The real story behind the surge of comedians honing their skills at the Manzai Association | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The real story behind the surge of comedians honing their skills at the Manzai Association

The Staff Saw It! Behind the Scenes of Weekly TV

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Hanawa Hanawa of “Knights” joined the Manzai Association while still a member of Maseki Entertainment. As more and more comedians follow his example, a network is forming that transcends the boundaries of the company.

Ujijiri appeared on the January 26 episode of “Comedy Power Blade” (TV Asahi) as “the comedian who made Sandwitchman jealous.

Ujijiri, who belonged to a small agency when he made his debut and still does today, has become an indispensable part of comedy shows due to the popularity of his self-deprecating stories about his hometown, Tochigi. In recent years, they have been used in “Riku Kai Ku Chikyu Saku Suru Watashi” (Telecho), where they are on location, and in bicycle racing broadcasts, where they use their knowledge of bicycle racing as a hobby.

This production company staff member points out that one of the reasons behind their success is their membership in the Manzai Association, of which Hanawa Nobuyuki (43) of Knights is the vice president.

Ujisajoshi was a finalist in the M-1 Grand Prix in 2008, and began to work more and more on short-form TV shows such as “Bakusho Red Carpet” (Fuji TV). However, in 2010, the show’s regular broadcast ended. However, in 2010, the show’s regular airing ended, and he found himself in a difficult situation.

Since Yoshimoto Kogyo has several permanent theaters, its comedians can perform on stage regularly, but many non-Yoshimoto comedians lost the opportunity to brush up their material. The discouraged “U-Jigajoshi” turned to “Knights,” who had joined the Manzai Association in 2002 and had been honing their skills at yose. Ujijiri joined the Manzai Association in 2011. This has led to their current success.

The reason why the Manzai Association becomes a receptacle for non-Yoshimoto comedians

In addition to Nishikigoi, last year’s M-1 champion, other comedians who are often categorized as “one-hit wonders,” such as Nyanko Star, Junichi Davidson (47), and Yoshio Kojima (41), have joined the association one after another. The Manzai Association is becoming a receptacle for non-Yoshimoto comedians.

Until now, “Tonnels” has actively invited non-Yoshimoto comedians to their shows to give them a chance to break out. However, they have shifted their activities to YouTube and art.

One of the possible replacements for “Tonneruzu” is Hiroyuki Ariyoshi (47), but many of his favorite comedians are Yoshimoto comedians. The “Knights” have a strong feeling that they were brought up at the Asakusa Yose, and they actively use the Manzai Association as a source of information in their variety shows, giving their comedians a chance.

The “Obon Kobon” reconciliation project on “Wednesday’s Downtown” (TBS) that aired in October last year attracted a great deal of attention, winning the “Galaxy Awards Monthly Award” given to outstanding programs.

It was very well received both inside and outside the industry as a realistic human drama. It was a project that came about when the Knights teased each other about their lack of rapport, but it was a story that came about because of the deep trust between the two duo. The good relationship between the comedians of the Manzai Association has been conveyed, and the spotlight is once again on the comedians who belong to the association.

With the rejuvenation of its comedians, the Manzai Association has begun to make new attempts.

With the younger generation of comedians, the Manzai Association has begun to try new things. “We are actively using digital tools such as live streaming of events and YouTube. The association is also working to attract a younger audience by releasing merchandise in collaboration with UNIQLO and TSUTAYA in Asakusa. Hanawa’s influence on the comedy world is also growing year by year, as he serves as a judge for the M-1 Grand Prix. More and more comedians will gain strength from Yose and make another breakthrough like Ujijiri.

Will non-Yoshimoto comedians start to strike back?

From the March 4, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • Photographed by Sota Shima

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