Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 7

Chapter 7 – “A comedian can choose his audience. That’s why I left “Waratte Iitomo!” in the end”

If you ask me whether I’m high tempered or short tempered, I can definitely state I’m not the latter. And because of that – or maybe because there are way too many idiots in this world – I always find myself raising my voice and getting into arguments with people in town (and if I’m not against tv stars, sometimes I make them raise their hands in defeat).
Recently I took a taxi and I got so angry over its driver’s bad attitude we actually got into a quarrel.
We both spat our opinions onto each other and by the time we were getting closer to the finale, that driver muttered few words out “I used to be a fan of yours, it’s such a shame”.
There are actually tons of guys who aim for a situation-turnaround by playing victims and messing around with a star’s feelings by saying stuff like “I’m your fan” or “I always see you on tv”.
A normal tv star would probably falter before this, but I’m not that naive. There’s no way those guys are my fans, and even if it were true and they actually are my fans, than let me just state this here and now: I refuse to acknowledge them. By the time I got out from the cab, I spat him one last sharp parting remark: “don’t you dare watch my shows ever again!!” – That’s what I told him.
Moving on, today’s topic is “even tv stars choose their clients (fans)”.
During my debut years, they told me to perform a manzai skit at Kagetsu (Yoshimoto’s live comedy stage) before a party of tourists composed only by granpas and granmas.
Of course I did my best for the first two or three minutes. But as soon as I realized how low was the level of my audience, I started speaking so softly not even the guys on the first row could hear me and I got out of the stage after only 3 minutes instead of the scheduled 15 minutes (by the way, my personal record is going away after 30 seconds).
Then the theater’s manager came to me and scolded me shouting “Don’t choose your audience. If you’re a pro, you have to do your best in front of everyone, no matter who they are”.
But I think that I can choose my own audience exactly because I’m a pro. Lowering the level of our gags so they’ll be more appropriate for an audience with unrefined comedy tastes would just hurt Downtown’s reputation.
Not only that, performing a manzai for 15 minutes in front of an audience which won’t laugh even if drugged hurts even more. If you came here not to laugh, then just go home, you stupid cuckoos (the comedians after us were still waiting for their turn and weren’t ready, so of course I apologized to them). The most frightening thing that could happen to a tv star is being harassed by a stupid audience member – aka a stupid fan.
Needless to say, it’s always better to have a lot of fans instead of just few of them. But it’s also true that one must never be manipulated by them. There’s no need to strive in order to make a dumb audience member laugh, by the time you start thinking “If I do this, the number of my fans will probably increase, if I do that, it will probably decrease”, you’re already done for (this expecially applies to comedians).
I couldn’t tell anyone before, but that’s the biggest reason for why I chose to drop out from Waratte Iitomo!, the audience members from that show are so loud and noisy they probably think they’re the actual performers here and even if I try to smack them out with my prodigious boke (funny man) skills, they always shout weird and wrongly timed words of encouragement which ruin everything.
I’m not the type of guy who can just smile at them and wave my hands in a lovable manner. No matter how many people will get inside my precious place of work with mud all over their feet, I won’t forgive any of them.
And that’s everything from today.

Note
– “Kagetsu” refers to Umeda Kagetsu, a manzai-related theater in Osaka. I already made several notes about it on previous posts, such as Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 55th Birthday Special and Komoto Jun’ichi’s Shichi-Henge.
– Wikipedia entry for Waratte Iitomo!.


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