Celebrity is not a problem for comedian in a sweat“Shin Ha-gyun was happier than me that I’m finally getting some attention!” said Chung Seong-ho, a comedian who is on a roll these days because of his performances in MBC-TV’s comedy show “Gag Ya.” Chung says that his recent popularity has saved his friend from losing face.
“He [Shin] would go, ‘Hey, I don’t have to explain to people who you are anymore,’” said Chung, talking about his close friend, an actor known for prominent roles in hit films such as “Welcome to Dongmakgol.”
Shin was Chung’s hero. But so were Ko Myeong-hwan, Moon Cheon-sik and Lee Hyeok-jae ― all of whom went to acting school with Chung. They became stars, but Chung was unknown for almost 10 years until he debuted as a comedian after winning a broadcaster’s annual star-search contest.
“There was a time I stayed in my apartment for two years just feeling terrible because nothing was happening for me,” the 30-year-old comedian said.
But for celebrities on television talk shows, imitating the way Chung Seong-ho speaks has become a fad.
In his show, Chung stars as a tutor who stammers and sweats while teaching a pretty young girl he secretly admires. But his character is not quite as clever or as quick as the girl, and he can only stutter and repeat her name in an effort to give her a rough time.
“Ju-yeon, how could you, Ju-yeon, you can’t do this to me!” he screams and then suddenly throws his hands up in the air and says, “This [skit] was my idea but why does the audience like you more. Ju-yeon, oh I don’t know.”
The girl remains unmoved, but by the time Chung finishes his lines, the audience is roaring with laughter.
Chung said he would have never tried to be a comedian if it weren’t for advice given by his professor at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.
The man, a former TV producer, told Chung he would probably be popular if he tried broadcasting. He took the advice but that was the beginning of some difficult days.
“Do you remember the Gollum character from “Lord of the Rings” that comedian Cho Hye-ryeon did several years ago?” Chung asked. “Well, the Legolas the elf beside her was me ― not that anyone remembers that.”
“A producer once joked that it was because I looked ‘too normal’ and was ‘too tall’ [he is 6 ft. tall] to look funny,” he said. “I think he felt sorry for me. and my plight.”
And finally, he paired up with Kim Ju-yeon (the student in his act) and went into a training camp to come up with a comedy skit. Out of 20 ideas devised, the tutor-student version got selected by the comedy’s producer and they were on air.
After every new episode is aired, video clips are immediately uploaded on most user-created-content Web sites by their fans.
One of the most talked-about scenes on the Internet is how Chung manages to sweat all the time. So the most frequent questions that he receives these days is, “Do you spray your face with water before you come on the stage?”
“I didn’t know that my sweating face was worth a question,” he said. “I am just thankful that people finally care about me.”
by Hong Soo-hyun,Lee Min-a