Tokyo’s thriving comedy scene offers a wide range of comedians performing around the city; in English!
Below are a few comedy clubs and troupes that you can find in the city.
Tokyo Comedy store is mainly about standup and improv comedy – the kinds of comedy that will be most recognizable to people from the US, UK, and other English speaking nations – although different styles, such as sketch or musical, are also represented. They also host improv lessons and offer shows, seminars, and workshops for companies, private groups, and charities.
Good Heavens Comedy Club is Stand-up Tokyo’s flagship comedy show in the hip neighborhood of Shimokitazawa. Held in the Good Heavens British Bar, it is Tokyo’s only weekly comedy show (every Wednesday). Featuring a line-up of Tokyo’s best stand-up comedians, some newer comics trying out the mic for the first few times, as well as established acts such as Stuart Goldsmith, Phil Wang, and Hannibal Buress, it is just 1,500 JPY to enter, which includes a drink.
Having been going for some seven years now, The Pirates of Tokyo Bay are one of the longest-running – if not the longest running – bilingual improv comedy groups. Great for mixed-heritage couples (where one is Japanese, and the other is an English speaker), the group performs short skits, or games, in the ‘Whose Line is it Anyway’ mold that are just two or three minutes long, which means if one game doesn’t make you laugh, then another one will be coming along soon! Shows are held monthly. See their schedule for details.
Combining two of life’s greatest pleasures – beer and laughter – the Craft Beer and Comedy night at Two Dogs Taproom in Roppongi is a twice-monthly event where six comedians are split into two teams battling to for points and the audience’s laughter with improvised stand-up and topical jokes. It falls under the Stand-up Tokyo umbrella, so quality is – as much as it can be – assured.
Rakugo, literally “fallen words”, is a form of Japanese stand up (though sat down) comedy where a lone storyteller sits on stage and using only a paper fan and a small cloth as props depict a long and complicated comical story. You may have seen this classic comedy style that goes back to the Edo era on TV or perhaps if you have been to Kabuki. These free (as in no charge) English language events do not come around often, so when they do you really should check it out.
By Mark Guthrie
Image via http://www.shitacome.jp/2017/#program-index – screengrab (modified)