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"sweet and fun and kind of uncomplicated"
You deserve a break and probably need a laugh, so you should follow Kenzo Mizumoto.
Here’s the third segment from Friday’s episode with BioHacked: Family Secrets host T.J. Raphael. Seriously, how do people like Kenzo come up with these sketches? My brain fundamentally doesn’t know how to create a 30-second video that’s actually funny.
ERIC: Welcome back to Follow Friday. TJ, I asked you to tell me about "someone you just started following," and you said Kenzo Mizumoto. He is on TikTok and Instagram @KenzoMizumoto.
Kenzo was born in Brazil, lives in London, and his parents are Japanese. And I love this video he made called Living in the UK as a foreigner. I'm going to put a clip of that in here. He's interviewing himself about all of the confusing weights and metrics systems that he has had to learn.
ERIC: You said you just started following Kenzo. Is this a sort of video that drew you to his channel or was there a specific one that you found that really just cracked you up?
TJ: Yeah, so I have seen that one and it's really funny, but I think what really got me to follow him versus maybe just watching one, liking it and moving on was he does a lot of really funny videos that I think do a really good job of capturing what it feels like to be an older millennial.
I don't know how old you are, I'm 34, but ...
ERIC: I'm 32.
TJ: Yeah, so there's this time in the early 2000s that I think a lot of older millennials, we have a lot of nostalgia for, and he does a really good job of kind of poking fun at how basically lame we all were back then. And then how we've all gotten older and kind of complained about things. So that's one of the reasons I started following him.
My friends that I have from high school, I still kind of have like an Instagram little chat with them and we'll send them to each other. One is about going to a Blockbuster and copying CDs onto your iTunes account. And I think one video he's like "Yeah, I'm gonna go to a Linkin Park concert and bring my digital camera and then upload it to YouTube." And somebody's like, "What's YouTube?" And they're like, "I don't really know!"
It's hard to think of the world ever being like that, but that's definitely how it was when I was in high school and early in college. So he just kind of makes me have that little bit of nostalgia factor that makes me feel good and laugh and remember how silly everything was back then.
ERIC: Well yes, since we're about the same age, the first question is, what's your Hogwarts house?
TJ: I definitely think I'm a Gryffindor, I haven't actually seen all of the Harry Potter movies or read all the books, but I know that's a good one, right?
ERIC: My experience talking with other millennials about our age is that everyone thinks they were Gryffindor or Ravenclaw when they were younger. And then as we all get older, we're all turning into Hufflepuffs. That's just some Hogwarts wisdom.
But I was watching Kenzo's videos and there's one that he did that was really funny, but just would not translate to an audio podcast where he's talking about cell phones then versus cell phones now. And so it starts off with the cell phones now, where it's like okay, "I just ordered from Amazon and bought your airplane tickets and signed these contracts" and all these different things. Then it's cell phones then, and it's like "OK, tap this 4, 4, 4, 4, 4," and then it's the other person receiving a text that says "hi."
TJ: Yeah, and it's like, "oh my God, I got a text." So yeah, the T9, I used to be really fast on that back in the day.
ERIC: I got lucky with the timing where I just never had to get very good at T9. I guess before the smartphones there was ... what was that sideways phone, the one that had the keyboard that would flip out?
TJ: Yeah, the Sidekick.
ERIC: The Blackberries, the Sidekick and the iPhone basically like phones with full keyboards came around just close enough to when I needed a cell phone. I never had to get very good at T9, but there's some people who were, and it's very impressive.
TJ: Yeah I really wanted a sidekick, but I didn't get one, and so I was stuck with T9. But yeah, those were the days, and I was so fast and my mother was like "How do you do that so fast?" And I'm like, "That's just what we do, mom." So yeah, Kenzo gives me some nice nostalgic throwbacks, in a world where we're emerging from a pandemic and everything seems to be not so good, to just take a moment, and be like oh yeah, remember when we texted like that? It's a nice little palate cleanser on the feed.
ERIC: Agreed. So yeah, he's more popular on TikTok than on Instagram, but you specifically told me that you follow him on Instagram. Are you in the same boat as I am where you just avoid TikTok for the fear of getting addicted, or is there a reason behind that?
TJ: Yes, I don't really use TikTok. I do have a TikTok just to, but I have never posted anything there. I actually have been using it for research, for reporting. For the podcast series, we're doing an episode on egg donation and these egg influencers — which are a thing — will post on TikTok with the hashtag #eggdonor. And so I've been using it for research to find young women who are in the process of donating their eggs and to talk to them about how much they're being, things like that.
Which is probably, now I'm saying this out loud, like the most boring way to use TikTok. I mean, for me to just use it as a research tool. But yeah, I don't use TikTok as a sort of content consumption platform, I use Instagram, Twitter, and then I have Facebook because my grandma likes to write on my wall and say happy birthday, so I have it for that reason. But Twitter and Instagram are the main places I where consume my content.
ERIC: Is there anything else that you love about his videos, the way he uses the internet and social media that we should talk about?
TJ: Yeah, I just think he's kind of wholesome, or at least the videos that I've seen him upload, they just seem really positive. They seem sweet and fun and kind of uncomplicated, not that they're a low quality production but uncomplicated in a way, it's like here's just a nice moment for you to enjoy. And I think nowadays our feeds can become overwhelmed with negativity in a lot of senses. So that's just why I gravitate towards him because it's just a nice little pure spot of joy in my day when I come across his posts.
ERIC: Yeah, and then similar to Sydney Battle, it seems like most of his videos are just him in his house or apartment in London, just sort of coming up with weird premises or funny ideas and acting them out, playing all these different characters. I'm so amazed by this whole generation of TikTok comedians, you know, folks like Kenzo who are finding that levity, who are finding just a seemingly endless well of things they can do without very much budget or complicated editing or anything.
TJ: Absolutely, yeah, I wish I had that skill. I'm not really good at making funny videos.
ERIC: You and me both. Well that was Kenzo Mizumoto who is on TikTok and Instagram @KenzoMizumoto.