Eigyo. The lifeblood of young comedians in Japan who are good enough to not completely suck but not popular enough to perform at any of the big theaters for money. Unlike most of your other gigs, it’s paid work. But is it good work?
Here’s how eigyo works: Some company, big corporation or smaller mom and pop place, decides it wants someone to jazz up its next corporate retreat or public event. Apparently lacking the resources to sufficiently pump people up itself, said company has no other option than to farm that task out to a comedy company. The comedy company in question, having promised a big name or two for the job, sends a bunch of random no-names out instead.
Today, we went out to the boonies (kinda) on behalf of the Japanese division of Dove soap’s parent company, where through a sudden driving rain, we, well, pretty much just hawked Dove products in front of shopping street drug stores for thirty minute intervals.
Most of these eigyo gigs usually some performance aspect of the “Hey, here’s a mic. You’ve got thirty minutes. And make sure you mention our product a couple of times” variety but this one didn’t, which meant we were pretty much getting paid to stand around and shout at random passersby.
When the thirty minutes were up, we’d return to the green room (in this case, the party room of a local karaoke chain place) and eat food paid for by the paying company then go back out and repeat the process again.
It’s not glamorous work by any means but it’s better than not having work and an indicator that you are at least kinda sorta on their right path as a company comedian.
The rain sucked though.