Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende
''Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!''
(ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで!!, Downtown's 'This Is No Job For Kids!!
'?) is a Japanese variety show hosted by the popular Japanese owarai duo, Downtown. This TV program began broadcasting on October 3, 1989, and is a popular comedy show in Japan.
The regular cast consists of 5 comedians: the Downtown combi formed by Hitoshi Matsumoto and Hamada Masatoshi, the Coq Au Rico combi formed by Naoki Tanaka and Shouzo Endo, and Housei Tsukitei (formerly known as Housei Yamazaki).
They're best known for their New Year's Punishment Games and the Silent Library skits. the latter of which became the basis of its own game show in the United States on MTV
This show provides examples of:
- Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female on Male: Yoshiko Mita grabbing Hamada's balls in the Airport Batsu.
- Adam Westing: Mizuki Ichiro's appearances in the Batsu games tend to revolve around him gleefully indulging in this. (Mizuki is an anime/tokusatsu singer best known for singing the opening theme of Mazinger Z.)
- A Day in the Limelight: The special episodes often feature people that are not members of Gaki no Tsukai per se, such as stage director Heipo, producer Nakamura and producer Kenji Suga.
- This also occurs in some of the regular episodes. One series for example focuses on Heipo going out on dates with different women (one is Ayako Nishikawa) and seeking advice from the regular cast. Suga also makes appearances in these episodes to comfort the women after Heipo screws up the dates.
- Affectionate Parody: Their Gorenjai skits live and die by this trope.
- Animal Motifs: Hamada is often associated with apes.
- Apple of Discord: Though it never escalates too far, the 24-hour tag sequence has the group of 4 (Hamada, Yamasaki, Endo and Tanaka) being given single items (such as a single cup ramen, single piece of pork bun, or a single sausage). Tanaka, Endo and Yamasaki team up and start to contrive farfetched reasons to have the items themselves and exclude Hamada.
- Bald of Awesome: Matsumoto, post-1998.
- Benevolent Boss: Producer Kenji Suga a/k/a "Gaasuu", who qualifies inasmuch as he doesn't actively inflict any more misery on his subordinates than they do to each other already.
- Berserk Button : Matsumoto is a special case: it sometimes seems almost everything in the world could be pushing his Berserk Button at some point. Hamada not agreeing with him on something is a frequent (and necessary) one.
- Black Comedy Rape: Detective Benson and Stabler would be aghast at some of the incidents shown in the show.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Played straight or subverted, depending on your point of view; Downtown is credited with bringing a more conversational and improvisational style to the previously rigidly-structured manzai routine. The "Free Talk" segments on Gaki no Tsukai are always an excellent example.
- That being said, they still refer themselves as a Boke and Tsukkomi combi.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick : Played for laughs to some degree.
- A regular example of this that actually involves food can be seen in the various 'Absolutely Tasty!' episodes. While the cast like to experiment with their ingredients (such as Endo's use of Frisk mints), they're usually surprisingly rational to some degree... until Matsumoto's choices come up, which are almost always very bizarre and nasty. Past choices have included horned turban liver, a bear's paw, a tuna's head and the skin of a pig's face.
Endo (regarding the horned turban liver): If I give it ten points, do I still have to eat it?
- Breathless Non Sequitur
- Butt Monkey : Tanaka and Yamazaki, but Heipo stands above those two.
- Or is it below?
- To be fair, every cast member (even Hamada) gets his turn at getting this treatment, but Heipo in particular gets the Chew Toy treatment.
- Many other crew members too; if a mistake is made, the cast will heckle the crew mercilessly. Some of the most enduring Running Gags on the show were born out of minor screw-ups on the part of the production team.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : With a little dose of Cant Get In Trouble For Nuthin
- Catch Phrase
Masahiro Chouno (every time he shows up): GOD DAMN!!!!
Yamazaki (at some point in almost every batsu game): Jigoku ya, jigoku. (This is hell.)
