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Korean vs Western Humor

January 3, 2013

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It’s our first TL;DR in our new studio! We’re not exactly sure where we’re gonna film our TL;DRs, since we’re still waiting for furniture to come in, but we found this angle and thought it looked rather cute, so we decided to film there!

Anyhow, enough about the studio, which we’ll show (we promise) once we’ve fully designed it and put in the rest of the furniture; more about this week’s topic, which seems to be asked every single week. This week it got a ridiculous amount of thumbs up, though, so we thought we’d finally tackle it.

Now, it’s not a topic that we’re really fully comfortable in talking about, because humor is a deeply cultural thing, and it has many aspects that can only be appreciated by those in the know. So I’m sure that Korean people watching this video and reading this post can definitely add to this discussion, and I hope they will!

We did talk to one of our staff members who’s Korean, though (yes! We have A staff member now! Just four more until we can hire foreigners!) and she was telling us a bit more about Korean humor. While a lot of the humor we’re used to is primarily verbal humor, like bad puns or sarcasm/irony, she was telling us that Korean humor is mostly physical humor. There are SOME cases of verbal jokes, but it’s not really that popular, supposedly.

In fact, we were eating out the other day when Gag Concert was on, and we saw a guy covering an orange in wasabi sauce, so much so that it looked like the orange was a muffin and the wasabi sauce was put on like frosting. And then he dipped it in Soy Sauce. We asked her, with a very open mind, what the eff was going on. Supposedly this guy was very famous for doing bad stuff to himself, like drinking soy sauce (BEUGGRRGHH just dry-heaved at the thought of it) and this was another example of something he was about to do. Not really the best programming for a restaurant, I’d say, but we found it interesting, because I don’t really think that’d be too popular back where we’re from, no?

Anyhow, one of the things we think about is our videos and our style of humor. How well does it translate into Korean? We don’t have a big audience in Korea: over 90% of our audience is OUTSIDE of Korea. We figure it’s the language barrier, but probably also the humor isn’t the same, you know? Our Korean staffer also told us about Kang Ho Dong supposedly making a joke about IU and Eunhyuk, which we found to be bloody hilarious, but it didn’t go over well with fans who were furious, or something? I’m not sure. If that’s the case, then we gotta ask ourselves: how is it we haven’t been stabbed by anyone in Korea yet? Ha!

Anyhow, we’ve asked a lot more questions than we’ve answered. The big one is to whether humor has a universal style, or whether different approaches to humor are needed for different cultures. British humor, by the way, is sooooOOOOoooOOO beyond me. I know it should be funny. I just don’t know why.

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