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.

  1. Hi Martina and Simon! Just discovered your channel/blog about a year ago, first time posting. Love love love you guys!

    Being from a multicultural background myself, I understand how humor doesn’t translate well at all. I’ve also found that ghosts, monsters, horror stories or urban legends don’t translate well either. In short, my Asian friends/family find Western monsters/ghosts to be kind of ridiculous, and vice versa. What has your experience been? Are there Korean monsters or ghost stories that you find funny rather than scary?

  2. i have another question were do u get korean fashion?

  3. Wow, this would be good for me to know, because I’m really quite a sarcastic person..like pretty much a lot… So if I ever get to go to Korea or anything and make Korean friends, I’d really have to try my hardest to not be so sarcastic >.<
    And now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever watched any Korean videos that had anything sarcastic or anything like that…

  4. Compared to their native Korean music, how well is North American music reviewed in South Korea? I’m super eclectic and love all kinds of music from whatever country so I can acknowledge when something is good, great, or has potential but I’d really like to know what they think of our music videos, music, and artists. Which North Am. artist do you think does the best out there?

    • Only the bands and artists that sound girly with high voices like Jason Mraz and Maroon 5. Korea literally has the least eclectic music scene ever.

    After watching this I realize how grateful I am for my North American humor. Lol I love watching Korean variety shows too (I was just re-watching the YG Family special of Strong Heart and was laughing my ass off) but damn, no “your mom” jokes? Time to edit my repertoire of witty retorts.
    And yes Simon, I did see Martina at the very end of the video. Lol it’s so hard to choose who’s the funniest out of the two of you. Hmmm…I say Spudgy is. Lol

  6. Lmao I feel the same as Simon! I swear I’m the funniest person ever and then my friends shut me down like, “No.” Lmao

  7. There are enough sarcasm in Korean jokes – maybe not common in the media, but it is very common in everyday lives.

    it’s funny that as a Korean living in North America I felt the same thing! North American at first glance do not seem to enjoy sarcasm/self-deprecating jokes. That feeling was just because I did not know how to make proper sarcastic remarks in a context of different culture/different language.

    By the way, NO MAMA JOKES in Korea… That never can be a taken as a joke in Korea (possibly in far Eastern Asian culture). Jokes involving family members are almost always considered as very rude.

    On the other hand, sometimes just like Martina’s students did (by the way, I graduated THAT exact high school), some Korean do not always take death/suicide as morbid as westerners. It could be a joke in some context.

  8. Also, IMITATION is pretty big here. Absolutely agree!

  9. Scientists have studied whether the inability to grasp sarcasm is actually an indicator of mental disease. Should I worry about my Korean friends??


  10. Lol. Dave Chappelle. He’s hilarious. I only live around an hour from his home in Yellow Springs.

  11. Can you talk about Block B and whats going on with them and there company? PLEASE

    • As you know there are so many things floating around. I know you won’t know everything because there company won’t till you. But i am wondering what is happening in the News about them in Korea. I am also wondering if you think this might cause them to disband?

  12. For the next TLDR can you guys teach us some basic Korean words?

  13. Dear Simon and Martina,
    What is the healthcare system like in S. Korea? Also, what is it like for people with pre-existing conditions? Is it hard to get medical insurance there like it is in the State?

  14. I have a question for tl;dr. Why do many Kpop bands ( espically super junior) sing parts of their songs in English? You never see teen idols from Canada or the United States ( like Justin bieber) singing in Korean for no apparent reason. Can you explain this?