- Caught with Your Pants Down : Specially when they have to go to the restroom; other times, someone will pull down their pants.
- Taken Up to Eleven during the Yugawara Onsen batsu game: When Tanaka, Hamada, and Yamazaki are receiving their swim trunks, two old men, of approximately Tanaka's and Yamazaki's respective height and build, each walk into the room wearing their swim trunks and proceed to take them off (revealing their own swim trunks underneath) and hand them to the player sized similarly to them. When Hamada gets his, on the other hand, the person wearing them turns out to be Matsumoto — who promptly drops trou to reveal that he is NOT wearing another pair of trunks underneath. This, of course, results in one or more of the players busting out laughing, at which point Matsumoto pulls the suit back on and waits for the offending player(s) to get whipped... after which he disrobes again. This was made funnier for the viewing audience by the addition of a ringing doorbell sound every time Matsumoto pulled his trunks down.
- It gets even worse — as the old men are being dismissed, Matsumoto trips and "accidentally" flashes his taint at Hamada. After getting up, Matsumoto pauses to rip an impressive fart before he finally leaves the room.
- Color-Coded Characters: The five cast members are each associated with a particular colour. Matsumoto is red, Hamada is blue, Yamazaki is green, Endo is orange/yellow and Tanaka is purple/pink. This can be seen in the show's colouring of dialogue subtitles, and is all but confirmed in the 2009 Hotel Batsu game.
- Comedic Sociopathy : And how
- Cool Mask : Dynamite Shikoku
- Contrived Coincidence : How Masahiro Chouno ends up slapping Yamazaki, one way or the other.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef : Integral part of their "Zettai ni Oishii" segment. See Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick.
- Couch Gag : The regular episodes are often (though not always) opened by a cast member, usually Hamada, quickly shouting out the show's title and the episode's game/skit in a tongue-twisting fashion. Hilarity Ensues when, on occasion, the cast member screws it up.
- Cringe Comedy : With some Squicks here and there, it can't be helped.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Gaki no Tsukai crew plus Inomoto and "Vacuum" Fujiwara (from comedy duo License) against real-life Big Eater Natsuko "Gal" Sone in a big eating "7 Men, 7 Kilograms of Food" contest. The Gaki crew had to resort to altering the rules and even outright ignoring said rules, and Sone still leaves them in the dust. That being said, Gaki crew had some serious handicap in the form of both Hamada and Matsumoto eating before the contest, putting them basically out of the running. Meanwhile, the much-vaunted Vacuum Fujiwara isn't living up to the name, for some reason.
- Cursed with Awesome : In one of the special segments, the Gaki crew versus another comedian group crew are challenged to run in a straight line after being spun rapidly. Hamada shrugs the effect after being spun 99 times and runs like nothing happened. It turns out that there's something wrong with his ear canal which enables him to completely not feel any dizziness from being spun.
- Deconstructive Parody
- Digging Yourself Deeper : Everyone at times, but there's a reason why Matsumoto always gets the most punishments.
- Disguised in Drag : Fujiwara in every major Batsu game. The main cast in the hospital and airport batsu games; Hamada gets the worst of it, being given large fake boobs and a shorter skirt than everyone else.
- The Ditz: Jimmy Onishi whenever he appears in the Batsu games — much to the chagrin of the regular cast.
- Dope Slap: Regularly given by Hamada.
- Early-Installment Weirdness : What with the show's Long Runner status. Some newer (non-Japanese) fans are surprised to learn that Matsumoto used to have a full head of hair, or that the cast used to do actual sports challenges occasionally, or than Jimmy Onishi was a regular cast member at one point, or that Coq Au Rico were only added to the cast in the mid-'90s, etc.
- Embarrassing Nickname : Natsumi, Hamada's wife, calls him Piko-chan.
- The Everyman : Tanaka. Referenced during the gossip section of the 2009 Hotel Batsu. Lampshaded again in the Airport Batsu.
