Baikingu” Kotoge and Nishimura talk about the “Crisis of TV Variety
Special Interview: 25 years since debut and 10 years since winning the King of Conte "What compliance!
We were on the verge of breaking up many times,” he said. It wasn’t so much a big fight, but rather a mutual feeling of, ‘We’re not going to make it …….’ We weren’t angry or anything like that anymore. We were no longer angry or anything like that.
The two members of “Baikingu” look back on the time when they were still unknown. This year marks 10 years since they won the “King of Conte 2012,” the event that gave them their breakthrough. It has been 25 years since their debut. Eiji Kotoge (46) and Mizuki Nishimura (45), who had worked together for many years, once again shared their impressions of each other.
Nishimura : “ Koge has become more rounded than in the past. When the group was formed, he was tense and it was a daily occurrence for him to be criticized. When we were in a bad mood, he would give me a sermon in the dark after we had finished our material at a live house. (Laughs.) A wall-donning sermon in the dark. That kind of situation doesn’t happen very often.
Koge: “ Did that ever happen? I think Nishimura probably did something wrong. I think he might have had a penis, even though it had nothing to do with the story (laughs). I think Nishimura has recently relaxed his shoulders in a good way. When I first started appearing on TV, I was trying too hard in a strange way and doing things that I didn’t have to do. But now I have found a character like a camp comedian, and I feel that I have found the answer to the question, “Is it okay to be like this?
Nishimura: “ It took a while, but in May, Koge was a guest on the 100th anniversary of my regular program “Nishimura Campsite” (TV Shin Hiroshima). I thought he was relaxed and trusting.
Koge: “ He simply couldn’t do without drinking (laughs).
Nishimura: “ What? Really? You weren’t just being emotional ……”.
Although they are now both active as pins, after winning the “King of Conte,” Koge’s work increased, and there were whispers of a “gap” between the duo. However, there was a time when there were whispers of a “gap” between the duo, but strangely enough, no cracks appeared.
Nishimura: “ There was no jealousy. In the first place, I thought it was a waste to stick to the duo’s work. In fact, I recorded all the programs Koge was in and watched them thinking, “This guy is really funny! I watched all the shows he was on and thought, “This guy is really funny! Before we won the King of Conte, we were in danger of breaking up, but after we started appearing on TV, I don’t think we had many fights.
Koge: “ After we won the competition, I didn’t have time to worry about this guy. I had no time to even think about Nishimura because I had to do it every day. I didn’t think about how to work together at all.
Complaints about the “heavy emphasis on compliance
Currently, the duo boasts a total of 12 regular appearances on TV and radio. However, the bizarre attention given to variety shows in recent years makes him want to lament, “What a compliance problem! Nishimura says, “Regulations on material are not the same as regulations on material.
Nishimura: “ I have the feeling that the restrictions on material have become tighter. Last year, many of the material we did at our solo live performances were hard-hitting, but when we proposed to do material from our solo live performances on TV, most of them were rejected.
Koge: “We have a story called ‘My daughter comes back as a rice casserole,’ which won the King of Conte, but it seems they can’t show that on TV anymore. Every year, the “King of Conte” program shows the past winners’ stories in advance, but we have a different story to be aired.
Even in variety shows, for example, the word “bald” is questionable. But skinhead is not funny. It is true that bald and skinhead refer to the same thing, but bald is more interesting for comedy. If someone called me a bald man, I would think that I was losing my baldness. I didn’t want to be bald, but I was happy with it because it was funny.
Nishimura: “ I think the comedian himself is losing money. Originally, only comedians were allowed to make such comments. It is very difficult for them to do so when they have to wrap even that in a mask.
Koge: “ Compliance is getting stricter and stricter, and in the end you are strangling yourself. I wonder what the people at the station will do if no one watches TV anymore. They are making their own workplaces difficult to live in. I really think they are out of their minds! I really think they are out of their minds!
The two members, now free from such a restrictive compliance policy, can be seen at their solo live performances. This year, too, they will hold their annual solo live “Cabaret” for two days starting next month on August 26. Ten years have passed since their breakthrough, and they talk about their attitude toward comedy in unadorned words.
Koge: “ To be honest, I feel like ‘I guess I have to do live shows. I also make material for TV at every solo live show, so if I don’t do this, I can’t make new material. It’s almost like a sense of obligation. But after all, the only fans of ours who come to our live shows are bald men.
Nishimura: “ Usually it’s the other way around, but when we perform alone, the women’s restroom is empty and the men’s restroom is lined up (laughs).
Koge “ Not even a cheer goes up when we first come out on stage. There is nothing (laugh). Everyone just stood silently with their arms crossed and looked at us with eyes that said, “How are you going to make us laugh? They looked at us with eyes like, “How are you going to make us laugh? They probably really think that people who don’t like us come to our shows.
When I asked them about their future activities, they responded honestly, “I don’t know what I want to do.
Koge: “ I don’t have anything in particular that I want to do. If I can make a living doing comedy, that’s all I want to do. That will never change. I’m fine with that kind of life.
Nishimura: “ The hardest job I ever had in my life as a comedian was “Land, Sea, and Air: Conquer the Earth” (TV Asahi) with Kotoge as the MC. The plan was to upload photos on Instagram and receive travel expenses based on the number of “likes”. But the fact that Koge was watching us in the air-conditioned studio while laughing and giggling left a lasting impression on me. I would like to do one more grueling location shoot while I am still physically able to do it, and make Kotoge laugh.
The breakup crisis, wall-don sermons, compliance issues, etc., “What a quarter of a century! The two have overcome a quarter of a century together, and their journey will continue.
From the July 29 and August 5, 2022 issues of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Takero Shigumura, Sony Music Artists (2nd photo)