He was a sincere comedian as in the past. He was polite and worked hard at his job. I think that’s why he was adored by the greats like Beat Takeshi and Shimura Ken.
Saijo Noboru, a former broadcaster and professor at Edogawa University who has studied comedy, said, “I think that’s why he was loved by the big names, such as Beat Takeshi and Shimura Ken.” Saijo praised the achievements of Ryuhei Ueshima, a member of the “Ostrich Club,” who was taken to a hospital from his home in Tokyo on May 11 but was confirmed dead at the age of 61.
Mr. Saijo was a staff member of “Beat Takeshi’s Laughter Ultra Quiz” (Nippon Television Network Corporation, broadcast from January 1989 to April 1996). He had a close relationship with Mr. Ueshima, who appeared on the program. Mr. Saijo recalls the days of Mr. Ueshima.
“We often shared drinks. When he got drunk, he became very service-oriented. He used to show us a story in which he put an ashtray about 15 cm in diameter on his body and took off his clothes one by one. In the end, he was completely naked, but strangely enough, you couldn’t see his private parts. I remember laughing hysterically, but at the same time thinking, ‘That’s a pro!”
Sitting on the floor for 2 hours during the conversation
Mr. Ueshima is usually very serious. He never lost his courtesy to his seniors.
“Mr. Polemaki, who was very fond of Mr. Ueshima, once had a conversation with Toru Yuri, a comedian. In a private room of a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo, Paul invited the members of the “Ostrich Club” to join him for the discussion, saying, ‘You guys want to come along for the study, too?
I think the conversation lasted nearly two hours. Mr. Ueshima was a great guy. During the entire time, he was sitting on his haunches and listening to his seniors. He never interrupted the conversation except when Paul asked him to speak. I strongly felt his respect for the seniors.”
Mr. Saijo was also present at the birth of “I didn’t hear it,” which won the Silver Prize at the 1993 Ryuko Gougyou Taisho (Japanese Vocabulary Award).
“It was on the set of “Comedy Ultra Quiz” that “I didn’t hear it” was born. There was a project called the ‘backpack bombing quiz. If the quiz was not answered, the backpacks carried by the talent would explode.
The location for the day’s filming was the coast of Atami (in eastern Shizuoka Prefecture). Three members of the “Ostrich Club” who could not answer the quiz had to jump into the sea. Just before they jumped in, they exploded the backpack they were carrying. However, the power of gunpowder was far beyond their imagination. Member Katsuhiro Higo’s head was scorched and smoke was rising. Mr. Ueshima said, ‘I didn’t hear that!” He is making a fuss. Sorry to Mr. Ueshima, but the staff was in a great funk. Since then, the “Ostrich Club,” whose hair was on fire, has also been sparking popularity.
Mr. Ueshima had not only the fans but also the program staff laughing. Mr. Saijo regrets his untimely death.
Saijo regretted his untimely death. He was like an old-time comedian with a muddy sense of humor. It is a shame that he passed away so suddenly.