- Tanaka Snaps series makes this a plot point, especially the first one, after Matsumoto revealed that he wouldn't want to be reborn as Tanaka due to how boring he looks. Tanaka looks devastated and the series seeks to subvert this image.
- Five-Man Band: The core five cast members, obviously.
- The Hero: Matsumoto
- The Lancer: Hamada
- Mr. Fanservice: Endo
- The Chick: Tanaka
- Team Pet: Yamazaki
- Sixth Ranger: Jimmy Onishi, and more recently the Ameagari Kesshitai duo (who have been unofficially touted as the 6th and 7th members of Gaki no Tsukai). Heipo could easily be considered as such whenever he appears as well.
- Follow the Leader: Gaki no Tsukai's Batsu games proved popular enough that the US recently started airing a knockoff of one of their most popular segments, Silent Library.
- Food Porn: Partially deconstructed in the 2009 Hotel Batsu Game.
- Foregone Conclusion: Many, many examples. The most obvious cases of these can be found in the various 'trial' episodes, where a cast member is charged with a 'crime' (Hamada was judged for his Comedic Sociopathy, Yamazaki was charged with being a coward, etc.). Do they have a chance in Hell of getting away with it? Of course not, this is the Gaki no Tsukai court of justice! The punishments themselves are also suitable foregone conclusions. What was Yamazaki's punishment for being a 'plagiarist' of fashion styles and so on? Why, a slap from Masahiro Chouno of course!
- Foreign Language Tirade: One of the addressers at the Spy Batsu game, who is introduced as the head of the agency's office in Holland and and gives a speech entirely in Dutch that ends with him ranting incoherently in Tanaka's face.
- Four Is Death: Invoked in Yamazaki's Haunted Piano Recital. He's made to perform in the fourth room on the fourth floor of a school. He is tasked with playing four songs, thus necessitating four trips through the school, with the last performance taking place at four in the morning.
- Funny Foreigner: Somewhat goes together with Fun with Foreign Languages below, though none of the cases are extreme, and the cast tend to be on the receiving end of whatever's happening. One interesting case was in Hamada's 2003 Vladivostock batsu game, where he finally meets the Russian 'secret gang'. He reveals during the post-game talk that they had to do several retakes because the Russian actor's Japanese was so bad.
- Averted in the 2007 No-Laughing hospital batsu game, where a foreign man enters a doctor's office with a translator... and speaks flawless colloquial Japanese.
- Matsumoto's Stair Helpers in the 2011 Airport Batsu.
- David Hossein, a/k/a Konya ga Yamada, whose entire shtick on the show involves repeating (and horribly mispronouncing) his pseudonym and saying absolutely nothing else.
- An example which seems effective for the main cast, yet has raised Unfortunate Implications for many in the West, are the black people used to garner laughs by being placed in traditionally Japanese roles, such as Watanabe-Kun, the fainting student from No Laughing School, the Shinto priest and sushi chef from No Laughing Yugawara, and "Black Bob" from No Laughing Hot Springs.
- The foreign actors used to mete out punishments for many of the Kiki challenges (e.g. Germans in the Beer episode, Brazilians from the Coffee episode, Indians from the Curry episode).
- In a more meta-example, the reason why Americans find the show funny.
- Fun with Foreign Languages: Done hilariously when Bob Sapp was a guest at their show. Also, Jimmy Onishi whenever he's asked to say something in English.
- Fun with Subtitles: The "do not try this at home" disclaimers are frequently phrased as reasons why the Gaki cast can do things that the audience shouldn't do. Most of these, when not Blatant Lies, are obvious insults directed at the cast themselves.
- In one case, the subtitles proclaim (among other things) that Tanaka's all right because he never gets dizzy, that Matsumoto's not in real pain because he gets a gigantic paycheck and because the fire on his ass is actually CGI, that Heipo's not in real pain because he's actually CGI, that Yamazaki actually likes the taste of Tabasco (which is why they gave him a plate full of pasta soaked in it), and that Hamada can survive Groin Attacks because he has a small dick, although he still has to pretend that the attack actually hit him.
