Manzai can be described as a style of stand-up comedy. It is normally performed by two comedians, each of them playing a certain role in their humorous dialogue. It developed from ancient rituals into a popular style of comedy which is especially famous in the Kansai region but is enjoyed by people of all ages all over the country.
The paper will introduce the history and general mechanisms of creating humor in Manzai. It will also outline a general approach to analyzing humor. While most of the Japanese researchers in their analyses mainly focus on the script of a performance, this paper will include a closer look at the relationship between the comedians and the audience.
Till WEINGÄRTNER is currently a research student at the University of Kansai, grace of a Monbukagakushō scholarship. He will return to Berlin Free University in April to continue working on his doctoral thesis on Manzai, about which he published a book in 2006. During his stay in Osaka he has also performed as a Manzai comedian himself.