Hitoshi Matsumoto and Masatoshi Hamada, a.k.a. Downtown, are a prolific Japanese Comedy Duo, starting out with stand-up routines and moving on to host numerous Variety Shows. They are the definitive example of the Boke and Tsukkomi Routine in Japanese owarai television comedy, thanks to both their sarcastic, short-tempered stage personas and their enormous media presence in Japan. They are also credited with helping popularize the Kansai Regional Accent.
Starting as a struggling stand-up act, the duo's first major success came with their local television show Yoji Desu Yōda in 1987. They moved to Tokyo and launched Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! in 1989, which remains on the air. They have gone on to host, either together or individually, a multitude of other programs such as Downtown DX (1993-), Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ (1994-2012), and Downtown no Gottsu Ee Kanji (1991-1997).
Downtown works provide examples of:
- Kansai Regional Dialect: Matsumoto and Hamada are both from Osaka and still speak in their native Kansai dialect. (The media conglomerate which employs them, Yoshimoto Kogyo, is also based in Osaka and most of its comedians also speak Kansai-ben.) They often employ the dialect in their routines. Because of the duo's influence, Kansai expressions have begun to appear in common Japanese vocabulary.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Matsumoto's blue to Hamada's red.
- Sadist: Hamada's comic abuse of Matsumoto and talk show guests, along with his high-pitched cackle whenever he witnesses his colleagues' misfortune, has given him the nickname "Hamada the Super Sadist."
- Terrible Artist: Hamada's notoriously horrible attempts at drawing are often mocked by Matsumoto.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Onscreen, this is played straight. Off-screen, they have openly admitted that they keep a distance from each other outside of work and probably would not return to being friends if the duo split up. Even so, they still have enormous professional respect for each other and have stated that there are no other people they would like to have as partners. Interesting to note is that they have been friends since Elementary School which led people to speculate that they got into a dispute.