Japanese comedian and former pro-wrestler Masaki Sumitani, better known by the name Hard Gay, has been struggling to find a new outlet for fame and success. Ever since being outed as a straight man, Hard Gay’s comedic mockery of gay flamboyancy has fallen from popularity in Japan. And, after a severe foot injury in July of 2009, his wrestling career has also been forced to a close.
According to an interview conducted by the online news site Owarai Natalie, while Sumitani is still interested in continuing work as a comedian, he has decided to revamp his public image. We’re not sure how easy it will be to replace the image of Hard Gay’s tight, leather booty shorts, aviator sunglasses, and frantic hip thrusting that’s been burned into our mind’s eye. However, the comedian hopes that by starting a second career as a professional model he can achieve even greater success as himself and not his character.
Last year Sumitani, still using the name Hard Gay, teamed up with his old partner in wrestling, Makoto Izubuchi, aka Real Gay, to compete in "The Manzai," a televised contest for Japanese comedy duos. They called themselves Razor Ramon and played heavily off of Hard Gay’s most loud and obnoxious qualities. This year, the two hope to take their partnership even further, starting with the live show, “We Don’t Need HG and RG! We Wanna’ Be Ourselves!” on Friday at Tokyo’s Yoshimoto Infinity Hall.
Owarai Natalie met with Masaki Sumitani to ask why their comedy routine was taking such a drastic turn after only a year of mainstream recognition. What they got was less about the new comedy approach and more a detailed account of the funnyman’s serious determination to now pursue modeling.
Whether it’s due to the public’s preconceived notions about Hard Gay’s brand of comedy or the limitations of that persona itself, Sumitani sees his association with the HG character as a disadvantage for him and his partner. He hopes that working as a serious model to gain more public exposure as simply himself will help to break that automatic association between him and the character.
The idea of professional modeling more-or-less began after taking promotional photographs to advertise Razor Ramon’s comedy skits. Sumitani was surprised by how well they turned out and became interested in doing more professional photography sessions. It took a lot of flattery from many different sources to even vaguely convince Sumitani that he has the looks to make it as a model, but after taking some test shots with a former classmate who’s now a cameraman for the cover of fashion magazines, he can see his own potential. Sumitani may have gone into the photo shoot half jokingly, but he impressed himself with the turnout.
After seeing the great conviction that Sumitani has for modeling, many might wonder whether his comedy skits will take a back seat to this new fashion passion. The comedian expressed some concern that his own partner, Izubuchi, might be questioning his commitment to their funny act. However, Sumitani assures everyone that he is determined to succeed at both.
In a word with Sumitani’s manager, Owarai Natalie confirmed for the rest of us that “It’s no joke. He wants to be a serious model.” The management seems to support him in his decision. But then, they admit that they’d be happy to make use of anyone with such a chiseled physique.
Source: Owarai Natalie
Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Comedian’s Impersonation of AKB 48′s Yuko Oshima is “spot on” -- Schick Brings us Limited Edition Evangelion Goods -- Goku Returns After 17 Years With a Huge Box Office Bang© RocketNews24