02 Nov

Chicago’s Comic: Saku Yanagawa

Q: What inspired you to start stand-up comedy?

A: When I was in University, I was watching a TV program about a Japanese comedian who has been doing stand-up for 20 years in New York and I thought he was really cool. I thought about how wonderful it is to make people with different backgrounds laugh, with only a mic. So I searched for him on Facebook and messaged him. I flew to New York City the next day. I made my first joke in the airplane.

Q: Describe your first performance.

A: It was an open mic in New York City. Fortunately, people listened carefully to a random Japanese guy’s broken English and liked it. That was the day I learned the meaning of “kill.” After the mic, a comedian in the lineup told me how great Chicago was and I decided to go perform there.

Q: Do you have “pre-show” rituals? If so, what are they?

A: I always get so nervous before that I have a Halls drop. It makes me relaxed and funnier, hopefully.

Q: Where in the world is your favorite place to perform stand-up? Why is this your favorite place?

A: It is absolutely Chicago. Since I performed in Chicago, I fell in love with this town and its comedy scene. It actually reminds me of my hometown in Japan. I love the vibes and people. Chicago is my “Sweet Home” in the States.

Q: What shows, podcasts, blogs do you produce or co-produce?

A: In Tokyo, I produce a two-hour sketch comedy show called “Saku’s Comedy Night” that I write, direct and perform in. In 2018, I toured this show nationwide. I would like to produce it in Chicago in the future. I also made a movie called “Human Rights Samurai” last year.

Q: What are three of your favorite things?

A: Cubs, red and suits.

Q: What is your favorite sammich?

A: Turkey Breast from Subway. Subway is the best place to learn English because there are a lot of things to say. Sometimes I was told, “Next!”

Q: What’s one thing people assume about you, that is or isn’t true?

A: People assume that I am gay and call me “gaysian.” I learned English from my gay friends, so sometimes my vocabulary is a bit fabulous. I don’t think I’m gay but I really love to go to Sidetrack’s Musical Night in Boystown.

Q: If you weren’t a comic, what other job would you love to do?

A: A baseball player without a doubt. I used to play baseball so much and dreamed of becoming a Major League Baseball player, hopefully for the Cubs.

Q: What are some comedy goals/dreams you have on your To Do List?

A: One of my dreams is to be the first Saturday Night Live cast member from Japan. SNL is like Major League Baseball for me. If a Japanese player wants to play in the MLB, they have to be famous and successful in Japan first. But in comedy, that never happens. You have to go to the States, start playing in the minor leagues and get respect from other players (comedians)… then Double-A, Triple-A, and then MLB (SNL). That’s why I have to move to the States as soon as possible.

Q: What quality, trait &/or body part do you really like about yourself?

A: My cozy hazel eyes. I don’t let anybody get lost in my eyes.

Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about you? [or anything else you’d like mentioned, ie your education, personal life or mission statement]

A: Even though the world is becoming more and more globalized, there have been few Japanese comedians who have performed internationally. Stand-up culture in Japan is not big yet. It would be great if I could let Japanese people know how amazing stand-up comedy is.

Q: How will you know you “Made It?”

A: I will keep doing what I want and what I like until I “make it.” So when I die, if I think I achieved what I wanted to, I’ll know I “made it.”


  • 39th Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition
    • 11.6.2018 – 20:00 @ Comedy Underground in Seattle, WA
      (109 S. Washington St.)
    • 11.7.2018 – 19:30 @ Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Seattle, WA
      (565 Camano Ave.)
    • 11.8.2018 – 20:00 @ Unexpected Productions in Seattle, WA
      (1428 Post Alley)
    • 11.9.2018 – 20:00 @ Auburn Ave Theater in Auburn, WA
      (10 Auburn Ave.)
    • 11.10.2018 – 20:00 @ North Bend Theatre in North Bend, WA
      (125 Bendigo Blvd.)
  • Palm Springs International Comedy Festival
    • 11.16 – 11.18.2018 @ Hotel Zoso in Palm Spings, CA
      (150 S. Indian Canyon Dr.)
  • Chicago Tour 2018
    • 11.27.2018 – 20:00 @ Laugh Factory
      (3175 N. Broadway St.)
    • 12.1.2018 – 19:15 @ Laugh Factory
      (3175 N. Broadway St.)
    • 12.2.2018 @ The Shithole
      (shitholeinfo@gmail.com for details)
    • 12.3.2018 – 19:00 @ CAN TV’s LOL! Chicago
      (Channel 19)
    • 12.11.2018 – 20:00 @ The Comedy Bar
      (500 N. LaSalle Dr.)
    • 12.13.2018 – 21:00 @ Stand Up Stand Up
      (1540 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
    • 12.16.2018 @ The Shitehole
      (shitholeinfo@gmail.com for details)
    • 12.20.2018 – 20:00 @ Hamburger Mary’s
      (155 S. Oak Park Ave.)
    • 12.27.2018 – 20:00 @ Hamburger Mary’s
      (155 S. Oak Park Ave.)


Share this