Popular Japanese comedian Naomi Watanabe is one of Lady Gaga’s loyal fans around the world. The Yoshimoto Kogyo impressionist was so inspired by Mother Monster’s new music video for “Rain On Me” with Ariana Grande that she shot an official parody with the blessing of the original’s creators.
Watanabe, who describes Gaga as “a mother-like presence who envelops me in a cosmic way,” shared that she was floored by Gaga and Grande’s energy when she first encountered the song in May, and felt a strong desire to parody the visuals.
Recruiting fellow comedian Yuriyan Retriever to perform the part of Grande, she chose to recreate the powerful collaboration as the first in her series of parody videos to be premiered on her YouTube channel, NAOMI CLUB. Watch below:
The parody was shot after the coronavirus state of emergency was lifted in Japan, with full support from Watanabe’s usual team of make-up artists, nail artists, stylists and other professionals who contributed to the work.
Directed by Daisuke “Nino” Ninomiya — who has helmed visuals for major J-pop artists, including Daichi Miura, SMAP and EXILE — the video seriously mimics the overall intensity of the original while inserting comedic details and gags for maximum effect.
The result is a well-balanced mixture of artistry and laughs, with the two comedians delivering what is probably the best dance performances of their careers, all while adhering to strict social-distancing measures — note the wall between the two comedians and the video’s dancers wearing masks and face-shields.
Looking back on the creative process, Watanabe shared: “I sensed that the way to make this as funny as possible would be to do it as precisely as I could. I love impersonating people, so I was meticulous about the details. As my personal project, this parody music video captures my effort to perfect the quality of a single impersonation.”
Lady Gaga’s production team gave kudos to the completed work, which racked up a million views in under 24 hours since its release in Japan on Saturday (July 25) night, and became the No. 2 trending video on YouTube Japan. It now has more than 4 million views.