Tetsuro Degawa is a Japanese comedian. He is well known for unique voice and his specialized “reaction performance.” For example, he is pushed into a hot bath, to cry out “Too hot, help!” Or, he eats habanero chili or something like this and calls for water with a bombastic gesture. Audiences laugh at his comical reaction. Actually, he is very popular in Japan, and I think many people like him.
One of Degawa’s favorite situations is to play with crayfishes. Degawa pinches the crayfishes and lets them close to his face. Then, they put in Degawa’s nose with their claw. Degawa screams. This process is so funny that we hardly refrain from laughing.
However, Degawa was stopped from making this performance in a TV show. The person interfered him was an entomologist.
In the TV show, Koichi Goka, a famous Japanese entomologist, was attending. When the staffs encouraged Degawa to make a performance with crayfishes, Goka said, “Wild crayfishes have several bacteria on their claw. There is a fatal risk with the performance.”
Degawa opposed his comment seriously, “I am OK. Let me do it!” However, Goka insisted again, “I make advice as a specialist.” Finally, the performance was quitted.
Degawa made a complaint. “Your statement is interrupting my business. It would be critical for me if audiences are worrying about my health.” Goka continued, “I am worrying about someone mimicking you, to cause an accident.” Their conflict had not been resolved.
Livedoor News: An entomologist makes a warning to “nose-crayfish” performance by Degawa (in Japanese)
I realized that crayfishes had harmful bacteria for the first time. But, it is obvious that there is a risk of bacterial infection in dealing with wild species. Goka’s suggestion itself is correct, and most people already understand it, I guess.
On the other hand, Degawa, as a professional performer, seems to be willing to keep his performance unique and attractive. It is also reasonable. Doing something other people dare not to try is raison d’etre of performers. I also understand he felt annoyed to listen to Goka’s advice.
Imagine a similar situation. A member of a circus group is trying a trapeze. Then, a physician makes a caution. “There is a fatal risk of falling. I recommend not doing it.” How do you feel?
I believe most people think this advice is nonsense. The performer is expected to understand the risk completely, and after repeated exercise, he is going to the circus show. Everyone knows that nobody except him can do the same thing. If someone mimics him, to get injured, he will be blamed on his recklessness.
There are a couple of difference between Degawa’s case and this estimation about the circus. First, the performance with crayfishes looks easier to achieve than trapeze. Thus, audiences are likely to mimic Degawa’s performance. Second, it is doubtful that Degawa had recognized the risk of infection. I am not certain, but he seems to indifferent to such risks.
The fact is that Goka did not deem Degawa as a professional performer who is completely aware of the risks around his performance. It is a disgrace for Degawa, I think.
I like Degawa's performance. I hope no one will mimic Degawa's risky act. Otherwise, it will be prohibited on the TV show. So boring then.