English Language Comedy in Tokyo

ByMark Guthrie
Aug 24, 2018

English Language Comedy in Tokyo

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

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.

  • Where:  Held at various venues around the city. See website for details
  • Websitetokyocomedy.com

Good Heavens Comedy Club

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.

The Pirates of Tokyo Bay Improv Comedy Show

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.

  • Where: What The Dickens, 4f Roob 6 Bldg, 1-13-3 Ebisu Nishi, Shibuya (map)
  • Website: piratesoftokyobay.com

Craft Beer and Comedy Sumo Slam

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 in English

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.

For up to the minute details of what shows are playing where keep an eye on the Stand-up Tokyo Facebook page, or Tokyo Comedy Meetup.

By Mark Guthrie

Image via http://www.shitacome.jp/2017/#program-index  – screengrab (modified)

Image by Joe Lodge (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr.com (modified)

About the author

Mark Guthrie editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Mark whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves. Find some more of his musings at www.markguthriewrites.com and on instagram @markguthriewrites