Japanese Comedians

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Japanese Comedians

Post by CaptainTalon449 »

So I feel without Izu's explanations on Aruto's jokes I wouldn't understand any of his jokes in the first place. Since so much of Zero One is based in Japanese humor gotta ask what exactly is so different about being a Japanese comedian compared to the comedians here in the US
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Lunagel »

Japanese humor is fairly typical of most other cultures, you get your situational humor, awkward humor, memes, etc. Sarcasm and dark humor aren't very well appreciated though, nor is dry humor. Most Japanese I've introduced Monty Python to don't get it.

Now Japanese comedians on the other hand, that's a whole other scene. Pretty much every comedian has to get their start through the comedy circuit, starting with local comedy shows and working their way up. It's not an exaggeration when I say that the whole comedy world is heavily influenced by Laurel & Hardy. The vast majority of comedians are some sort of pair (or trio) where one is the straight man and the other is the idiot. Stand-up where one comedian just talks for an hour or so is pretty much unknown.

There are several different types of comedians so I'll try and do a quick rundown of the most common:

The 15 minute wonder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrrPWS86M-Q Nyanko Star was hot shit last year but they basically had only one gag which they used over and over again. You can pretty much figure out what's going on even without subs for this one.

The naked dude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3m2auoAmsA Akira 100% is probably the most well-known of the lot but there are quite a few of them. You can get some variation on the jokes with this but have to be *extremely* careful because one time he messed up on live tv and you could see everything.

The classic manzai: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yho7j3wwLd4 Nights is your old-school comedy duo. They get in front of a mike, they talk, the audience laughs.

The schtick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n1YbeFE4oE Hirano Nora is probably one of my favorites. Her thing is that she acts like a 90s teenage girl and she always carries around one of those brick cell phones.

The screamer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_mxDLOTj_M Sunshine Ikezaki basically screams everything at you. It can occasionally be funny but most of the time it's very ear-piercing.

The musician: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyjD-Nuynac Doburock is probably the best at this, good timing and funny lines


Out of all of them, Aruto is probably closest to the classic/the screamer. He's trying for puns and traditional jokes, mixed with his own personal catchphrase, and then he just screams them at you. Episode 1's Humagear comedian was a variation of the naked dude (which can be pretty boring if the whole gag is "lol he's naked!").

Obviously your mileage may vary as to how funny you personally find Japanese comedians. I tend to enjoy about half of them but I think traditional manzai can be dull if it's not shaken up somehow. Aruto's not supposed to be funny, which I suppose saves them from having to actually write humor.
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Catastrophe »

So they don't have anything that is similar to stand up?
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Lunagel »

Not really. Closest would possibly be traditional rakugo, since they tend to tell very long comedic stories, but it's pretty stylized.

Most comedians tend to do long shows with multiple acts, so no one person/group ever gets more than 10 minutes.

It's one of the things I dislike about Japan. The comedy scene is so stagnant and unchanging. Even the famous comedians are fairly interchangeable. Amy Poehler couldn't do Jim Carrey's material, but Downtown could definitely do Ucchan Nanchan's.

I think that's the reason why most comedians in Japan actually quit the comedy circuit and just do variety shows, it tends to offer more opportunity to work on new material.
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Catastrophe »

Thanks for the culture lesson. I'm now in a Japanese comedy deep dive.
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Kuchiri »

It's also probably why you don't see that many comedians from other countries make any sort of splash over there unless they fit the same comedy. Like Jack Black was on one of the Japanese comedy shows doing some body humor.
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Dengar »

Do you also happen to have any idea what's funny about a naked guy exploding his abs?
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by takenoko »

The joke is that his name is like "Gut Busting" laughter. Apparently Japanese people will write "Gut buster" on Internet stuff if they find it funny. It's just something I didn't notice until after the first episode was released.
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by ViRGE »

takenoko wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:04 am
The joke is that his name is like "Gut Busting" laughter. Apparently Japanese people will write "Gut buster" on Internet stuff if they find it funny. It's just something I didn't notice until after the first episode was released.
Ah, that makes sense. Thanks!
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Catastrophe »

I love it. I'm going to use it from now on.
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Lunagel »

Kuchiri wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:49 pm
It's also probably why you don't see that many comedians from other countries make any sort of splash over there unless they fit the same comedy. Like Jack Black was on one of the Japanese comedy shows doing some body humor.
The culture/language barrier is especially prohibitive with comedy. It's hard to make a pun work in another language and carry the same nuance. Body humor is easy and understandable no matter the age/language/culture. That's why Mr. Bean is so well-known internationally but Blackadder, with its very British humor, hasn't spread all that far.

Personal experience, I was trying to show Blazing Saddles to a Japanese speaker and had to turn it off about 10 minutes in because it was translated so damn literally and he just couldn't understand what was so funny about it. Deadpool also didn't do nearly as well in Japan because the American humor was hard to convey sometimes. Marvel's so popular those movies always get brought over, but you really lose something when turning "Cap-sicle" to "You were frozen" (not really any other way to translate it honestly though)

Why Cap's line in the beginning of Civil War was "Language!" and yet it meant "don't use bad words" was particularly interesting to explain
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by takenoko »

Was the "Language" line translated literally, or were you watching it in English and explaining it in Japanese?
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Lunagel »

Watching in English with JP subtitles, so it was translated in subs as "don't use bad words" or something similar (can't remember exactly) but he could clearly hear the English "language!" so he asked me about it later
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by Dengar »

Wordplay often relies on idiom. Idiom can be different even among different cultures that share a language. It's fascinating, really.
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Re: Japanese Comedians

Post by NightdyneMesa »

I guess it's the different cultural thing that makes me not understand some of the jokes that they do. I guess from a Japanese perspective what Aruto could be doing is considered to be comedic gold but to an outsider such as myself, I couldn't figure it out as soon as the joke is pulled off. Thanks for the links though, had no idea they had more types over there.
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