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Comedian Yoo Jae-suk rises as Hallyu MC

2007/06/07 | 279 views | Permalink | Source

Comedian Yoo Jae-suk is about to become the country's first 'Hallyu MC', as his hit entertainment show which ended in March in Korea is garnering explosive popularity in China. Since airing on Sichuan TV from early this year, "X-Man" has topped the ratings for the first time among all other programs in the same time slot during the May 1st Labor holiday in China. It has since retained the top spot with its ratings climbing even higher. In the show, led by MCs Yoo and Kang Ho-dong, a group of select stars play games. The star cast, skillful emceeing and sincere game playing have proven to appeal greatly to Chinese viewers. Yoo has been compared to a top Chinese MC due to his friendly looks and warm presentation. It has been difficult for MCs to join the Korean pop culture Hallyu wave in Asia because of the language barrier, but Yoo's uniquely friendly and sincere persona has overcome all obstacles.

Truly the No. 1 MC

Yoo is undoubtedly the number one MC on all three of Korea's terrestrial broadcast channels and beloved by producers and viewers alike. The shows he emcees post higher ratings than others. His presence is the key to a show's popularity and the public has taken a great interest in him. His speech and talent is not necessarily far superior to other MCs, nor is he a strikingly good looking man. Then what is the reason behind his overwhelming status and popularity? He hosts many programs but he works to demonstrate a different presentation style for each and every show. It's natural to assume the same MC would deliver the same lines and jokes on entertainment programs, but we do not see that pattern in Yoo's various programs.

Candid yet Considerate of guests

MC Yoo is talented with words. His clean-cut, refined speech removes any worry of a broadcast mishap. But of course, he did not reach this level of ability overnight. He stuttered often as a reporter for an entertainment news program in his earlier years. In a well known anecdote, he once mixed up two separate reports and literally combined two different news segments. The public now highly regards this garrulous MC, but he went through abundant effort and trial-and-error to reach this point. It was because he went through this learning process that he is now able to MC five major entertainment programs.

As an MC, you would want to stand out. You would tend to exaggerate to impress viewers. But Yoo has kept this obsessive urge at bay and has blurred the line between himself and the guests. He willingly pokes fun at himself for laughter and humor. His modest and humble image is why people applaud him and why he's called the best MC. Although at the top of his field, Yoo displays none of the typical star attitude and arrogance. He pokes fun at others too but he is more willing to be self-deprecating and yet considerate of others. Another of MC Yoo's trademark styles is to blend in with the guests. His comedy never goes so far as to be unpleasant. Yoo's ability is shown to the full in the current top rated reality/variety show "Infinite Challenge".

Yoo's day to day life is a continuous cycle of recording and getting recharged. The filming of 'X-Man' continues throughout Monday night so that he cannot help but rest on Tuesdays due to his hoarse voice. At times, he says he regrets talking too much, but he can't help it once recording starts and he gets in the mood. He records the talk show with his co-host Kim Won-hee on Wednesdays, 'Infinite Challenge' on Thursdays and 'Happy Together - Friends' on Fridays. On the weekends, he emcees for celebrity weddings and monitors his past week's programs at home. He has nearly no private life. A firm belief in what he does, philosophical insight and undying passion are other facets of the friendly MC Yoo, which is why he remains at the top of the field in the 16th year of his career after a long decade of being unknown. He will visit Chengdu, China sometime between late June and July to promote his show. We hope that his hearty comedy will retain its innocence for many years to come.

Debut: 1991 KBS college student gag competition
Nickname: Grasshopper
Seoul Institute of the Arts, broadcast/entertainment major

1991 Inaugural KBS college student gag competition
2003 Best TV presenter, KBS Entertainment Award
2003 Top prize in show/variety category, MBC Entertainment Award
2005 Grand prix, KBS Entertainment Award
2006 Best TV MC, 18th Korean Broadcast Producers' Award
2006 Awarded in TV entertainment section, 42nd Baeksang Arts Award
2006 'Speech award' from Blue Media
2006 Grand prix, MBC Broadcast & Entertainment Award

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