Kevin “Tokyo” Cooney

Why does every attention-whoring foreigner who stays more than a few months start calling himself “Tokyo” (yournamehere?) And why is it only guys? As far as I know, there’s only ever been a “Tokyo Rose” but never a “Tokyo Beth” or “Tokyo Christina.”

If anyone ever calls me “Tokyo Rich” I will kick their ass. You’ve seen me play Wii Boxing, so you know what kind of damage I’m capable of. You’ve been warned.

So, the subject of this post is TokyoCooney, a popular YouTube vlogger. I’ve only seen one of his videos so far, and it was only a few minutes ago. I might watch a few more.

On Oliver’s last night in Tokyo, he wanted to go to the Tokyo Comedy Store so we went, although I was skeptical that we’d witness anything actually funny, seeing as how Japan is as far from the English language comedy club circuit as you can get.

I was right. It was painfully, annoyingly, unbearably not funny. What was even worse was that people who were painfully, annoyingly, unbearably not funny were attempting improvisational comedy. Not surprisingly, it was a lot like watching people make complete asses of themselves on stage. When we could no longer take any more, Oliver and I paid the bill (over 10,000 yen for cover charge, a few beers and some meager finger food) then went to a convenience store and bought a bottle of whiskey to extricate ourselves from our lingering foul mood.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I don’t normally complain about or insult people. But the no-talent hacks at the Tokyo Comedy Story really, really sucked. Neither of us could figure out why the audience was laughing at everything. It. Wasn’t. Funny.

The only exception was Kevin Cooney. He was genuinely funny and had an excellent stage presence. We quoted his jokes to each other as we passed the whiskey bottle between us. (Oliver drinks whiskey like a pussy, BTW. Can’t take a swig without scrunching up his face. Friggin’ lightweight.)

In summary, Tokyo Comedy Store: bad. Keven Cooney: good. Oliver: whiskey pussy.

Rich Pav

Richard has been living in Japan since 1990 with his wife and two teenage sons, Tony and Andy.

18 thoughts to “Kevin “Tokyo” Cooney”

  1. Rich, I couldn’t agree more. My oldest and best friend in Tokyo was Cooney’s first roommate here (and vice versa) – the three of us moved here at about the same time and worked for, well, you know. . .

    While I’m a bit bored of some of Cooney’s schtick, he is the one bright light at the Tokyo Comedy Store, which, I agree, is painfully, irritatingly, depressingly unfunny. Anyone who uses the joke “This is ‘i’:井. This is ‘ue’:上. But this: 井上, is ‘Inoue.’ Japanese is crazy! There’s no ‘no’!”
    Deserves to be beaten. Hard and mercilessly. (That was the actual closing of a Tokyo Comedy Store headliner a few years back at the Maple Leaf in Shibuya. As I was watching that show, Cooney’s old roommate, Cooney’s girlfriend, and I were sitting together and, after every joke, Cooney’s girl would lean over and ask me if it was funny. Sadly, I kept having to say, “Nope. Sorry. I’ll let you know when I think there might have been a joke.”

  2. Whiskey pussy? I’ve heard of “whiskey tits,” but never “whiskey pussy.” Ecch.

    Sluggo’s last blog post..Have a Goatse Holiday Season

  3. Never heard the term “whiskey tits” before, but it would make a great name for a band, so I’m not surprised to find in Google that it’s already being used. Hmmm, southern rock/death metal.

    I thought whiskey pussy had a nicer ring to it than whiskey wimp.

  4. Well, I kind of have to respond to this one I suppose. Noticed the link to my web page and found your little review here. Thanks for saying I was funny, I appreciate that but I can’t say I agree with your appraisal of the comedy store. I’ve performed or seen something like 2-300 shows at the comedy store and Ive seen them range from god awful to world class. I was obviously at the show you were at and would call it par for course, maybe a little weak for us partly because our usual host and one of the core improv performers is currently in a play in Nagoya. But your comments are FAR beyond the level necessary to say you didnt enjoy it. But then this is a blog so it needs to be interesting to read so I wont hold your colorful language against your point.

    Id like to quote two parts of your “review” the first being one Ive heard before, actually because I said it before I went to my first comedy store show 6 years ago.

    “I was skeptical that we’d witness anything actually funny…”

    Ive found that there is a certain type of customer, like yourself who go to comedy shows with the intent purpose of not enjoying it. I too assumed it couldn’t be funny. But I guess where I differed with your first impression was that what I saw was a surprisingly enjoyable mix of people from different backgrounds and comedy styles having a good time and wanted to have a good time too so I did. Of course not everyone I saw that night was funny some were awful, but instead of writing them off as hacks I recognized that there is a certain arc to peoples improvement in all arts. I could see these people were enjoying and sharing their love of comedy and that is why I became involved.

    “But the no-talent hacks at the Tokyo Comedy Story really, really sucked. Neither of us could figure out why the audience was laughing at everything. It. Wasn’t. Funny.”

    This is pretty cruel. But fortunately you don’t decide for everyone what is funny.
    You seem very bright, Im surprised you dont see the disconnect here between you and your friend and the rest of the people (laughing as you point out) in the bar that night. The audience was laughing and enjoying themselves. It was your table that was not. Possibly because most people go to a comedy show expecting to enjoy themselves. Frame of mind is very much apart of going to any comedy show. Ive seen sooooo many customers sit with their arms crossed and a “whiskey face” look of “just try and make me laugh… come on just try.” Thats why I really dont blame you for not enjoying yourself, Im not surprised you didnt. Its like people who hold that its an important thing to swallow whiskey without reacting. Good job on your self control, you strong like bull.

