There are a lot of new comedians who have been in the business for one or two years, and I’m amazed that they can make that kind of material,” he said. Even in the past 10 years, the overall level has risen dramatically.
Eiji Kotoge, 46, of the comedy duo “Baikingu,” is impressed by the rise of young comedians. He and his partner Mizuki Nishimura (45) won the “King of Conte 2012” and have been at the top of the comedy world ever since. This year marks 25 years since their debut, and when we asked the two members of “Baikingu” about the current state of comedy, they told us about the latest trends in the comedy industry and which comedians are hot.
Koge: “I think the trend is definitely changing. In the past, if you had a four-minute story, you could have it if you created a strong character. It was fine to have a simple, easy-to-understand laugh, which is a bad way of putting it, but in the past few years, it has become more difficult to make a character do all the work. However, in the past few years, there has been a decrease in the number of comedies that focus entirely on the characters. Nowadays, in addition to the characters, you have to have a setting and development in order to be popular. I think it is becoming impossible to get laughs with just one weapon.
Nishimura: “I think YouTube has had a big influence. There is a lot of material that can be viewed for free, so I think the level of comedy as a whole is much higher than it was a few years ago. Ten years ago, when we won the “King of Conte,” it was just before YouTube became a citizen’s right. So I really feel the importance of its presence.
Koge: “Oh, that’s true. In our time, we used to rent DVDs. We rented DVDs of Downtown’s manzai and studied them back then.
Nishimura “Now we can study without spending money. It’s an amazing time we live in.
Koge also began serving as a judge for the “King of Conte” last year. Having been on both sides of the panel, Koge gave us a list of comedians he feels are important to watch.
KOTOGE: “KUKI KAIDAN is great. Suzuki Mole (35) is a massive character, but he doesn’t stop there; he also develops his material and uses the stage setting well. The “Fire” piece they did in the finals of last year’s King of Conte was a perfect example of this.
I am also paying attention to “Geraldine. They have been uploading their material on YouTube, and it has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on ……. What a bunch of guys!
Nishimura: “As expected, you are watching very carefully. I haven’t been able to check it at all recently, especially since I had a baby last year. Especially after the birth of my child last year. I go to bed early at night and get up early in the morning, so I haven’t been able to watch any of the shows.
Koge: “Why not? You can watch them if you record them. You should watch some of the other duo’s material! (laughter)”
There are other duos who are not comedians, but they are also noteworthy. Kotoge praises the manzai duo “Daitaku,” consisting of older brother Dai Yoshimoto (37) and younger brother Taku (37), saying, “We have discovered a new pattern in twin material.
Koge: “Normally, twins tend to focus on what they have in common with each other and end up doing twinny material, but not with ‘Dai Taku.
Nishimura: “I have seen them tease their father.
Kotoge: “I thought it was a new pattern. He teases his family members about their quirks and strange habits, without making it into a certain kind of story. And then the younger brother tries to stop him by saying, ‘The twin character is getting a little hazy, isn’t it! and my brother tries to stop him. I thought it was a great way to use the twins as a punching bag instead of a joke. I’d like to see other patterns.”
The duo, who were busy preparing for their upcoming solo show “Cabaret” on August 26-27, talked for an hour about “what’s happening in the world of comedy” in the midst of the “King of Conte” in October and the “M-1 Grand Prix” in December. With the “King of Comedy” coming up in October and the “M-1 Grand Prix” in December, what kind of heroes will be born this year? We can’t wait to see what the awards race has in store for us.
Eiji Kotoge Twitter: https://twitter.com/viking_kotouge
Mizuki Nishimura Twitter: https://twitter.com/vikingnishimura
Photo： Takero Yuzushi