakusho Red Carpet” and “Enta no Kami” became popular, and this trend has recently continued with the “Chidori’s Quirky Neta GP.
In such a situation, I think that there are many people who want to see some real material soon. Looking back at “King of Contrast,” Doburoku’s singing story won the competition, and Nyanko Star’s jumping rope-like musical performance won, but this year’s finalists were all full-fledged performers.
This is also a shake-up. Also, there is a generational trend: comedians who grew up in the days of “Bakusho Red Carpet” were good at short stories, but not good at making long stories.
However, after Akeboshi Shimotsuki won the “M-1 Grand Prix,” there is a sense that his generation and the generation a little below him are shifting to full-fledged material. I feel that perhaps there will be a shakeup in full-fledged comedy.
Soshi Masumoto was born in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1975. As a popular broadcaster, he is in charge of numerous programs, and has been involved in the planning of AbemaTV and other online content that has become a social phenomenon. He is also a lecturer at Yoshimoto Sogo Geijutsu Gakuin, his alma mater. His books include “Three People” (Bungeishunju). He is also famous as the “third roommate” of Yoshimi Tokui of Tutorial and Kazutaka Ozawa of Speedwagon, with whom he shared a room. Twitter @SOUSHIHIROSHO
Interview and text by： Wakako Tago
Born in 1973. After working for a publishing company and an advertising production company, became a freelance writer. In addition to interviewing actors and actresses for weekly and monthly magazines, she writes drama columns for a variety of media. JUMP 9 no Tobira ga Openitoki" (both published by Earl's Publishing).
Photography： Mayumi Abe