A complete guide to Japanese comedy

To fully appreciate, understand and become a Japanese comedian there are a few simple steps you must follow.

Step 1: Choose a partner and assign roles
Though not exclusively so, Japanese comedy works best as a duo. Find someone equally broke and desperate for fame as you and pair up. One of you needs to be the straight man, the other needs to be the straight man who occasionally hits the other straight man. A roll of the dice or a game of rock, paper, scissors is good enough a method as any to decide on this.

Step 2: Choose a prop
You can’t have good comedy without a prop. One will be enough. It doesn’t really matter what the prop is, as it won’t be the source of the comedy but merely an item you will hopefully be identified with. It can be any household item, any form of female clothing (women should read the upcoming “guide to becoming a talento” and steer clear of comedy), any kind of homosexual leather gear, etc.

Step 3: Choose a name
This part is easy. Check your driver’s licenses. The entry under “name” can be the name of your act. Or, if you’re avant-garde you could choose to be identified with the name of the prop you chose.

Step 4 Choose a punch line
This is actually a two part process. First you need a line; this can be anything and shouldn’t really refer to anything else. Choose something like “Fol-de-rol and a hey nonny nonny”, “Eisenhower was my uncle” or “Tuesday is pick-up day!” Memorise this line because you will need to repeat it often.
Secondly you need to invent a silly dance step. Just wave your arms about and make a few steps left and right, but make sure it ends in a pose, which you can hold as the audience is wiping away their tears of laughter.

Step 5: The act
Get invited to a television studio, like for example a new comedians’ debutant show. Start the act by saying something apt relating to a current event or, preferably, some talent present in the studio. This could be something like “Look, Presenter-san is wearing glasses; glasses and a blue suit!” or “Today ex-prime minister Koizumi-san visited the dentist!” or better yet “I don’t like Ramen!”
Follow this up immediately with your punch-line and silly dance, remembering to end in a pose. Bask in the howls and shrieks of laughter from the audience and presenters.

Step 6: Fingers crossed
Pray to your God that people will pick up on the punch-line! Try to get invited to as many panel-shows as possible. Make sure you are dirt cheap so you can be hired to sit in when more important guests drop out in favour of competing in quiz shows, and important task which can’t be left to members of the public..

Step 7: Build a career
If you are lucky enough people will be quoting your catch phrase. At this point you will be invited to do commercials, television shows, PR events and supermarket openings as long as you use your special dance and punch-line at every opportune moment.

Step 8: Enjoy your retirement
After three months of glory and fame the public is ready for the next big thing. You can now enjoy an easy retirement as a judge on shows for other debutant comedians or a guest on panel-shows about restaurants. If you’re lucky you may even be sent out to taste food in restaurants for other panel-show members to watch and get excited by.

Congratulations! You now have all he knowledge you need to become a successful Japanese comedian!


  1. The course was both long and intensive but I now feel fully qualified to go on to be the next big fad!

    Cunning use of the image flip/shiloette on image 5 btw ;)

  2. Hehe, I know how to cut corners. This is also a reason why I am not posting larger images, as some people have requested; it means I'll have to spend more time making them look presentable. :)

  3. nah, you don't need larger images. What you have are awesome and fit the column width of your blog perfectly.

    I'm sure there must be SOME good stuff on Japanese TV, but your post pretty much mentioned all the reasons I steer clear of it (not that UK TV is perfect or anything, but...)


  4. Oh man. That is genius - EXACTLY what Japanese TV is like. Why do they have those panel shows where they just watch someone eat at a restaurant? Sooo weird.

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