Try not to laugh at Ohtani vs. Yamamoto in a compliment faceoff

April 2nd, 2024

Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto are friends, countrymates and teammates. Sit them across from one another and they obviously have plenty of compliments to pay one another. But what if while receiving those compliments, they are also trying their absolute hardest not to laugh?

That was the scene in the first video of a new series from the Dodgers called "Playground Compliments." In a setting reminiscent of "Between Two Ferns" with Zach Galifianakis, the two Dodgers stars are seated in folding chairs staring into one another's eyes. Yamamoto has his glove placed gingerly on his thigh, for no comprehensible reason other than it being one more thing to try to make his competitor laugh.

Unlike the Galifianakis shorts, where he routinely eviscerates his subjects, Ohtani and Yamamoto are tasked with being as kind as humanly possible to one another. Ohtani kicks things off:

"Your throwing style is beautiful and cool," he says, mimicking Yamamoto's windup.

"Thank you for always being so kind to me," Yamamoto responds, returning Ohtani's polite bow. At this point Ohtani already looks like Jimmy Fallon in an SNL sketch trying not to break, but he manages to get out a comment about Yamamoto's "handsome face."

"I think you are more handsome, Shohei-san," Yamamoto says, and now Ohtani is taking deep breaths, closing his eyes, doing everything he can to hold in his laughter. But with a completely straight face, Yamamoto stares directly at his teammate and finally gets Ohtani to let out a giggle so infectious, you'll probably also lose the competition at this point.

Well, it's official. We've found something Shohei Ohtani is not the best at.