- Gag Boobs: Hamada almost always wear fake boobs whenever they have to crossdress.
- Gag Censor: Whenever any one of the main cast is naked, their naughty bits are covered with photographs of their own faces.
- Gossipy Hens: As of recent, towards the end of the batsu games, the cast are introduced to a meeting of several "undercover" employees of whatever company (newspaper, hospital, airline) they're supposedly working for, all of them played by fellow comedians. Under the excuse of identifying people the company's had "issues" with, the group starts gossiping about things they have heard about others, including the main cast, with some of the stories being Serial Escalation. Played for Laughs.
Matsumoto: Why do I have to get my ass whooped when you lie?!
- Groin Attack: The Pie Hell had Matsumoto struck in that area with pies.
- The Chinko Machine causes these.
- Hope Spot: Given in the 2008 No Laughing Special. Poor Yamazaki is sure that he's not going to be the one slapped by Masahiro Chouno, but suddenly someone told Chouno that his kid is injured; the same kid that Yamazaki bumped into earlier...
- Avoided from 2009 and thereafter. Chouno will somehow choose him.
- Hurricane of Puns : A 2003 batsu game had Hamada travel to Vladivostok to receive a 'back-slap' from a 'secret gang member'. The joke was that Hamada had lost a bet with Matsumoto, who said that Hamada was unable to look at things 'from the back'. Most of the game involves Hamada visiting places with the word 'ura' ('back') in them (Vladivostok itself is a joke, going off its Japanese pronunciation) and finding things upside-down, such as the car he's been given.
- Jerkass : Hamada can be rather cruel when he's in charge of dishing out punishment. Matsumoto's style in similar situations is less outright sadistic, and more purely cold-blooded.
- This has more or less been Character Development for Matsumoto in recent years, where the show has shifted from a 'Matsumoto vs. Hamada' format to a 'Matsumoto and Hamada vs. everyone else' format. See Magnificent Bastard on the YMMV page.
- Kansai Regional Accent : Downtown is probably the reason why Kansai-ben is so closely associated with Japanese comedy today.
- Large Ham: Bibari Maeda, of all people, in the 2009 Hotel Batsu.
- This trope has long been an intentional part of Matsumoto's persona. It was practically necessary when Downtown still did their manzai routines on the show, but he still plays the card when the time is right.
- Matsumoto pulls this also on the Yurusenai Hanashi series.
- Yamazaki pulls this off too, sometimes to take advantage of his Butt Monkey status. The rest of the cast have learnt to catch on quickly to this, it seems, in the 2009 Hotel Man batsu game.
- One thing you can usually expect from every No Laughing batsu game is that someone will try to do this to crack the other contestants up; it frequently backfires, however, especially if the perpetrator is Matsumoto.
- Long Runner: 22 years and approximately 1,040 episodes, as of this edit. Downtown have almost as much seniority, and wield at least as much influence over their respective culture, as Johnny Carson did in his day.
- The Men in Black: In the 2010-2011 Spy Batsu game.
- Million-to-One Chance: In a revival of their Gorenjai skits, the entire Gaki crew had to don one color of five Gorenjai costumes inside a booth, with the goal of having everyone donning a different color. While they do have six hours to do so, keep in mind that the probability of five people wearing five different colors is 24 in 625, or 3.84%! note They actually did it with minutes to spare, and this is unscripted.
- However, they were literally Tempting Fate when later, they added the Ameagari duo and expanded the costumes to 7 colors (including black and white). The probability this time balloons to 720 in 117,649, or 0.612%. Needless to say, they had to bow down to statistics; six hours were not enough for them to actually complete this.
- Naked People Are Funny: Every now and then during the batsu games, either by the cast themselves or the special guests.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Masahiro Chouno. The mere presence of him in the same scene as the regular cast means someone is gonna be in a lot of pain soon... and they know it. Most of the time, it's Yamazaki.
