While studying in Japan, I became fascinated by the variety shows my roommates would watch. These shows featured a flexible format with comedians and other entertainers participating in a wide variety of activities. For my senior creative project, I decided to determine what features were essential to Japanese variety shows, and to then use these features to create my own program.
In order to determine the essential features of Japanese variety television, I watched a total of 22 episodes of three popular Japanese variety shows: Gaki no tsukai ya arahende (ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで! Usually abbreviated as ガキの使い), London Hearts (ロンドンハーツ), and Utaban (うたばん). I chose these three shows because of their differing styles, popular comedic hosts, and impressive longevity, with a combined 58 years of runtime. Through my research, I was able to assemble the analyses of basic and technical features found in the next section of this document in addition to several pages of my own notes used to design my original program.
My own program, American Joke (アメリカンジョーク), is meant to be filmed in America featuring an entirely Japanese cast. The main idea of the show is to capitalize on the comedic potential of cultural differences by having Japanese comedians interact with American people and traditions.
In order to showcase the show, I filmed a short “sizzle reel” video featuring Japanese exchange students as the cast. Segments filmed included our “comedians” learning the high jump from ASU track athletes, bringing Japanese fermented soybeans to campus for American students to taste, and participating in an American-themed quiz show.