Part of Dirty Sanchez’s six days in Japan was spent with their spiritual forefathers, The Tokyo Shock Boys, known in Japan as Dengeki Network. The boys, who are now in the their late 30s, have been on the comedy circuit since 1990, entertaining audiences with don’t-try-this-at-home-kids stunts, things such as lighting farts, or blowing dry ice fumes from their nostrils.
The group, comprising Torata Nambu, Gyuzo, Sangojyugo and Danna Koyanagi, first met while working as concert roadies. “I think working backstage with big names such as The Rolling Stones inspired us to want to become superstars,” Gyuzo says.
They all began their entertainment careers doing stand-up comedy. Danna Koyanagi used to work in a night club. “It was a big place so we used it, after it closed for the night, to practice our shows in, and almost 20 years on we are still doing the same stunts. We still really enjoy what we do.”
In the interim, they toured Europe, performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994, and became stars in Australia. They were even invited to perform for the Queen of Denmark and her husband in 1996 — though Torata still wonders whether the royal Danes found it entertaining, or the Boys just ended up on the wrong guest list.
Tokyo Shock Boys could be likened to the Fantastic Four — though with slightly warped talents. Gyuzo can eat live scorpions “because people find them to be so terrifying so I feel very manly swallowing them,” he says. “Once, though, when we were in Australia we couldn’t find any scorpions so I had to make do with a lobster. It bit my mouth and it really hurt.”
Gregarious Torata, whose hair is pink and punk, is able to drag painfully heavy objects with his testicles.
Danna excels at inhaling milk and squirting it out his tear ducts. Torata says this particular talent was discovered by chance: “Danna had a cold and when he sneezed, the mucous came out of his eyes and it made us laugh. We thought if we tried it with milk, it would have good shock value. That was almost 20 years ago.”
Although they are comedians, they are keen to test their virility. “Everything we do is influenced by samurai,” Gyuzo says, sincerely. “We want to show how masculine and strong we are, that we are fearless.”
Apparently, though, during a shoot for Dirty Sanchez’s upcoming movie, Tokyo Shock Boys were completely taken aback by the British lads’ definition of humor. For example, they witnessed Pancho smoking the hair from Joyce’s nether regions from a bong filled with urine. Much to the Dirty Sanchez boys’ amusement Pancho vomited immediately afterward.
“Rather than finding it funny, we were more shocked and felt a bit queasy about the stuff they did,” Torata admitted. “When they performed their beer enema, I just ran away. I couldn’t watch.”
While the Tokyo boys were impressed by the Dirty Sanchez’s 24/7 genki-ness, they seemed to agree that maybe their “anything goes” comedy doesn’t translate so well in Japan.
“We are comedians,” Sangojyugo asserted. “If an age were to come when things like peeing yourself on stage, or crap and blood were props that provoked people to laugh, we would rise to the challenge. But right now, it just doesn’t appeal to Japanese audiences.”
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