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Saturday Night Live: Korea Style!

September 1, 2013 Leave a comment

By Noh Hyun-gi

Legendary American sketch comedy and variety show Saturday Night Live (SNL) has entertained the world with its pointed political satire and priceless skits for the past 37 years.

Channel tvN is taking on the formidable task of producing a Korean version. Famed director and writer Jang Jin, who will be directing the program, called it a dream come true at a press conference in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, Thursday.

But how the show full of acid political satire and sexual jokes will hit it off with the Korean audience remains to be seen.

The original

“Live from New York, Its’ Saturday Night!” Watching SNL, though not so well-known in Korea, is part of the American tradition. Every episode usually features a guest host, usually a celebrity, with a permanent SNL cast to perform live acts. In the opening sketch, various figures have made cameo appearances including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Korean version will follow the same format of a host and 16 cast members and will present 10 skits each Saturday.

Let’s talk politics

Last week, an opposition lawmaker shot a tear-gas canister into the main hall at the National Assembly as the governing party railroaded through a free trade agreement with the United States, prompting outbursts of criticism.

Jang believes today’s politics serves up a full dish for political satire.

“Before, any political satire could be directed at the ruling party. But nowadays there are a lot things to pick on in the opposition party as well,” he said.

Yet ridiculing politics is walking on thin ice and has been a realm for journalism. A podcast radio show “I’m a Weasel” has gained popularity by criticizing the current government. Recently Rep. Kang Yong-seok, who almost lost his Assembly seat over inappropriate remarks to female collegians aspiring to become announcers, filed a libel suit Thursday against comedian Choi Hyo-jong, for offending lawmakers during a show.

Jang said that he plans to be fearless and work on leveling the satire as the show goes on.

The hosts

The low recognition of SNL in Korea and the daunting role of the main guest host led many to decline the offer. Actor Kim Joo-hyuk, who has a calm and serious mask, will host the first episode. At the press conference Jang thanked Kim for taking on the challenge to make SNL Korea shine.

The producers of the show are well aware of these issues in importing the all-American show, which is why the show only has eight episodes planned. Jang said he hopes to make this a long-running show. He hopes the first season will attract more celebrities as hosts so it can continue. If Ahn Yeong-mi, the only female comedian for SNL Korea, can pull off either Rep. Na Kyung-won or Rep. Park Geun-hye like Tina Fey impersonates Sarah Palin it would be priceless.

SNL Korea will air starting Dec. 3 on tvN at 11 p.m.

 

Random Dan – I have watched a few different Korean comedy/sketch shows and they seem to be pretty funny.  The language barrier makes it tough to get the majority of the jokes but the best thing about stage comedy is that language isn’t exactly necessary.  If this show is anything like USA’s SNL it will involve current events, politics, and anything else to make an audience laugh.  I’m interested to see the reaction to this type of show in Korea.  Koreans take politics very seriously.  I’ve watched SNL for as long as I can remember.  I think Koreans need more laughter and hopefully this show can bring a new vision of entertainment.

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Categories: Check-It-Out, Korea, Politics, TV, USA

Korea Student Kills Mother – Keeps Hidden for Eight Months

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

By Kim Rahn – Korea Times

A high school student is suspected of having killed his mother and keeping the body hidden for eight months at their home after being pressured by her to get higher exam scores.

Gwangjin Police in eastern Seoul said Thursday they have requested an arrest warrant for the 18-year-old high school senior, identified as Ji, on suspicions of murdering his mother, 51-year-old Park.

Ji is suspected of having stabbed his mother to death at their home in eastern Seoul at around 11 a.m. on March 13. The body was kept in her room for eight months.

According to police, Park kept telling her son that he must enter a top-class university and should rank first in nationwide exams. When he obtained lower scores than her expectations, she didn’t give him food or forced him to stay awake at night to study.

Being afraid of her scolding, Ji had fabricated grade reports since middle school. His fear grew as his test scores fell after entering high school.

“The student said his mother was supposed to visit his teacher, and he was afraid she might find out that he fabricated his nationwide test grade to 62nd from 4,000th and inflict severe corporal punishment on him,” a police officer said, adding 4,000th was still within the top 1 percent of all students.

On the day before the crime, the mother, not satisfied with the grade of 62nd, told him he should do better, made him do push-ups, and beat him with a baseball bat and a golf club for about 10 hours, Ji said.

