Just before M-1! Nishikigoi: “I’ll endure the pain in my shoulder and back and die trying to win! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Just before M-1! Nishikigoi: “I’ll endure the pain in my shoulder and back and die trying to win!

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Two consecutive years of great success

Nishikigoi: Formed in ’12. Masaki Hasegawa (left), a joker, and Takashi Watanabe, a comedian, both have more than 20 years of performing experience. Their first book, “Smoldering Middle Age Strikes Back” (Shinchosha) is now on sale.

Last year, “Nishikigoi” left a mark in the final of the “M-1 Grand Prix” as the oldest finalist. The duo has returned after achieving their long awaited breakthrough with Masaki Hasegawa’s (50) physical comedy and Takashi Watanabe’s (43) sharp comedy. The duo broke their own record for the longest-tenured duo and advanced to the “M-1” final for the second year in a row.

FRIDAY interviewed “Nishikigoi” two days after the good news, and spent an hour talking to them about how they felt after they were selected for their second dream stage.

Hasegawa: “I was so happy when I was selected for the final. To be honest, I was worried about the semi-finals. I felt like I was more popular last year.”

Watanabe: “I felt that I was able to give my best performance to date. I was relieved when I heard the result.

Hasegawa: “I didn’t get nervous at all during the story. I guess it was because I felt that more people knew us. It was more like what we usually do at the theater.

Watanabe: “Really? I thought I would be nervous too, but I didn’t change at all. I’m sure I’ll be nervous in the final, too.

Hasegawa will be turning 50 this year. Watanabe is also approaching his mid-forties. The veteran who has been performing for over 20 years is more concerned about his conditioning than his mental condition.

Hasegawa: “Actually, just before the semifinals, I injured my back during a story. I do a lot of running around on stage, and at 50 years old, the strain on my back is ridiculous (laughs). My manager introduced me to a physical therapist and I managed to get over it.

Watanabe: “Sitting in the middle, moving around, our material is hard on the back.

Hasegawa: “Also, I have ten missing teeth, so my tongue is not very smooth. I have a one-shot gag where I shout “Raisin bread”, but one time I thought it wasn’t popular, so I asked around and found out that the audience didn’t know what I was saying.

Watanabe: “Even I, the person closest to me, misheard it as ‘chanpon men’.

Hasegawa: “At last year’s finals, I was warned by the all-giant master that I should get my teeth fixed. That’s what worries me the most.

Watanabe: “I’m worried about my forty shoulders. I can’t lift my left shoulder. It’s fortunate that it’s not my right shoulder, the one I’m supposed to make fun of.

Hasegawa: “From now on, I have to stretch properly before going on stage.

Watanabe: “Preparatory exercises before the stage. I don’t think such people should be doing comedy (laughs).

This year, they graduated from their longtime part-time jobs and have been concentrating on comedy, mainly on TV shows. In their personal lives, they have made a big decision for their art.

Hasegawa: “We bought a TV for the first time in our lives. And it’s 40 inches. It cost 180,000 yen, including a recorder that can automatically record all programs. I thought it would be better to watch my own programs and study them.”

Watanabe: “I bought a 30,000 yen mom-chari before this summer. It’s for walking.”

Hasegawa: “I don’t get it! (laughs)”

Watanabe: “Masaki-san has gained weight, hasn’t he? You’ve gained weight, haven’t you? Since you’ve been working more, you’ve been able to eat well every day.

Hasegawa: “That’s right, I gained 10 kg in a year. I gained 10 kg in one year, and because of that, my suit got torn, so I had to buy a new one twice this year alone.

Watanabe: “You were really thin before that because you couldn’t eat.

Hasegawa: “My body is in bad shape, but in terms of nutrition, I’m at my best right now.

At the end of the year, they are going to challenge for the top of “M-1” again. Finally, we asked them about their enthusiasm for the final.

Hasegawa: “We’ve been saying this since we made it to the quarterfinals for the first time in ’15, but we still want to win. Last year, we finished fourth. I feel like I’m within reach, and I want to go for it.

Watanabe: “I don’t have much time left because of my age. We think this year is our last chance, so we will literally “die” to win!

What will be the challenge of the veteran duo?

A press conference for the finalists. Watanabe mentions “Moguerider” and Hasegawa mentions “Indians” and “Oswald” as rivals.
Nishikigoi Special Interview: “I’m literally dying to win!
Nishikigoi Special Interview “I’m literally dying to win!
Special Nishikigoi Interview “I’m literally dying to win!
Special Nishikigoi Interview “I’m literally dying to win!

From “FRIDAY” December 24, 2021 issue

  • Photography Takero Yatsuka, Kazuhiko Nakamura (press conference photos)

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