Last night, manzai duo Waraimeshi were finally crowned as M-1 champions. The pair – Nishida Koji (36) and Nakanishi Tetsuo (36) – have entered the nationwide comedy knockout competition every year since it started in 2001. They made the finals for the last nine years running and were runners-up three times. This year they came out on top of 4,835 acts from across the country. Waraimeshi received not only ¥10 million in prize money but also an elevated status in the comedy hierarchy.
The annual contest is organized by the major Yoshimoto Kogyo talent management agency and held at the TV Asahi studios in Tokyo. It was announced that it will come to an end this year, but Waraimeshi vowed to see M-1 continued at Yoshimoto’s Nanba Grand Kagetsu theater in Osaka. The show enjoys strong TV audience ratings, though last night’s broadcast got less than 20% as it was up against a live figure-skating broadcast on Fuji TV.