Owarai (お笑い owarai) is a broad word used to describe Japanese comedy as seen on television. The word owarai is the honorific form of the word warai, meaning "a laugh" or "a smile". Owarai is most common on Japanese variety shows and the comedians are referred to as owarai geinin or owarai tarento. Presently Japan is considered to be in an "owarai boom", and many minor talents have been finding sudden fame after a gag or skit became popular.
Manzai (漫才), a traditional form of Japanese comedy that became the basis of many modern acts today, is characterized by a pair of usually older male comedians acting certain roles in a constant comedic battle against themselves. This tradition is continued in the acts of many modern talents. While there are many women talents, they are largely outnumbered by the men, and they tend to take more minor roles.
Whereas manzai performers traditionally wore kimono (traditional Japanese dress), these days a western suit is the outfit of choice for many owarai kombi (コンビ, combination; referring to a pair of comedians in a unit) and many talents who begin their careers performing in a style very similar to stand-up comedy, usually including aspects of manzai and conte.