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Documental. Amazon Prime Video.


JPickford
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Stumbled on this the other day.   It's a Japanese 'reality' show where ten (presumably) famous Japanese comedians each pay 1million Yen to be locked together in a room for 6 hours.   If they laugh they are given yellow, orange then red cards and eliminated.  They are allowed to bring props and costumes.  The last man standing gets the 10million prize.    A million Yen is about $10k US I think.

What makes this fascinating is how weird Japanese comedy is.   It mostly seems to involve either hitting each other or getting naked.  Or both.  

 

There are 2 'seasons' up.   Both split the six hours across 4 or 5 episodes.  The second season gets a lot more extreme with the nudity and violence. The climax of the second season is really vicious.

 

If you're the sort of person who holds their breath when watching people swim underwater in movies then this has a similar effect if you try not to laugh.

 

I liked that these celebs were actually trying to win some money instead of the usual charity donation.  Some of them had to scrape the entrance fee together or even borrow from friends or a bank.  They *really* want to win the money and they can't afford to lose the entrance free.

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It's sort of a development of a show that Matsumoto (the blond crew cut giggling guy) makes every year called waratte wa ikenai, in which a group of comedians are not allowed to laugh for 24 hours. That show is the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life, even though it has become a bit formulaic lately.

 

Documental isn't as good but it still has its moments.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I stumbled across a 4 hour long thing called Batsu that had a group of Japanese people who were not allowed to laugh.  If they did, people ran in the room and beat them on the arse with paddles.  There was some really funny stuff in there and I laughed a lot, but afterwards I just felt dirty.

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I'm just starting the second season of this. I'm fascinated by it.

 

I love comedy, I think it's such a vital force. And this is such a weird insight into another cultures comedy.

 

It's not funny. These famous comedians are literally just prop comics. Putting funny hats on etc. It's children's comedy, but naked and vicious. It's gets totally racist at the end of season 1 too.

 

It's impossible not to watch.

 

And if some Channel 4 exec isn't stealing the idea right this second, they are clueless.

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3 hours ago, LaveDisco said:

It's not funny.

 

I think this is wrong. It's not as funny as some of Matsumoto's other stuff, but it totally is funny. The individual gags that the comedians make might not be funny if you strip away the context. But the context is that these guys are trying to make each other laugh. It's completely meta. Like, nobody wants to laugh. If you come out with a straight gag or something that everyone is expecting it is pretty easy for them to control themselves. It's the unexpected and the stupid that are likely to catch people off guard.

 

And for the viewer there is additional context which is that these guys are really famous; the shock of seeing a regular TV comedian massaging another one's balls is funny in itself. 

 

There's an amazing moment in last year's Waratte wa ikenai where they discover a ventilation grate in their waiting room. One of them goes through and when they get through they find themselves in a toilet and there is a woman crouching over a squatting toilet. I dunno how funny that is stripped of context, but it's absolutely hilarious because the woman in question is a really famous TV celebrity who you would not expect to demean herself by appearing on a comedy show squatting over a loo. Likewise, in documental, the normal context in which you see these guys is in talk shows making regular observational gags etc. Seeing them just doing silly voices and 'children's comedy' is about half the gag. 

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OK, I'm being harsh in saying its not funny. It did make me laugh a couple of times an episode.  And comedy is subjective, so you know. 

That and  I'm sure the context is crucial. But the lack of it is why I am fascianted I guess.

 

Nevertheless, the point I was trying to make was that I was thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks for the recommendation!

 

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  • 3 years later...

This is so good, still on Amazon, still years behind but honestly the funniest shit I've ever seen. 

 

There's a few copycats but there's just something about this which separates it from the others. Maybe it's the buy in and the odd sense of honour - I don't know but it's fucking amazing!

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  • 4 months later...

Me and the good lady have been wetting ourselves to the first few seasons of Documental and just now discovered the Western version, which has been named Last One Laughing. 
 

There’s a Canadian version on Prime with names you will know and an Australian one which I recognised nobody apart from the host, Rebel Wilson.

 

Zoomed through the Aussie one last night and we have new comedy heroes to find stuff by.

 

 

 

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The boys talked about this on this week’s Back Page Pod XL episode. The violence aspect really piqued my curiosity, but in a way that made me not want to watch it. 

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There's one particular comedian in this who has appeared in several seasons over the years (Toshifumi Fujimoto I think) and he's the funniest thing in it; not really because of his jokes but his facial expressions when he's trying not to laugh has me in stitches every single time.

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