- Played with in 2008 Newspaper Batsu Game. The reporters are told to cover the premiere of a movie called "Field of Butterfly" (which came out as "Field of House" in Tanaka's mangled translation). Later, after Yamazaki got the bejesus slapped out of him, he figures out that "Field of Butterfly" is the Anglicized translation of "Chouno", Masahiro's last name. None of the Gaki crew figured it out prior to the event.
- Even lampshaded by Chouno himself in the 2009 Hotel Batsu Game.
Chouno: (To Yamazaki) Your requests get more annoying every year.
- Tanaka and the word "Thai Kick."
- No OSHA Compliance: Some of the stuff the the hosts and the guests do during the batsu games would most likely result in severe lawsuits if done here in the US, even if its part of a show.
- Overly-Long Gag : Every No-Laughing batsu game seems to have at least one.
- Panty Shot : About 99% of them come from the guys.
- Pixellation: And thank goodness for it.
- Playing Against Type : Often the schtick of various Special Guests showing up in both the regular episodes and the specials. Recently, a number of period drama and soap opera actresses have somehow ended up playing parts in the No Laughing Allowed batsu games — the mere fact of their participation is usually enough to crack the cast up.
- Another frequent tactic is the use of well-known dramatic actors, or at least comedians with Comically Serious screen personae, to play complete and total Cloudcuckoolanders. Most infamously, Sonny Chiba himself appeared as a hospital director who hopped out of a tanning bed in his office and handed out his e-mail address to the Gaki cast — it turned out to be a long string of random Engrish words including "Tarantino" and "California".
- Put on a Bus: Heipo in the Substitute Teacher Batsu.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni : Matsumoto's Red to Hamada's Blue. Lampshaded in the 2008 New Year's Batsu special, with Hamada's color being blue and Matsumoto being red, not to mention their behavior during their Test of Courage segment.
Hamada: Shut up, will you.
- Replicant Snatching : In the 2010-2011 Spy Batsu game, where a member of the cast gets snatched and replaced with Itao Itsuji wearing a facemask in the victim's likeness. Also counts a bit as Mirror Universe as the Replicant acts quite out of character. Obviously played for laughs — especially since the rest of the cast could tell quite easily that something was wrong.
- Running Gag : Oh so many, from Tanaka's cowardice, Heipo's ineptitude, Onishi's Epic Fail at English, Yamazaki being slapped around by Masahiro Chouno, Endo's Dynamite Shikoku, Matsumoto's Hair-Trigger Temper, Hamada's sociopathy, Fujiwara crossdressing, Suga inserting photographs of himself in bizarre places, the list goes on.
Yamazaki:Chouno-san, do you want to slap me? You want to slap me, right?
TANAKA.....THAI KICKU!! (Hotelman, Spy, Airport & Teacher)
- Lampshaded in the Spy Batsu where Matsumoto casually remarked and wondered if Yamasaki would be ignored as in past Batsu Games by the bosses of the respective institution they were employed at. Then it got averted as Yamasaki was punched in his gut by the head of the Spy Agency.
- Brick Joke: This show will wait years to bring back a Running Gag, if it has to. One of the reasons Tanaka cracked up repeatedly over Endo's Dynamite Shikoku character in the Yugawara Hot Springs, No Laughing Allowed batsu game was that it had been almost seven seasons since the last time they'd used him.
- Serial Escalation: The Labor Union and the Administrators in the Airport Batsu game argue who is superior, and thus solve a labor dispute, by doing a challenge more outlandish than the previous one, from getting hit on the face by a bottle rocket, to eating boiling noodles with the bare hands, to trying to move snakes into a box and getting bit in the process, to setting their butts on fire with explosives.
- Shout-Out: Too many to list.
- Special Guest : Most prominent during their New Year's specials. The 2010-2011 Spy Batsu Game has over 100 Japanese celebrities involved, including Masahiro Chouno.
- The Special Guest most Western fans would be likely to recognize is Sonny Chiba, who made a brief appearance in the "No Laughing: Hospital" batsu game.
