Owarai (comedy) is one of the big entertainments in Japan now. When you turn the TV on, you will see tons of Owarai Geinins (comedians).
The most general style is called Manzai, which is basically two people talking in front of a microphone. One person is called Boke. Boke person says something stupid, and another person called Tsukkomi corrects it (sometimes slapping Boke’s head).
Another type of style is Conto, which is known for being a short comedy play.
This also has Boke and Tsukkomi, but instead of talking in front of a standing microphone, Conto adds acting and pantomime.
There are many Pin Geinins (individual comedians), too. Many of them have some sort of strong expression or catch phrase called an Ippatsu Gei. They make strong impressions doing their Ippatsu Gei. If they can survive catching the capricious Japanese people’s attention and still keep showing up on TV three years later, then maybe they are successful. The biggest competition that improves their careers is “M-I Grand prix.” This is for Manzai Geinins. R-1 Grand prix is for Pin Geinins. R comes from Rakugo, which means traditional Japanese comedy talk.
Saturday night’s at 10 PM, the show “The God of Entertainment Show” on Nippon Television, hosts many new comedians.
If you are a big fan of Owarai, then you should go to see it live. The M-1 Grand Prix and pre Grand Prix live shows are intense. The air is thick and you can feel the comedians’ tension and really understand how big an opportunity for them this contest is.
Comedy shows at Lumine the Yoshimoto in Shinjuku are frequent and more accessible.
Live shows are everyday and you get to see the comedians closer.
And if you are really crazy for seeing popular and traditional comedy, I recommend you to see one in Osaka.