KAGAYA, a contortionist, reveals “the stimulation created by interaction with comedians from other agencies | FRIDAY DIGITAL

KAGAYA, a contortionist, reveals “the stimulation created by interaction with comedians from other agencies

2022 Road to M-1 and KOC: "KAGAYA" [Part 2

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Not only popular programs such as “Ariyoshi’s Wall” (NTV) and “Chidori no kuse ga sugoi neta GP” (Fuji TV), but also their own show “Kagayake! Miracle Boys” (TV Kanagawa), and they are riding high on the momentum of their new show, “Kagayake! They are popular in variety shows as well, but their true strength lies in their stories and stage performances.

In May, June, and May, May, and May, they will be performing in the same theater. In May and June, they held their first solo live performance in three years, “Setonaikai no Karogaiya,” and it was a great success. What kind of laughter are they pursuing when they appear at various other theaters? We will look into the reality of the duo, which cannot be seen from the outside, including unexpected episodes from their solo live performances, the merits of appearing at Yoshimoto Kogyo theaters, what they felt from the different reactions to their Osaka performance, and the kind of laughter they would like to try in the future.

Sho Kaga (left) and Soya Kaya (right) of “Kaga-ya” (photo by Sugizo), who started their own TV show this year and are going strong.

If I don’t send out the message, no one will know how great Kaga is.

–When I saw his solo live performance “Karogaiya of the Seto Inland Sea” in May, I thought that there is no other comedian who can make people laugh with such subtlety. I have a strong image of you not escaping into ad-libbed laughter, but how do you really do it?

Kaga: Wow, what do you think of this, Mr. Kaya?

Kaya: If you put it that way, I’m in the camp of doing things I don’t want.

Kaga: I improvise to death.

Kaya: I improvise a lot in my solo live performances. I mean, I don’t know how much I can say at …….

Kaga: Actually, there are more than half of the things I say only on the day of the show (laughs).

–so much! Is that the idea that it is allowed because it is in the natural flow of each situation?

Kaga: Yes, that’s right. I’m serious, so I don’t go beyond that category. But if I could come back, I would go as far away as I could. But the only person who would appreciate that is Gaya.

–I think that’s the part that the audience doesn’t get. He is too stoic. …… I also have the image that even if you do go off on a tangent, you don’t make people laugh at completely unrelated points.

Gaya: Yes, that’s right. We improvise a lot, but it doesn’t have a big impact on the material. Even if I skip a line or something, Kaga-kun can ad-lib and show it as “that kind of thing. So I don’t think the audience can see that “that was a great ad-lib”. Therefore, if I don’t communicate, no one will know how great Kaga-kun is. I feel a little sorry for him (laughs). That’s why I have to tell them.

Kaga: There are a few moments when Kaya skips a line or doesn’t come out with a line, and at those moments I really try my best (laughs). (laughs) But no one understands. I’m trying my best while thinking, “Huh! I’m doing my best.

Gaya: There are times when I don’t get it either. I don’t realize it until after the show is over and someone says, “You skipped a part. Kaga-kun’s ability to adapt is amazing, and during the performance, the audience and I don’t know what part of the material he changed. Kaga-kun really helps me in this area.

The merit of performing at Yoshimoto’s theater is “to see the difference in culture.

–While you have held solo live performances, you have also consistently appeared at Yoshimoto Kogyo theaters despite belonging to the Maseki Entertainment Company. When we interviewed GAG Shuntaro Fukui previously, he said, “From a generation around ours, this is impossible.

GAG: Now I get to perform at Yoshimoto’s theater as usual. I am also really indebted to MUGENDAI HALL.

Kaya: Both at Mugendai Hall and the Dome. I’ve been invited to perform at Yoshimoto’s theater more often than any of Yoshimoto’s young actors. I am really grateful that I am invited so much. I think it’s probably because the older members have loosened the boundaries of the office, making it easier for the younger members to perform. I feel like I am invited to perform by my seniors who have actually been involved in such activities.

Kaya:There was the COVID-19 crisis, and I think the flow of things has changed for various reasons.

Kaga:In our case, at the beginning, we were invited by Nightingale Dance and others. Also, Yasashizu-san and KUKI KAIDAN-san did the same.

–What do you feel are the advantages of performing at Yoshimoto’s theater?

Kaga: I think it’s being able to see the cultural differences. You can see a lot of things that are typical of Yoshimoto, such as the usual flow of the show, the usual material of each duo, and things like that, like “I can prepare here too.

Gaya: Especially in the corners where all the performers participate. It is a routine corner every time, so it is as if everyone has already done it. So we think of new parts that have not been done yet, and somehow create new parts by ourselves. That kind of work is not done at other companies’ gigs.

The way they approach corners and projects, as well as group performances, were all things that I found quite intimidating at first, especially the way those who had done it many times before behaved. As I was allowed to work with them, I saw firsthand how they would say these things at the right time, and how they would get back together. I was really influenced by that.

Kaga: Also, the props are amazing. They are not half as good as they used to be. We were trying to create an atmosphere with simple costumes because we didn’t have enough money. But when we went to Yoshimoto’s theater, there were cash registers, beds, and sofas. Because we can create a situation with a single blow, there are moments when I think, “Of course, this kind of material can nurture talented children,” and on the other hand, I also recognize our strengths, saying, “We were able to do some things because we are poor.

Another thing is that I am now getting much closer to the front at ordinary live performances. Recently, when I look around, there are more and more times when I am the senior performer. When that happens, I go ahead and get in front regardless of what the other comedians think of me. I am sure that the first-time performers are more difficult to work with than we are. So, in order to create an atmosphere that makes it easier for them to perform, I have come to think that I should be the one to lead.

