Vacuum Jessica Reflects on Ended Solo Program: Felt Unpleasant at Parents’ House | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Vacuum Jessica Reflects on Ended Solo Program: Felt Unpleasant at Parents’ House

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Since 2021, comedy duo Maboroshi Jessica’s Kawakita Shigezumi and Gaku have made it to the finals of the “M-1 Grand Prix” for three consecutive years, leaving a unique impression in variety shows with their strength in ad-lib and impactful use of props. What are their current thoughts and feelings as they continue their activities?

They shared candid reflections on their appearances this year in “Footon-da King Decision Battle 2024” (Chukyo TV / NTV) and “Sanma’s Comedy Improvement Committee” (Fuji TV), as well as their solo program “Jessica Bijutsu-bu” (TV Asahi), which ended after about a year.

Comedy duo Vacuum Jessica, known for their unique presence in variety shows, featuring Shigezumi Kawakita (pictured on the right) and Gaku (PHOTO: Sugizo).

In reality, it was the opposite on the scene; Sanma-san was fascinated by me.

Here’s the translation:

―― In the “Footon-da King Decision Battle 2024” broadcast on New Year’s Day this year, Kawakita-san won. Gaku-san also put up a good fight, right?

Kawakita: Instead of letting me win, he started showing off. Because he did fairly well, I didn’t stand out much.

Gaku: That’s not true, winning means standing out. If we’re going to win, it’s better to say, “Both are funny.”

Kawakita: From now on, we’ll discuss it properly.

Gaku: It’s not like bicycle racing where one team member leads and protects the others!

―― You appeared as an improving guest comedian on the “Sanma’s Comedy Improvement Committee” broadcast in June. It seemed like you were taken with MC Akashiya Sanma-san.

Kawakita: Actually, it was the opposite on set; Sanma-san was taken with me. He said, “You’re doing pretty well.” He found me quite funny, so I thought he might invite me back if there’s another show. Sanma-san is unexpectedly funny, although it might not be widely known.

Gaku: You have no say in that, and everyone knows Sanma-san is funny! (laughs) It’s abnormal how he’s still going strong in his career at his age. I think all the young comedians are scared of him on that show.

Kawakita: I’m not particularly scared, but Gaku is scared even if it’s not Sanma-san. In reality, he’s still frightened now. His hair color is fading, poor guy.

Gaku: Stop, you’ll make it hard for me to laugh with my blonde hair! (wry smile) “Improvement Committee” is a show where you really have to step up, and Sanma-san definitely likes that kind of challenge. It’s pretty scary from a young comedian’s perspective.

 Yumeya’s rhythm stuff is like, “You know, you’re so dark, that’s why you’re so good at it!” something like that.

―― In March this year, your solo program “Jessica Bijutsu-bu” ended. Did you feel any sadness at the end of your first solo regular program?

Kawakita: It certainly feels like I let people down since everyone was watching.

Gaku: It ended because no one was watching! (laughs) I’ve never been told in town, “I watch your show.” Of course, it was a program that had monthly recordings guaranteed, so it was sad to see it go.

Gaku: “I’ve never had anyone say, ‘I’m watching your show’ on the street or anything like that.”

―― Watching the show, I was surprised to see Kawakita-san communicating with artists and general audience members.

Kawakita: Well, that’s probably why it ended. People were like, “Who’s running this show?” I’m just more outgoing, but it’s not like I can carry a show alone, so it’s only natural that such a program would end.

Gaku: For me, it was like, “Let’s try our best to carry it.” After realizing I couldn’t do it well, I feel like I’ll just do my best within my limits in the future.

―― The planning and composition of the program were handled by former comedian and current TV Asahi employee Yu Suzuki (stage name: Yumeya Masaru).

Gaku: We didn’t have much interaction before the program started, but it seems he submitted the proposal from his end, and I’m really grateful for that.

Kawakita: We filmed at Yumeya’s family home once, and there were family photos and it seemed like a friendly atmosphere. But the more we heard, the more we realized Yumeya isn’t that close to his parents. We filmed in winter, and it turned out the heating was broken, and it seemed like his parents hardly ever came home.

Gaku: Yumeya himself doesn’t seem to go home much either, so he didn’t know the heating was broken.

Kawakita: When I looked closely at the family photos, Yumeya had almost no expression, and it left me feeling really uncomfortable. That day, maybe only the floor heating was on? It got too hot, and everyone started feeling nauseous.

Gaku: There was absolutely no warmth from his family home (wry smile).

Kawakita: When I was told, “You can use the green room,” and went to Yumeya’s room, there were shelves full of dark and gloomy manga books like those from the Garo genre (underground manga published in Garo magazine by Seirinsha). It made me think, “Was the ‘I want to eat pancakes’ rhythm act dark because of this?”

Gaku: It was really hard to relax there. At first, I was also worried about the concept of the show. We have no background in art at all, and I thought, “I don’t know anything about art” (wry smile). Of course, we had a lot of fun experiences on the show as well.

The full article discussing complex feelings about appearing with props, stories related to office senior comedian Yuttei, reasons for aiming to win M-1, and more can be read in the paid version of FRIDAY Subscription.


Click here for the paid version [ FRIDAY subs] “‘If I don’t make it to the finals, I won’t call you anymore’…Jessica Shu vacuum’s earnest reason for aiming for the M-1 championship”.

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  • Interview and text Asahi Suzuki

    Freelance editor/writer. Former band member, former broadcaster. Loves all kinds of entertainment. Published "Shimura Ken Theory" (Asahi Shinbun Publishing) in April 2021. Currently updating his personal website, "Immortal Writing Blues.

  • PHOTO Sugizo

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