Japanese Comedy

Comedy in Japan is a wholly different thing than its Western counterpart. The popular tradition of stand up of Western is missing from the Japanese islands. Instead, there is manzai , batsu games and variety shows.

Manzai is a two man comedy act: two comedians trying to outdo each other’s jokes, usually at great speed. Manzai is most commonly associated with Osaka, and more specifically, to its Comedy museum.

Batsu comedy is a type of punishment game: for example, a comedian might have to endure some time without laughing. Failure to do this, will result in a type of punishment; spanking, a pie to the face, a kick in the groin, etc, for the audience’s amusement of course.

Variety shows combine both, but also include skits, that if popular, become weekly regulars. Some famous skits have been Go Renjaa from Gaki no Tsukai and Teburaashika in Pikari no Teiri.

Personally, I find Gaki no Tsukai’s batsu skits and Pikari no Teiri’s comedy shows highly amusing. But I still miss the stand up of comedians like John Leguizamo, Dave Chappelle and Kevin Hart.


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