I’m not satisfied with the level of material I can see the difference between East and West.

–In January of this year, I held a two-man show “Akina x Kagaya in Gion” with Akina at Yoshimoto Gion Kagetsu (Kyoto Prefecture) . It seems like you have been getting more and more involved with contortionists in the Kansai region in recent years.

Kaga:It really is a bit trendy, isn’t it? I think people have started to say, “Hey, you’re surprisingly close to Tokyo.”

Kaya:There was also the “Akina x Kamomentaru in Gion” in May of this year, wasn’t there? What’s going on?

Kaga:I think that Yoshimoto-san’s barriers have thinned a bit. I really appreciate the fact that they are not afraid to invite us. Maseki (entertainment company) is also very tolerant. I have never had anyone say, “No, you can’t.” It has become very gentle and peaceful. They have become very kind and peaceful.

Gaya: I have hardly felt any hurdles from the office. I am very happy about that.

–By the way, you just finished your solo live concert in Osaka in June. Did you notice any difference in the reaction to the Tokyo concert?

Kaga: The last day was still good, but to be honest, there was not much of a reaction on the first day. I thought it was really going according to our ability. I knew that those who were strong would lose the difference. No matter what the situation is, they always get a certain amount of laughs.

In that sense, I felt that I was still at the stage where I simply did not have enough ability. I can always see rubber girls laughing uproariously whenever and wherever I see them.

Gaya:When I was invited to Osaka as a guest, I was greeted with applause. But this time, we were asked to “come to our solo show,” so we and the audience must have been in a slightly different frame of mind. I think we were a little tense, and they were a little tense, too.

The difference between Osaka and Tokyo is not so obvious, but it has always been there culturally. When there is a sense of tension, I wonder if that is what tends to work. Whether this is actually the case or not, I have the feeling that in places where there is a sense of tension, such as in award shows, the differences may account for some of the atmosphere.

Kaga:There are differences between Tokyo and Osaka, of course. But if they are so interesting that they outweigh the differences, it doesn’t matter. I am not satisfied with a story that simply shows the difference between Tokyo and Osaka (laughs).

Kaya: You are absolutely right (laughs).

Kaya: Of course, there is the strength of the character, but I also see Robert-san being popular to death in Osaka. Conversely, Longcoat Daddy in the Kansai region does very atmospheric material. I trust Longcoat Daddy’s audience, and I don’t think we won’t be popular in Osaka.

If we are not popular, I think there are things we can do differently to improve. However, I think the problem of name recognition is a big one. It is a bit difficult to perform a comedy act by someone you don’t know at all. Comedy lovers in Osaka are definitely more discerning, so I think there is a hurdle to overcome. I think there is a hurdle in itself.

Laughter cultivated by a maverick father

–I read your novel “O-Ango” (Kodansha), and I thought that your father, who was a maverick, must have had a great influence on your laughter.

Kaga:I think it’s a big part of it. The second half was fun, but when I was little it was usually dangerous if I didn’t watch carefully (laughs). I didn’t know what would happen at any time, so I lived in a very tense atmosphere all the time. By the way, the part in the novel where your father blocked my LINE is a real story.

–I thought that part was terrible, but I laughed at it.

Kaga: Thank you very much. I’m really glad that you think so. I thought that if I gave it a happy ending, my mother would be sad. She would be like, “My child is changing the past! (laughs).

–(laughs). – So that was a consideration, too (laughs). How did you feel when you read the book?

Gaya: I was pissed off the whole time I was reading it, but I really laughed out loud when I heard the father’s “fuck you”. I thought, “Wow, that’s amazing. I had the experience of laughing out loud when I read something written by my partner.

And as I read it, I didn’t even think about the fact that Kaga had written it. It’s like when you watch a movie and the boundary between the movie and reality disappears, or like when you are reading a book written by a novelist. If someone like me had written it, I don’t think it would have happened.

Gaya: I would never have been able to write it now. I would have thought, “This is not good enough. It has to be more interesting,” and I would never have finished it. I am glad that I was able to say, “Well, that’s OK. I think that was a big part of writing it after taking a break for a while.

How to stand out” is more important than how good your comic and conte performances are.

–Do you consciously avoid using power words or things that have a strong impact?

Kaya:We have not decided not to do so.

Kaya: We are not sharp at all. It’s not that we are not sharp, it’s more that we give top priority to popularity.

Kaya: Really, I’m serious. It’s like we always ask ourselves, “What can we do that will make people laugh the most? We always ask ourselves, “What can we do that will make people laugh the most?

Kaga: However, I think our cards tend to look a little surrealistic. It’s just an impression, you know. If you look at the contents, the taste is perfectly obvious, but it gives that impression.

–I guess it’s the way the material is cut up that makes it look surreal.

Kaga:That is simply because we want people to laugh. If we don’t do something even slightly unusual to attract the audience’s interest, they won’t see it through to the end. That may be due in part to the fact that we entered the office through an audition. To get people to watch until the end of the audition, it is more important how you stand out than how good you are at manzai or comedy.

Gaya: It’s a two-minute audition, and if it’s not good enough, the audition is forced to end after about one minute. Basically, the audition ended after two minutes, but if the performance was good, we were allowed to continue until the end, even if we had exceeded the time limit. So, I guess we do things that stand out in order to get people to see the story through to the end.

Kaga:Until now, I have simply said, “I like this atmosphere,” and I have never thought about the words as the center of my work. So I have a desire to do something like that someday.

Part 1: “Contortionist Kaga talks about his road to winning the KOC championship: “Give me 3 more years! is here.

  • 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. http://s-akira.jp/

  • Photography Sugizo

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