This page was last Updated on September 16, 2013
Hopefully you can find the answers to any question you might have about us in the approprate place on our web site. But there are always questions that don't seem to fit anywhere else, and so those go here.
If you have a general question that isn't anywhere on the web site or in this list of questions and answers, then please send your question using our contact page .
Is it okay to bring kids to your show? Can minors attend your shows?
This borders on being a legal issue, so please see our clear terms regarding minors for an exact answer.
Do you guys get paid for this?
The Tokyo Comedy Store was started with the intention of making people laugh, and that's what motivates our performers to get out there. But, with the exception of "open mikes" and other experimental new acts, our performers get paid for our efforts. How much and by who varies depending on the show. Like comedians all over the world, though, most of us work for a living to help support our ambition to be as funny as possible.
If you had any talent, wouldn't you be performing somewhere else other than Tokyo?
Fair question. First, we would like you to know that our performers and alumni do travel and perform abroad, including major comedy meccas like New York and London. We also have performers from abroad come perform with us. Modern communication and travel has made the world a smaller place, and, in terms of something like doing comedy in English, Tokyo is not as much as an isolated backwater as it used to be.
However, that does not answer the question of why we stay here and struggle in a small market where the performance opportunities are more limited. If we believed in our ability to be as funny as anyone else, why not make a permanent move and try to become a super famous comedian in a place like LA?
There is no one definitive answer that would apply to all comedians. Reasons for being here are as varied as marriage, school, work, and countless other obligations and interests.
What we can tell you is that we believe we have some very talented and funny people in our group, who, for their own reasons, are at a time in their lives where being in Tokyo is the right choice for them. We encourage you to come enjoy them while they are here. After all, some of them might, as some have already done, leave one day to pursue more success in a bigger comedy market.
Why does some of your marketing include the line "funnier than you think we'll be"?
We know that most people come to our shows expecting substandard performances, because of the thinking behind the question immediately before this one. We acknowledge that perception and own it. One of the most common compliments we get is when people say "I was surprised to find out you were actually funny!"
We aspire, as much as possible, to provide laughter on a level that you could find in other, more familiar, comedy scenes around the world. At the same time, we can also provide insight and laughter on topics that you can't find anywhere else. If you are part of the international crowd familiar with life in Japan, we have the best material on that topic.
You won't know that until you come see us, though, so that's why we'd like you to come on down and enjoy a show and give us the chance to exceed your low expectations.
Do the stand ups do different material at every show?
Stand ups the world over are always tweaking and changing their act, taking what they learned from their last performance to improve the next performance. Sometimes that can be as small as changing the intonation of one word, sometimes it can be as much as writing a whole new act. Each comedian is working at their own pace.
Which means that for you, the audience member, if you come to a show, you might hear the same jokes come around again, depending on each comedian's pace of development. Each show is a little different, as there are so many other variables beyond just the material. However, if you are really concerned, we advise taking a break of three or four months between shows in order to give the most chance that the comedians have evolved their acts significantly enough for most of the audience to appreciate the difference.
Can I learn to be funny?
Sure! If you want to learn funniness through improv comedy, you can come to our regular Wednesday night improv workshops . If you want to learn stand up, you can either just show up to an Open Mike Night and give it a whirl, or come to one of the stand up workshops that are held twice a year.
What is "Improv Comedy"
Improv is short for "improvisation", so "improv comedy" is comedy that is made up on the spot, as you watch it. It's usually done in small scenes by a team of four performers or so. But improv can be done in an endless variety of contexts.
Please see this Wikipedia entry for a start on information about improv.
What kind of improv do you guys do?
If you know a bit about improv already, then you might want to know that the Tokyo Comedy Store generally follows the Keith Johnstone school of improv. We are, of course, open to other styles, and a lot of our members have learned improv from various places around the world.
What does "open mike" mean?
The best way for anyone to get good at stand up comedy is to just get on stage and try it. So "open mike" is when you give someone three minutes or so, usually at the start of the show, to just try out their stuff. "Open mike" comics don't get paid because they're learning the ropes and aren't expected to be funny.
The term "open mike" can refer to either the performer, as in, "she's an open mike," or to the show, as in, "tonight is an open mike night." At our New Material Night , we have both brand new and experienced performers get on stage, and so it can be considered an "open mike night".
Shouldn't that be spelled "open mic"?
We've picked our side in the never ending debate on "mike" versus "mic". Please see this web page for the definitive explanation of why.
What are the "Tokyo Cynics"?
You'll sometimes see the term "Tokyo Cynics", which is a term that refers to the standups within the Tokyo Comedy Store.
The term was created as the name of the standup comedy show that started in Takadanobaba (at the now closed and much missed Fiddler venue) in the mid 1990's, which eventually merged with other comedy performance groups to form The Tokyo Comedy Store.
For a long time, we referred to standup comedy shows as "Tokyo Cynics" shows, and to performing standups as "one of the Cynics".
However, over time we discovered that from the point of view of the audience, too many names of different groups was confusing. The audience was never too clear on what a "Tokyo Cynics" show was, as opposed to a Tokyo Comedy Store show. People would refer to standup shows as "standup shows" anyway, and then wonder if the "Cynics" were a particular type of standup.
We've phased out the name entirely, as it hasn't done much for us. However, old habits die hard, and the name still pops up now and again. If you come across a place where we are still being promoted or described as The Tokyo Cynics, please let us know so that we can change it.
So, to be clear, there is no longer any such thing as the Tokyo Cynics. If you join with us as an open mike or standup comedian, you are a member of the Tokyo Comedy Store.