who performs manzai
, a type of Japanese comedy
can become manzaishi
and there are even non-japanese manzaishi
working professionally. Some manzai acts are actual brother, sister, and husband and wife teams.
Since modern manzai was developed in Kansai, the best manzaishi are Kansai natives and perform in their original kansai dialect, much to the chagrin of non-kansai natives who cannot fully understand the kansai dialect. On a positive note, because of the popularity of manzai and comedians from Kansai, the awareness of the Kansai dialect is ever increasing and has even led to the rise of nise kansaiben.
However, as these manzaishi achieve more popularity and the increased demand for their appearances on TV, they must eventually move to the center of entertainment, Tokyo. They get used to the environment and begin to speak more in common Japanese and lose their touch. Some even start to diversify and appear in mostly crap dorama, movies, and start singing careers. Thus, sadly, the groups like "Downtown" (famous manzaishi pair) of now are a mere shadow of what they were 5 years ago.
Some of the current most famous manzaishi work for the Osaka based entertainment company Yoshimoto Kougyou, a company that deals primarily in TV, movies, and comedy clubs. Call me a traditionalist, but I find their "new-manzai" and attempts at diversification and expansion into other entertainment ventures detrimental to the overall state of manzai comedy, BUT it sells so...