    When I had my first performance (if you could even call it that) at the comedy store 6 years ago, I sucked. I was a total horrible hack. I was REALLY REALLY REALLY awful. And people like yourself were quick to point that out. But having a chance to get stage time and get better Ive improved as Ive seen happen with countless comedians who have come through Tokyo and been a part of our group. As I see happening now with some of the people you call “no-talent hacks.” Now Im better, but by no means an incredible comedian. Nor will I ever be most likely. Im aware of my own peter principle limits. Im ok with that, myself and the other comedians do this show, at great cost of time and energy for almost no renumeration because we love comedy. And we love that fact that every month our show sells out, always with many repeat customers. Who, unlike your table seem to really enjoy themselves. Of course the minority of people like yourself who had a miserable time dont come back, but to be honest Id rather not perform for that type of audience.

    Anyway, Id lastly like to point out something that should be obvious, I am part of the tokyo comedy store. Not separate from it. You cant say the show is bad except for the parts that are good. That makes no sense. We have to have some people on stage who are still learning their craft. If you would like to see a professional only show please go to Pizza Express and watch the punch line comedy club for ¥8,500 per person as opposed to our ¥2,000 cover charge.

    Oh, sorry one other thing. I laughed about the “Tokyo”cooney that’s pretty funny, and its very true. Attention whores abound, Im one of them. But for someone whose blog about Japan has an address with “r” and “l” jokes in it, you really should be careful about what you call unoriginal.

    I don’t mean to sound like a dick with this post, but please understand my mother bear instincts are strong in this department. Best of luck with your blog. I have a lot of reading/catching up to do on this site since I like to read more than one entry before I decide if something is good or bad.

    Hot damn that’s a lot of words I just put here. I should get a cut of your google ads money.

  5. Kevin: Like I said, I feel really bad giving such a scathing review of the Comedy Store, but aside from your routine, I wouldn’t have paid to see anyone else who performed that night. Oliver went to the show expecting to be entertained, but he too left in a worse mood than when he came. If the same routines were performed by people at a private party I probably would have laughed at them, knowing they were just a bunch of ordinary people having some fun. Maybe that’s the frame of mind the rest of the audience was in. But for me, it was like going to the ballet and watching people with no coordination–and no idea that they’re uncoordinated–trip and fall over themselves.

    I hope this doesn’t devolve into a flame war, but if it does, I only have myself to blame for speaking my mind when I should have kept my mouth shut. I think of this site as my living room, and I like to keep my friends, family and guests happy.

  6. Dude,
    Any comedian who gets in a flame war over a bad review of his show really shouldnt be in comedy, or allowed access to the internet. Every member of the audience is entitled to their opinion, especially ones like yourself who seem generally astute… though you have erred horribly on this one in my opinion. But of course I say that, its my comedy troupe. Anyway, the whole point of blogs are to speak your mind, I know Ive gotten plenty of shit from people who comment on my videos/blogs saying Im a jack ass. But if no one put opinions out there the blogosphere would be worse than it is now. Imagine that possibility. Wait, is that possible?

    Anyway, I should warn you however I will be at the pink cow to claim the Sanyo Xacti that is rightfully mine. Youd better be working that Wii to get into shape becasue you will be confronted by my entire 130 pounds of wiry comedian fury. 🙂

    Its a good site you have here, except for your horrible taste in comedy… keep up the good work.

  7. Can just say I thought the stand up was funny but the improv was just not my thing.
    Also there was two other comics who I though stood out, one was the Irish guy and the other was the japanese guy, coz it don’t know if they had been doing it for long but they had real guts (especially for doing comedy in another language)

  8. After mailing you a couple times you seemed more than happy to check out my youtube videos, but as soon as I read this post you didn’t respond to my last email?

    Is it really just because I have a cliche’ name like “Tokyo” in my name? The main reason I chose it was because I do, in fact consider Tokyo my first real “home” in Japan, because I lived there and know it better than any other place I have traveled too in this country so far.

    Plus, being an attention whore myself and knowing “Tokyo” is a nice key word search on Youtube I decided to latch it’s name to mine in order to get more people to view my videos.

    Anyway, point being I still really enjoy viewing your website and your views/opinions/ramblings about everything in general and since this is YOUR blog/site, feel free to say/do anything, but at the same time you might try at least being less biased, or at least give a little explanation towards both sides to each story before you bash something.

  9. Yeah, I was a little pissed off about something earlier that day -.-

    and was surprised my buddy Kevin left a comment on your page (I had talked about to him before and he didn’t know who you were).

    Anyway, life is too short to be pissed off, etc.

    I listened to the podcast you deleted and I can say I relate in a way like that, something similar happened to me and eventually came to the same conclusion you did about just having to let people go.

    Still pretty touching by the time you got to the end of that podcast. If that “friend” still doesn’t talk to you after a while, you should put it back up 😉

  10. I would just like to say “I think that Cooney and the other Comedy Store comedians do an amazing job. Granted its not all to my taste, but still, it takes alot of courage to bare your soul to the world.

    Well Done, and thanks for te laughs

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