Check out Japan’s version of Saturday Night Live

By | June 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm | 10 comments | Audio/Video, TV/Movies | Tags: , , ,

I would be lying if I said I knew a bunch about the Japanese comedy community. Lying a lot. In fact, when I found out today that Japan just premiered its monthly version of Saturday Night Live, I wasn’t sure what that event meant. And then I watched the opening sequence (check it out below). And then I tripped balls. It’s literally the same opening, including Don Pardo (which I’m so into). And they have three lady cast members, which I was stoked to see, since we all know SNL is sorely lacking in the woman department.

I also found out today that Spain and Italy have their own versions of SNL (and they have Facebook pages too!) which are incredibly popular. The sets are eerily similar, the theme songs are nearly the same (the Italy theme song sounds like “Everlasting Love” though, which is fucking rad), but the content seems different in Japan.

Italy and Spain, it seems, are known for using political commentary in their writing much like the US version, but the Japanese crew seems to be focusing on slapstick, physical comedy (circa SNL’s early days perhaps?). Not sure if the political commentary will translate but I have to be honest: I’m going to find clips of it wherever I can because the girls on the show are adorable as all getout and the slapstick I have seen was glorious.

About the Author

Meagan Kate

Meagan Kate is a Portland, Oregon writer and comic. She has been laughed at by audiences at The Brody Theater, The Someday Lounge, Theatre! Theater! and other venues that provide her with the validation she has yet to receive from a long-term relationship. She says things at and you can follow her @MeaganKate.

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  • tay

    totally horrible – the guest tonight was Wentz Eiji however it was all about Akashiya… why even bother to have a guess if Akashiya is going to be in control of every single scene…

    totally retarded and a complete waste of time !

  • lostinube

    Japan doesn’t do a lot of biting political comedy. There are political impersonators but it seems that they are just doing it to mock the person, not the politics.

    There really wasn’t that much different between SNL Japan and the other sketch shows on the air right now. In fact, the entire ensemble aside from Akashiya Sanma and Koji Imada have their own sketch show that usually has the time slot that SNL Japan will use once a month.

    One more thing: Sanma and Imada are the real “hosts” of the show. The guest could be a big star but, as in the first episode, Sanma will be probably be bigger.

  • IvanCostello

    If Yu Sawabe goes to the well with his Hello, Kitty character once more, I’m canceling my subscription.

  • MeaganKate

    Thanks for the insight, guys! I don’t speak Spanish (well) or Japanese or Italian (I went to a state college), so all I could find was info from bloggers, and lord knows they’re TOTALLY unreliable. Here’s to hoping that the Japanese version takes off! WHEEEE!

  • nas

    Italian SNL is an abomination….tits, ass, very vulgar sketches, and absolutley NO satire. it’s on one of the many Berlusconi networks, so satire is forbidden. i’m very surprised that Lorne Michaels still grants them the rights to use the name, italian version is totally different and very very bad.

  • Eneko Ruiz

    The Spanish one was not a succes and it only went for a season of 12 episodes ( They recicled too much US material from all the eras and they didn’t do nothing original, appart from the political themes on the Weekend Updapte.

    If you know spanish you can watch a lot of videos on Youtube ( Charlize Theron was a guest and Belen Rueda (protagonist of The Orphanage and The Sea Inside), singer Rafaella Carrá or Santiago Segura (Jack & Jill, Blade II, Hellboy, Asterix) were some of the hosts

  • Hauke

    We used to have a SNL in Germany from 93 to 98

    Not sure if it was licensed or not, but the german Networks tend to “adapt” (steal) stuff (Office / Curb / IT crowd / Whos line is it etc.)

    But the Stand Up scene is rising, even in english:-P


  • roy

    Dude, in case you thought that was really Don Pardo, it’s just some guy trying to sound like him — and not doing too bad a job

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