It took years before I could actually understand (and LOVE) the humor of Downtown. This was the last New Year’s Eve special I watched before leaving the country. My wife and I watched the entire thing. And got it. For the first time in my life, I got it. Happy New Year!
The premise is classic: a group of extremely funny Japanese comedians must endure a night in a hotel without laughing. If they laugh, they are caned hard on their behinds by gimps. However, their whole night is rigged with scenarios designed to make them laugh. I honestly don’t think they know what is coming and that makes these yearly specials all the more entertaining. It’s a witty, violent and hilarious good time.
Though my fiction has many violent elements, I like to laugh. I love comedy. Even some (or most) of the violence in my books is framed in a surreal or comedic way, especially many of the scenes in Domo ArigaDIE!!! So, if I pick my own brain for Japanese comedic influences that may have seeped their way into the book, this Downtown special, “Gaki No Tsukai: No Laughing” must be there. The memory of watching and enjoying it is so strong in my mind. Now, if only I could get my Japanese language skills back up to where they need to be…
If you haven’t seen these guys before and you’re in the mood for a long dose of Japanese popular humor, then enjoy. And laugh. And laugh. And laugh.