- The Spook: They're supposed to be training to be this in the 2010-2011 Spy Batsu game. Obviously played for laughs.
- The Stoic: Koki Mitani in the 2008 Silent Library.
- Stop Helping Me! : This is played with in the No-Laughing batsu games using Hiroshi Fujiwara's guide roles. Other than setting up the incoming traps, he tends to constantly mess up his lines, creating additional laughs.
- Title Drop : In the regular Couch Gag, but this was also brought up by Matsumoto as a joke in the tarai roulette game. After the rules have been explained, which say that the game goes on until either Hamada or Matsumoto are out, Matsumoto questions whether the title should be changed to 'Coq Au Rico no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!!'.
- Toilet Humour : Now and then. One challenge in particular involves the five cast members going to a posh restaraunt, with the obstacle being that they can only be served when they emit an audible fart. Hilarity Ensues when Yamazaki takes all the courses early on and Coq Au Rico are reduced to sitting in odd positions on the floor in a bid to force something out.
- In 2004's batsu game at the Yugawara Hot Springs, this trope is hiked Up to Eleven when, after giving Hamada a pair of swim trunks right off his own body, a naked Matsumoto is leaving the room when he first pratfalls with his butt high in the air, then, after getting up, lets loose a loud fart towards everyone present.
- Too Kinky to Torture
- Too Soon: No such thing on this show. They were making jokes about Endo and Chiaki's divorce mere weeks after the fact (and they still are); Matsumoto essentially painted a target on himself as soon as he (finally!) got married and had a kid (his daughter's toys have begun popping up in awkward places during the batsu games).
- Torture Cellar: Borders on Cold-Blooded Torture with Heipo stuck in a shipping container (furnished like a studio apartment) for 24 hours, for the duration of the Hotel batsu, with live feed for the regular cast.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Endo tries using Frisk mints in most episodes of the Absolutely Tasty series.
- Visible Silence: Used prominently in the Batsu Game series, usually denoting a beat when someone says something peculiar which is invariably followed by at least one of the parties (or both) trying not to laugh. Usually, they fail spectacularly.
Yamazaki: Well, it's not like you need to quit, you don't smoke that much anyway.
Tanaka: Yeah, but I ought to switch brands. I'm smoking a stronger one these days.
Yamazaki: Stronger how?
Tanaka: The magnitude, I mean.
Yamazaki: [cracking up] What the hell is "magnitude" supposed to mean?!
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Tanaka and Heipo are scared of everything. Tanaka's legs tend to give out whenever he gets a nasty, sudden surprise, whereas Heipo just screams and flails.
- The Woobie: Yamazaki, due to his longstanding Butt Monkey status, has his moments. Just two examples are a prank from around the time he became a regular cast member, and he had his pants pulled down by Hamada and Matsumoto on what he was told was a live broadcast. When assigned the blame and then "fired" from Gaki no Tsukai, he appears onstage, devastated, to mention that this will be his last episode. Another example comes during the Chocolate Kiki episode. After Hamada unsuccessfully attempts to intimidate the others into giving him a hint, he cracks a chocolate bar over Yamazaki's head. He maintains a shocked expression for several seconds before meekly muttering "I thought that we'd actually have fun today...", and this is not counting the yearly abuse he gets from Masahiro Chouno.
- Worked Shoot : The pranks that the cast used to pull were typically framed like this. The most famous examples were when Hamada would go into a blind rage over something and would need to restrained by the rest of the cast before he could actually attack the one "responsible" for the error. When they pulled this one on Tanaka, he started crying.
(during Hamada's Comedic Sociopathy
trial): That was the only time in my life that I have ever cried in the arms of another man.
- Zettai Ryouiki : Hamada has to wear an uniform with a mini-skirt and type-B stockings in the No-Laughing Hospital batsu game and again in 2011's No-Laughing Airport. Hamada, ever the sadist, quickly learns that flashing his garters at his fellow teammates is almost guaranteed to make them laugh.