KUKI KAIDAN and MIZUKAWA Katamari Reveal How To Make a Winning Comedy Skit | FRIDAY DIGITAL

KUKI KAIDAN and MIZUKAWA Katamari Reveal How To Make a Winning Comedy Skit

Exclusive interview with the King of Conte (KOC) champion: The size of one hit is more important than the number of times it is popular, and he changes his words while keeping an eye on the audience. ......

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Mizukawa’s calm and slightly shy personality has not changed at all since he became a successful comedian, and he is a beloved character among his fellow comedians.

“I don’t have time off at all,” he says. Since I won the “King of Conte” (KOC), I’ve only had three days off. It was the birthday of [his partner Suzuki] Mogura, the birthday of Mogura’s second son, and the day of Mogura’s family vacation. It’s always been a strange feeling. I’m on TV and stuff all the time with no sense of reality.

Katamari Mizukawa, 32, of the comedian KUKI KAIDAN, is leading a hectic but fulfilling life. Last October, he scored the highest ever in his first KOC final, “Fire,” and was crowned champion after 10 years of performing, but the road to that point has been a tumultuous one. In ’15, he won the title with his first KOC final, “Fire”.

In 2015, KUKI KAIDAN made it to the semifinals of the KOC after only four years in the business. This is an exceptional accomplishment, as it is said that new comedians dream of reaching the quarterfinals after only five years in the business. What was behind their breakthrough? This is the time of year when the awards season begins in earnest. The champion revealed his “behind-the-scenes” story.

I changed the way I make a story. Until then, I used to think of the “setting (situation)” first. I used to make my comedy by adding funny lines, exchanges, and blurbs based on the story setting.

But around the middle of my third year, I started thinking, “Let’s delve deeper into the characters. I began to think, “This is the setting of the story, so this character must appear, and if this character appears, this line must appear,” and that’s when the way the audience reacted in the theater changed. I started to get the feeling that I was getting the core of the story, and it worked at the KOC, too.

The following year, in 2004, when he seemed to have grasped the knack of winning the awards race, he was eliminated in the second round.

I thought that by making it to the semifinals, I had entered a state where I could be popular no matter what I did,” he said. I slipped and fell very badly. It wasn’t that I was relaxed. I think I was proud in the way I chose the material.

The story at that time was that Moxa didn’t speak a single word, and there was no “tskkomi” or “bokeh”. I chose a rather tricky story. I thought, ‘I could have won even if I did that kind of material.

Mizukawa learned that if he did not get a good laugh, he could not move forward.

In 2018, in the semifinals, the first time in three years that he had advanced to the finals, KUKI KAIDAN created a roar of laughter in the audience with his two stories, “Uncle Train” and “Closet.”

‘We definitely made it to the finals!’ I thought. The audience loved it. But I didn’t make it. That was the only time I wasn’t satisfied with my performance in a story battle or an award show.

That night, Mizukawa drank alcohol he could not handle, got drunk, and lost his true identity. His then girlfriend saw him and broke up with him.

He said, “When your personal life is bad, you don’t have the motivation to do anything. I stopped writing stories, and I was in no condition to even think about comedy.”

Mizukawa was in shambles, but her “mysterious elimination from the semifinals” had caught the attention of comedy fans.

Mizukawa was in shambles, but the attention of comedy fans had been heightened by the mysterious semifinal loss. I thought, ‘We are being watched. Even when we did the same material, the audience’s reaction was completely different.

I wanted to see KUKI KAIDAN on stage at the finals. The enthusiasm of the fans continued for a whole year until the following year.

The following year, KUKI KAIDAN made it to the finals for the first time and placed 9th. In 2020, they came in third. They were already close to winning the championship.

Last year, Mizukawa changed the names of the characters in the first “Fire” from “Tsujimura” and “Kagomura” in the semi-finals to “Yamasaki” and “Sakiyama.

“Until then, the names were taken from Maude. But you are not familiar with it, right? In the finals, we simply changed the names to “teleco” (different from each other). The audience for the semifinals and the finals is a little different. The semifinalists are the core fans of comedy. They will accept even the most pompous or twisted language. The audience for the finals is the light comedy fans who were selected by lottery. I thought it would be easier for them to understand if I used softer phrases or words that were easier to understand.”

Despite achieving the highest score in the history of the competition, Mizukawa had some concerns.

The second piece was “Megaton Punch Man,” in which a mole rides a Segway for a long time. I thought it would be the end if he fell off the Segway. “Fire” is a very moving piece, and it drains a lot of energy from the mogura. In fact, the day we performed both of them at the same time, the performance was not so good. Before the second performance, Mogura said, “I might drop out in the middle of the show. He even said that he would rather take the safe measure of getting off on his own in the middle of the run than to fail and fall off.

Perhaps it was the power of the fire, but MOGURA kept on riding the Segway, and KUKI KAIDAN achieved its long-held goal.

In the end, what kind of comedy is it that wins in the awards race?

There is a difference between good comedy and comedy that can win in an award show. A good conte doesn’t have to be a laugh-out-loud funny one, but when it comes to the awards, the winner is the one who makes the audience laugh the loudest. The most important thing is the amount of laughter.

Does the amount of laughter mean the number of times a person laughs? Or is it one big laugh?

I think it is more about the size of the laugh (rather than the number). The composition is also important. If a big laugh comes first and is followed by a series of small laughs, that’s also a thing. You should aim for a steady rise, or rather, you should make something that is interesting until the very end.

By the way, is Mizukawa not suffering from burnout?

No, not at all. I have been feeling the pain of the awards race at times. Actually, I had decided that last year would be my last KOC. I feel super refreshed. I really feel super refreshed now. It was like, ‘The fight is over.’

Mizukawa says his goal is to continue to do solo live shows every year from now on. He will probably continue to write interesting material in the future.

He talked for 120 minutes about comedy and the future!
Click here to read the FRIDAYGOLD special interview with Katamari Mizukawa!

From the August 19 and 26, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text Ikeruka Kozeki PHOTO Junichi Higashiyama

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