By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)
If you have never watched Beta King (光速脳天!ベタキング) during its short-lived run in 1996, now’s your chance. The Japanese variety program starred popular young comics of their day (like manzai duo Buffalo Goro) and was one of the funniest variety shows I had ever seen. The show was a mix of improvisation, sketch comedy on the fly, and obstacle course competitions.
Two hosts oversee four teams of four comics whose main purpose was to win the game with points by causing the most laughs. These points were achieved by adding their own captions to photos, adding the end joke to an acted out situation, and creating quick comedy sketches that revolve around items picked by each team from a mystery box. Each episode was roughly 55 minutes.
This YouTube video contains two episodes of the series but the best of this video is that it still contains commercials from the original broadcasts. If you want to see then NBA Chicago Bull’s player Michael Jordan promoting Gatorade or Yoko Kon (formerly Pinky and Killers) selling OSG water filtration units, then you’re in for a special treat. Watch it while you can though. This YouTube user also uploaded an early episode (with original commercials) of Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ with guests T.M. Revolution and My Little Lover. The video has since been pulled.
Video Source(s): Zeroluckcanuck.