Bilingual Improv Comedy in Tokyo

Something people mention when speaking of why they want to experience Japan is the appeal of understanding such a unique culture to their own.

Posted by on November 28, 2016 – Cultural Events

When you live and work in a different country, its natural to go through phases of intensely wanting to understand this new and different environment, paired with the desire to hold onto your own comforts from ‘back home’; familiar music, familiar TV shows, familiar view points…we are creatures of habit, after all! If you think of ways to gain a better understanding of Japanese culture, maybe you think of participating in festivals, or taking classes in traditional arts, or learning the language to better immerse yourself. 

But how about watching a bilingual comedy show?

Comedy is a great lens into society. Whilst a good comedy show will be both relatable and comical, the fabric of comedy is often a commentary of societal ‘characteristics’ otherwise unspoken. Differences in each society are why each culture has its own take on what’s funny.

Improv, for those who might not know, is a mix of comedy and improvisational theatre where everything you see is created right there in front of you. Dialogue, action and story all come together from the starting point of an audience suggestion.

The modern form of improv comedy blossomed over the last century, developing firm roots in the 1970s when Theatre sports came about. Theatre sports involves a setup of two opposing teams, which perform scenes based on audience input who then judge the winning team at the end of each ‘game’. This format became the foundation of improv comedy as we know it today. 

POTB have been showcasing Japanese and western humor alongside one another since 2010.

Japan has been part of the scene for a while now, but in recent years, Pirates of Tokyo Bay has entertained audiences locally and worldwide as Japan’s most successful bilingual improv comedy group. POTB have been showcasing Japanese and western humor alongside one another since 2010. Their shows are accessible and entertaining for everyone, regardless of native language — every show alternates language between short-form skits, in either English, Japanese, or sometimes in no language at all! 

A night out with POTB hits many birds with one stone: not only can you come to understand more about the similarities and differences between Japanese and western humor (and therefore culture), a bilingual comedy show can be a great way to develop your Japanese listening skills outside of your day-to-day Japanese use, all while providing a fun and entertaining night out. And if you’re just starting out on your Japanese-learning journey, a 3-minute-long scene in Japanese will still hold your attention. After seeing their 5th anniversary show last year, it’s safe to say you’re in for a big night of laughs!

Catching a bilingual improv show might give you another great reason to study Japanese. Maybe you’ll even find that Japan has more similarities with your native culture than you think!

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The Pirates of Tokyo Bay Anniversary Show

 
The Pirates of Tokyo Bay are celebrating their 6th anniversary this coming Sunday. Enjoy a ‘cultural’ night out with a show of new games, guest performers, and lots of surprises along the way!

Pirates of Tokyo Bay 6th Anniversary Show
When: December 4th (Sunday), doors open at 18:30, show starts at 19:30
Where: SuperDeluxe, Roppongi
How much: 3000 yen including a free drink

You can purchase your tickets through Peatix or find more information on their monthly shows in Ebisu on their website.