I thought this year would be my last because of my age. I’m just relieved to have won.
Kenichi Akaba (44, photo left), a comedian of the comedy duo “Monkey Gorilla,” the 16th King of Conte 2023, said. He was crowned as the oldest king in the history of the competition and the highest-scoring king in the history of the competition, thanks to the unique phrases and high acting ability of his costar, Tomohiro Kodama (43).
Akahane: “On the day of the final, the two of us took a sauna together as usual to get ready for the challenge. 40 years have passed this year since we met in kindergarten when I was 4 years old. We haven’t had a single fight since elementary school. We are still really good friends (laughs).
Kodama: “That’s why people like Shinobu Hasegawa of Sissonne and my juniors lambaste us for not being in a hurry (laughs). But this is our style and the secret of winning. I think we are the best in Japan in terms of rapport.
This year marks the 20th year in his career. In the past, they worked as a trio and even broke up.
Akahane: “Once I decided to do things freely, and three years ago, I just went through what I wanted to do. That was the prototype for our current phrase-oriented material. That was a big hit.”
Kodama: “After that, I made five new pieces a month and kept brushing them up, until one year ago when I made the first piece for the finals, “Rules,” and this April I made “Youth.
Their ambitions for the future were also typical of their humble nature.
Kodama: “I’ve been treated well by the more successful juniors, so I’d like to treat them to a round of drinks with the prize money.
Kodama: “I’ve been licked by my juniors, so maybe now they’ll respect me a little (laughs).
The middle-aged duo’s rapid ascent has just begun.
From “FRIDAY” November 10 and 17, 2023 issue
PHOTO： Takero Yui