Little House In Ise

Stand-Up Comedy
November 2, 2008, 22:15
Filed under: Expat, Family, Japan | Tags: , , , , , ,

Ray and Kokoro in Action

Second Place! The kids took second place!

Under Megumi’s tutelage, Ray and Kokoro have been preparing and practicing a skit for a Shinjuku area standup comedy contest. The local government, in cooperation with Yoshimoto Kogyo (an Osaka based comedy talent company) put on today’s “Food and the Environment ” themed stand-up competition. The comedy style was Manzai (漫才) — Japanese pun-laden, slapstick, buddy comedy. Ray played the tsukomi (突っ込み : straight man) and Kokoro the boke (呆け : funny “man”).

Riffing on healthy food and the environment sounds to me like a comedian’s nightmare but Megumi helped the kids put together a bunch of topical, eco-aware jokes that were, at least to this biased papa, pretty funny. None translate well but the conflict of food cultures that make up our home made for a few giggles. The idea that we regularly combine Japanese and American foods in such forms as Pizza Shabu-Shabu* and nato** milkshakes got a few laughs. The kids in the audience liked a fart joke about hybrid cars the best… it worked for Shakespeare too***, apparently, so who am I to judge?

To start with, there were 49 teams split into four groups. Ray and Kokoro were the fourth pair in the first group so they got their performance out of the way early. From the original 49, a panel of judges picked 11 teams to go on to a final competition. We had time to eat lunch and participate in a couple of the other eco-events that were going on in the building before going to check out who had been selected for the finals. Several people came up and told us that the kids had been selected before we were even done with lunch so there was no real surprise when we went down and confirmed that they were on the list.

The teams that were selected went on to present their material in front of a larger audience. So with TV cameras and paparazzi filming away, the kids went on stage for an un-anticipated encore performance. When all 11 were done, several teams of professionals from the Yoshimoto comedy factory worked the crowd until the judges made their decision. Before the results were announced one of the comedians stuck a mic in Ray’s face and asked him how he thought he would do. With confidence and poise that I find mind boggling, he calmly said he expected to win. Kokoro wasn’t as sanguine, she predicted that they would be last. In the end, the kids came home with second prize. We went to McDonalds to celebrate showing that we had learned absolutely nothing from the events of the day.


* Shabu-shabu is sort of veggie soup fondu into which thinly sliced strips of meat is splashed about.

** Nato is fermented soybeans that are slimier than chopped okra. The taste and smell a bit cheesy. Roughly half of the Jpaanese population loves the stuff whereas the rest hate it — no-one is neutral about nato.

*** Fart jokes not hybrid car jokes.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Go Ray & Kokoro! Comedy Central next!

Comment by Ita

Good day!

Although not exactly relating to the thread please allow me, dear friend, to tell you of the newest home of British comedy on the online.

English For Dirty Foreigners is the only show on the internets that will lie to you outrightly about British language, traditions, customs and stuffs.
Oh yes, we have many stuffs.

Come for the comedy.
Stay for the hilarity.

Comment by watchEFDF

I’m hoping to either see a video or get another encore performance next time we see you. Yay Ray and Kokoro! – Olof

Comment by tomographic

Hey Olof,

I’ll see about YouTubing it and post an URL.


Comment by Eric Holcomb

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