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Series: Banzai
Play at home fun! From the land where anything is truly possible comes new gambling opportunity. Place your bets now, it's time to play... Banzai.

Banzai was a Channel Four program spoofing Japanese gameshows with its unorthodox methods of entertainment, from how long it takes to masturbate a turkey to how many balloons are needed to make a chicken fly. It spoofed Japanese culture in general with its three main presenters:
  • Mr. Banzai: Played by opera singer Masashi Fujimoto, he would appear as the MC, when one is needed, or just shout 'BANZAI' at random moments between betting games.
  • Mr Cheeky Chappie: Appears randomly through the program, sometimes announcing the current game.
  • Mr. Shakehandsman: As the name implies, this man goes up to celebrities and shakes hands with them for as long as possible, with bets being placed on how long he can maintain it. His record so far is over four minutes. Gets replaced midway through the second series because celebrities recognised him.
  • Miss. Onequestion: Another literal example, she would go up to celebrities, ask one question, and then see how long it takes for them to go away.

With random silliness, and featuring celebrity cameos during the bets, Banzai ran for four series from 2001 to 2004. In the United States, it had a brief run on FOX in 2003 (these were Americanised and removed references to British culture and celebrities) that was canceled due to protest from Asian American groups after six episodes, and was then picked up by Comedy Central, who ran the rest of the series with no controversy.

Plenty of clips on their YouTube channel.


Tropes:

  • Aliens Made Them Do It / Mate or Die: One bet consisted in asking Peter Davison if he had to have anal sex with one of the other living actors who played the Doctor on Doctor Who in order to save the Earth from the Daleks, which one would he pick. (His answer was Sylvester McCoy much to the bewilderment of the announcer).
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Tara Palmer Tomkinson toast topper test.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Subverted. The Japanese text shown throughout the program means nothing.
  • The Cameo: Celebrities appearing as themselves.
  • Catchphrase: "Place your bets now", "Betting ends", and "What else we got?!"
  • Cool Old Lady: If you allow yourself to take part in a game of chicken with your motorized wheelchair and a fellow granny, riding the same vehicle, you earn this trope.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Title fun, as one Japanese symbol goes up to another, and starts making sexual noises. A moment later, three smaller symbols pop out of the bottom of the 'female' symbol.
  • Everything's Nuttier With Squirrels: Squirrel fishing. Two squirrels, two scientists. Two pieces of string, two nuts as bait. The winner is the scientist whose squirrel jumps up, grabs the nut, and can be pulled up as well.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Mr. Shakehandsman.
  • Funny Foreigner: All the presenters, specifically invoked.
  • For Science!: Whenever animals are involved, it is a 'scientific experiment' and the animal is 'thanked for its sacrifice for the good of science'. Even when it doesn't float into the air and we don't see what happens to it.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Sometimes a title is shown before a game, then that title will be hit by a ninja star, with ninja music and stock scream effect, before dying to become the real title.
  • Once an Episode: Mr. Shakehandsman shakes the hand of a new celebrity each episode. Subverted in one episode, however, as one attempt at shaking hands resulted in a time of 0.05 second. They gave him a chance to redeem himself in the same episode.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: A lovely cute little chicken attached to balloons and floated into the sky. See Also: Everything's Nuttier With Squirrels.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Subverted. There is nothing really cool about throwing cigarettes at your mouth and missing.
  • Too Soon: Production was halted for one episode after it was leaked that the show was going to use a speed gun to measure the speed of the funeral procession for the Queen mother. The process was interrupted before they could record it.
  • Type Casting: Word of God- from when one of the show's gods appeared on one of Channel Four's Top 100 shows- states that the first Mr. Shakehandsman left the show because he didn't want to be typecast as a man that shakes hands. Really.
    • The reason given in the show, though, was that he was being recognised by celebrities who refused to shake his hand and ruined the whole thing, meaning a new person had to be entered.

BananamanBritish SeriesThe Basil Brush Show

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