Sequels are rarely ever better than the originals and that might be the case with this week’s “Saturday Night Live (SNL) Korea.” The highly anticipated standup comedy followed up its first episode with a relatively poor outing, disappointing many viewers who stayed up late to see it live last Saturday night.
The overall quality of the sketches was downgraded and it seemed like the actors were just trying too hard to force a laugh. The host Gong Hyung Jin looked nervous in the beginning and his humor didn’t really translate well in any of the sketches. The script sounded like they were trying too hard and it felt like the writers were pushing the envelope with political parodies that rather seemed to work so well in the previous week’s episode.
Korean press say this is partly due to the cultural difference between Korean comedy shows and the way SNL has been run for over 37 years in the U.S. Political jokes are still a novelty in Korea and it’s going to take more than a couple episodes to fully grasp the nuances and tactics in writing these parody scripts. The lone bright spot of the show I would say was the “Weekend Update” segment anchored by the show’s director Jang Jin. He nailed it with yet another great performance, poking fun at Korean politics and culture in a variety of ways. I’m starting to really like this segment (Korean press are saying, “You just need 5 minutes of SNL Korea for a full week update on Korean news”), and here I’ll go through some of my favorite quotes by Jang Jin.
1) DDoS attacks ruled to be done by single person
“The Seoul police ruled that the DDoS attacks on the homepages of the Central Election Management Commission (CEMC) and Seoul Mayoral-elect Park Won Soon on October 26 was carried out by a single person. The report said Choi from the ruling party had ordered his assistant Gong to make the attacks, which paralyzed both websites on Election Day. Single-person crime…Would you believe it if the Korean War was a crime carried out by (former North Korean leader) Kim Il Sung alone?” – On October 26, the day of by-election in Korea, DDoS attacks which temporarily froze the websites of CEMC and Park Won Soon were carried out by an unknown person. Last week Seoul police ruled that it was done by a single person, who apparently had ties to the ruling party. The attacks were intended to paralyze all access to both websites, thus blocking people from learning how/where to vote for Park Won Soon, and speculation amounted that the ruling party plotted this scheme in order to drop voter turnout. Police investigation is still on-going and no one really believes the initial ruling, and thus came the Kim Il Sung comparison. He’s saying how ridiculous it is to conclude that the DDoS attack was done by a single person (there’s huge distrust in the current government and police administration as well). Thus, he’s comparing it to Kim Il Sung and the Korean War, which obviously wasn’t a single-person crime, either, and urging the police for a re-investigation, which later found evidence that more people might be involved in the case.
The “Kim Il Sung” line brought the loudest cheers from the crowd and created the most buzz in Korean press.
2) Celebrity “A” Sex Tape Leaked
“The sex tape that seems to feature celebrity ‘A’ has been the hottest issue in Korea lately. Whatever the truth is, it’s dirty and unpleasant news. We’re facing a busy and important time of our life now. We might face bigger issues if we lose our focus to menial matters. Let’s focus!” – A sex tape by a celebrity only identified as “A” has been leaked recently, becoming one of the hottest issues in Korea. It’s pretty much a known fact that the person involved in the video is the female announcer Han Sung Joo. Whatever the truth is, there have been rumors of conspiracy theories about the current administration spreading these sex tapes whenever they’re faced with difficult scandals. Currently, they are accused of planning the whole DDoS attacks, and rumor has it that the government is trying to divert public attention to other issues, which in this case would be a sex scandal by a prominent celebrity. We’ll never know what the truth is, but Jang Jin is urging Korean people to not get lost amidst the sex scandal, when more important matters are in hand right now.
3) Lee Juno reveals fiancé 23 years younger
“Lee Juno revealed his 23-year younger fiancé which garnered a lot of attention. We’ve heard critics say Lee Juno gained the least amount of success among the three Seo Taiji & Boys members. But at this moment, Lee Juno you are the best!” – Lee Juno, the former Seo Taiji & Boys member, announced his marriage last week to a 23-year younger fiancé. Despite being a member of one of the most successful and influential groups in K-Pop history, Lee Juno has never really achieved much success, even revealing to have gone bankrupt in the past. Other members Yang Hyun Suk is the head of YG Entertainment, and Seo Taiji own the most expensive building among all Korean celebrities. Lee Juno at least has the youngest wife and seems to have found a stable life, and much kudos to him for finding the one for his life.
4) Chinese people say “Korea is a history-fabricating country”
“A recent survey asked Chinese people to describe Korean people in a single word. The result? ‘History fabrication’ received the most votes. Korean fabricating history…so that means Koreans are producing knock-offs with historical facts…hmm it’s a bit weird to hear Chinese people say that.” – I won’t elaborate on this one.
5) Closing statement
“This week again, there were no news regarding the opposition party. We couldn’t find anything, and they just didn’t appear on news that much. Koreans feeling endangered by the current political situation are going out on the streets, getting hit by water bombs, yet it feels like these people (opposition leaders) are staying too quite. Politics is not sports. Just because your opponent messed up, it doesn’t mean you win. That’s it for ‘Weekend Update.’” – Jang Jin makes a valid point here. Last week’s episode, as I pointed out, saw criticism for making too much political jokes focused on the current administration. This week again, all of the news pieces were about the ruling party. But he made up for the loss at the end by making this statement, ensuring he’s going to maintain a certain level of balance in his view. I hope to see more parodies on the opposition leaders from next week.
Here’s the full video:
Thunderstix is the Editor-in-Chief for soompi.com. You can email him at [email protected], or follow his twitter.com feed at @eugenekim222.