Ji lived with his mother after his father left home five years ago. But his friends said that he hadn’t shown any discontent or anger to his mother, adding he was cheerful. He invited some friends to his home to eat ramen together even after the crime.

When relatives or neighbors asked about his mother’s whereabouts after the murder, Ji told them that she had left home, too. The student sealed the door of the room, where the body was kept, with glue and tape so the odor of the decaying body would not leak outside.

The crime was detected when his father dropped in at the home. Becoming suspicious when the son tried to prevent him from entering, and noticing the door was sealed, the father called the police and the murder was revealed.

“During interrogation, he cried and confessed to the killing, saying the mother kept appearing in his dreams after the crime,” the officer said.

Random Dan- Another story here in Korea that shows just how high the stress level is when it comes to testing and college.  These kids are overworked and over stressed.  

Rant for Ramen (12 days of Christmas) Comedy Event: December 15

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment

From the Facebook event:

Rant for Ramen (12 days of Christmas) Event

As part of RMT’s 12 days of Christmas, Stand up Seoul will be hosting another long awaited RANT NIGHT.

rant: Verb: -to utter in a bombastic declamatory fashion

It’s simple. You choose your topic(s), and you get 5 minutes to essentially rant and rave and wow the audience with your karaizzy elocution skills. Basically, it’s bitching in a funny, interesting way.

5,000 won to get on the mic. (first come first serve, no more than 12) Anyone can participate!!! You don’t have to be a Stand up Seoul comedian. Winner gets the pot and a pile of delicious Ramen. 5 minutes each. Audience applause chooses the winner.

It’s awesome.
It’s hilarious.
It’s therapeutic.

See you there. Invite your friends on FB.

**This event is NOT in lue of Stand up Seoul’s montlhly open mic show. Stand up Seoul’s monthly will be on Dec 1st. But you should definitely go to both. http://www.facebook.com/events/275898545789305/

 

Random Dan: It will be the first 12 to sign up to get on stage.  I’m really hoping to do this.  Got plenty of stuff to rant about!  Should be a great night!  Everyone feels better after a good ranting!

Categories: Check-It-Out, Internet, Korea, Rant

Back on Blog

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s been a month or so since my last post.  Been really busy being lazy and not getting anything accomplished outside of my normal jobs.  I’ve done a few stand up acts and even had a paid gig.  But I’m not sure how much more I’ll do stand up.

It’s really fun to get up there and (try to) make people laugh but it just doesn’t seem to be as enjoyable as I thought it would be.  I don’t really like repeating jokes over and over again.  I might get back into doing improv with Improv Seoul.  I did that a few times and it’s a lot of fun.

I did a podcast in the past with my buddy Chance Dorland.  I am going to try to start doing another one pretty soon.  Will probably mostly be me and I’ll try to have different friends and other interesting people I’ve met.

Enough about me…how u doinnn?

Categories: Internet, Korea

The Ultimate Expat in Korea

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

You need to be able to check off these three criteria in order to be considered a perfect expat in Korea:

1.  Write a blog.  Be sure to include ‘Seoul’ in the title…but use it in place of SOUL or SOLDIER.  Or use ‘Kimchi.’  This will show how clever you are.  Then write about your daily experiences like how the bus was very packed or the Korean people stare at you because you aren’t Korean.  Also write like you are the first person to ever experience these things.

Obviously I am one of these assholes that has a blog but this is just the first step in becoming that ultimate expat asshole.

2.  Get an expensive camera.  With this camera be sure to take pictures of trees and bushes.  Also take a picture of EVERY meal you eat here.  Then you can consider yourself a culinary expert because you took a photo of a plate with rice and meat on it.  Also remember to take many pictures of the same looking temples over and over again.

So now you have a ‘IgotSeoul’ blog and an expensive camera.  You are almost there to becoming the ultimate expat.  Now, the final piece to the puzzle….

3. Get an acoustic guitar.  Some Korean girl told you that you look like John Mayer, so what do you do?  You get an acoustic guitar.  Now you can carry it around in a backpack while you take pictures of Korean trees.  After you’re finished with the pictures, you can upload them to your blog.

YES!  You’ve done it.  You are the ultimate expat in Korea.   Now kill yourself.

