Chapter 4 – “Why haven’t I become the disciple of Shinsuke Shimada?!”
I’ve been told by others “please, make me your disciple” before, but I never said that to anyone myself. That’s right, Downtown has no teachers.
Nowadays it’s not that uncommon, but back then during the days of our debut (around 15-16 years ago), it was pretty normal to make your debut after completing a 3 years training as an apprentice of an elder comedian.
I’ve had thoughts I’m ashamed of in different ways because of this, and I’ve also been teased by detestable senior comedians for the same reason.
(Welp, not that I could have cared less about them)
So, why didn’t I chose to become someone’s apprentice? (and I really need some guts to write this)
No matter how you look at it, bringing a cup of water or a wet towel to your teacher after he’s done performing on stage doesn’t really have anything to do with comedy itself.
Moreover, the number of folks who actually get charmed by their teacher and really want to take care of him and steal his gags is no more than a handful.
Usually they just go ask around to several teachers, and by the moment they’re turned down they just give up on them.
I entered the world of comedy because I really admired both Shinsuke and Ryusuke, but I never ever thought about becoming Shinsuke Shimada’s disciple.
I sort of feel like becoming someone’s disciple implies you’ll never top your teacher, and what I always wanted was to challenge him from the same borderline (so cool!).
In the end, me and Hamada both entered Yoshimoto’s NSC (comedy academy). But even thought we got in, there was some severe criticism for newcomers without a teacher. By the time we enrolled, the initial number of students – more than a hundred – gradually decreased as they stopped coming (the biggest reason was they had no talent).
About the remaining bunch, do you think they strived by relying only on their strenght? No, of course not. They got started sticking closer and closer to successful upperclassmen to the point it felt like they were purses (if that’s what you’re doing, than you could have just become someone’s disciple from the start, you asshole!).
Successful tv stars have like a favorite baseball team or such. They often show said teams all their love and support, and because of that those who entered NSC take part in baseball matches early in the morning on a daily basis or wear baseball uniforms when getting inside the dressing room (you guys… what have you come to Yoshimoto for, you shitheads?!).
I swear me and Hamada never did anything like this. And not because we talked together about it and decided to do so, we just got that through a sort of tacit understanding (and that’s why Downtown is amazing).
Even nowadays, every year at least 4-5 people come to me and ask me stuff like “please, let me be your disciple”. And of course I reject them all. I don’t really have anything to teach them, and I’m not even confident they’ll start to sell because of it.
In the end, comedy comes from nothing but your own talent (well, by the time you come to me to ask me to be your teacher, I already start thinking you may not be that much of a talented guy).
To all those who are aiming at becoming comedians and to those who’re still going through this road, listen carefully!
A comedian is not a salaryman!
If you get in the likes of your boss, that alone could lead you into a successful career. But in the world of comedy each and every single comedian is their own boss! It’s a world based on the survival of the fittest rule, in which you have to think by yourself how big you can become, you dumbass!
– IMDB entry for Ryusuke Matsumoto.
– Wikipedia entry for