***I would like to add that there are plenty of blogs by people in Korea that are actually pretty sweet.  Check out the blogroll on my homepage for the some blogs I enjoy.***

North Korea Propaganda

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment

I love propaganda as much as the next guy.  Check out some of North Korea’s finer works:

So ronery.

Categories: Culture, Korea, Politics

FisForFriday: FREE in Seoul, Korea

August 12, 2011 Leave a comment

A lovely three day weekend here in Korea is coming up.  In light of the recent economical struggles across the globe, I thought today’s F would be: FREE.  Like the saying goes “If it’s free, it’s for me.”  Seoul is an awesome city.  There are many things to see and do.  Here are a few things you can do in Seoul for FREE this weekend:

Article by Michael Tieso (ArtOfBackpacking.com)

The War Memorial of Korea

Korea has been through several wars. This museum has exhibition areas both inside and outside with educational history lessons. When I went, not many people were there which made for a pleasant stroll through the museum. My favorite part however were the exhibitions and monuments outside. Displayed are tanks, vehicles, and aircraft you can go inside. The monuments are huge. The most noticable ones are in the front enterence – The Korean War Monument and The Statue of Brothers.

Address: 1ga 8, Yongsan-dong
Information: 02)709-3114
Subway: 5-minute walk from Samgakji Station (Exit 12), Subway Lines 4 and 6
10-Minute walk from Namyeong Station, Line 1
Bus: Get off at the War Memorial of Korea Main Gate/Samgakji Station, Ministry of Defense
The War Memorial of Korea Webiste

War Memorial of Korea by Dae-Wang, on FlickrWar Memorial of Korea by Dae-Wang, on Flickr

Insa-dong Shopping

A great place to shop for souvenirs, antiques, and artworks. It spands through several blocks and many of the roads are blocked for pedistrations only. The streets are seen as mixing traditional and modern Korea. Between the main road of Insadong-gil, there are small streets with well decorated traditional looking restaurants.

Subway: Line 1,3, Jongno-samga (exit 1) or Line 3, Anguk Station (Station 6)

Along the Insa-Dong Street by *Yueh-Hua 2011, on FlickrAlong the Insa-Dong Street by *Yueh-Hua 2011, on Flickr

National Folk Museum of Korea

Located inside the Gyeongbok Palace and seen from anywhere inside the palace is the National Folk Museum(http://www.nfm.go.kr:8080/english/main.jsp). At the National Folk Museum, walk through Korean history, traditional life, art, relics, and ceremonies and festivals of Korea. The best way to visit the museum is going when they provide their free bilingual museum tours. It’s educational and definitely interesting.

Information: (822) 725-4503
The museum is free but can also be entered through the Gyeongbok Palace. If you’re not interested in going to the palace, you must go through the side entrance of Gyeonbok Palace.
Take subway line 3, Anguk Station (exit 1)

National Folk Museum 국립민속박물관 國立民俗博物館 by skinnylawyer, on FlickrNational Folk Museum 국립민속박물관 國立民俗博物館 by skinnylawyer, on Flickr

Hongdae Neighborhood

Thanks to Hongik University, the area of Hongdae is full of bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping. Although those activities are not free, walking around the area at night brings for good entertainment. Street musicians roam in every corner and there’s several options for budget street food. Usually packed on weekends with both Koreans and foreigners.

Sangsu Station line 6 and Hongik University line 2.

Music in the park by Julio Martinez, on FlickrMusic in the park by Julio Martinez, on Flickr

Cheonggyecheon Stream

In the center of Seoul sits a stream that goes down 3.6 miles that has been recently restored in 2005. The stream offers a beautiful park along the way with small waterfalls, walk ways, and an ambient atmosphere. It’s a popular attraction especially with couples. The stream also holds a lot of history and Koreans find this stream to be an important part of Seoul. It’s the Central Park of Seoul. I recommend seeing the stream at night when the waterfalls light up near the bridge.

There are many ways to get here. One way is taking Subway Line 1: City Hall Station, Jonggak Station, Jongno 3-ga Station, Jongno 5-ga Station, Dongdaemun Station, Sinseoldong Station.You can find more information on the official tourism site of Korea.

Christmas on Cheonggyecheon Stream by Peter Garnhum, on FlickrChristmas on Cheonggyecheon Stream by Peter Garnhum, on Flickr
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