  15. my TL;DR question:

    I’ve noticed that you guys have been getting lots of bashing and negative comments,
    //which is pretty much normal for anyone who gets a bit famous I guess //
    how do you both deal with that?
    was there a certain comment that made you go “ouch that hurt” ??

    sorry for the depressing question :p

  16. Oh man, with all the end of t he year kerfuffle I hadn’t been able to catch up with your videos! I didn’t realize how much I missed you guys! My lips almost cracked when I saw you guys had uploaded this TL;DR (smiles!) <3. I love Gag Concert, but I do find some of the skits overly exaggerated sometimes, but like you guys said, there are cultural differences that define humor too. My most favorite skits right now are 'Brave Guys', 'Discoveries of Life' and 'Four Men' – there is so much epicness on that show. I tried watching SNL Korea, but I didn't get their humor at all O_o – Hell, I dont even like the American version. My favorite all time show is Running Man!! – I hope they never cancel that show xD

    Thanks for making my day! <3

  17. Martina, I really love your hair in this video!

  18. Recently PSY has been under a lot of scrutiny in the States because of a very anti American statement he had made about 10 (give or take) years ago saying that he wanted to kill all americans or something like that. So I was wondering how much of this is true and if so if you know what the events surrounding a statement like that where because I can’t imagine it was said without cause. The whole thing just seems strange to me.

    • Here’s a really good article explaining the whole deal: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/07/gangnam-nationalism-why-psys-anti-american-rap-shouldnt-surprise-you/ The article is “Gangnam Nationalism: Why Psy’s anti-American rap shouldn’t surprise you” by Max Fisher on The Washington Post’s site. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong about comments or actions criticizing a country or government. In fact, people should criticize governments! However, the lyrics “Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers / Kill them all slowly and painfully” are appalling and inappropriate no matter who the “their” refers to. I believe it’s shameful that N.EX.T. wrote and that Psy performed a song advocating the killing of innocent relatives of those they feel are not so innocent.

  19. kekeke, sarcasm is like Canada’s third official language, lmao :P

  20. How do native Koreans feel about Koreans in the US? Also how would they feel if a Korean born in the US didn’t know Korean? I’m a half Korean living in the US and don’t speak much Korean but am visiting over the summer so this is something I am worried about. Thank you and bai!

  21. Kudos to you for liking Dave. So funny! =D

    And Yes, the ending was In Living Color Jim Carry’s character and he was the volunteer fireman. =]

  22. sorry simon, but i personally laugh harder with martina’s goofiness!

    ALTHOUGH when simon goes “SO NASTEY!” it’s the equivalent to friends’ joey’s “HOW U DOIN’?” i can’t help it! hahahahaha

  23. I understand the differences oh too well being in the military and having a KATUSA (Korean Augmented To United States Army) that works under me. I am always using sarcasm and “western” style humor at work and half of the time my KATUSA PFC Park will just give me a blank look or I will have to explain it to him. As we get used to each other over the months it doesnt happen as often but sometime things are just lost in translation so to speak. you can really tell in the group of KATUSAs who has gone to school in noth america or not.
    Also on a side note, any chance of ever having a live studio audience there???

  24. Lol half way through, I realized this was a looong tl;dr. xD But so much sense! Marathoning Running Man atm and you reminded me of Jae Suk’s reaction to eating hot stuff… >_<

  25. As someone who watched a lot of In Living Color I can appreciate the Fire Marshall Bill reference… I still use the expression “Homey don’t play that” from the homey the clown skits.

  26. I wanted to know what opinion you both have on Block B’s injunction against their company, Stardom. Especially since you have interviewed Block B previously, I really want your take on this controversy, since I feel you both to be a bit more impartial and with a bit more insight than us BBCs. Honestly, our fandom is taking the news a bit hard.

  27. Yes, I did watched that end xDD gosh Martina~ xDD

  28. Question for next TLDR- I know that when Martina sprained her ankle, you
    went to the hospital for that, but what do you do in Korea when you
    need other medical related tests/checkups/etc done? Do you go for
    checkups, eye exams, dental cleanings, etc in Korea, or do you do that
    when you go to Canada to visit? Are there a lot of English speaking
    medical facilities and is medical insurance an issue? Thank you. :)

  29. kpopfan123

    “how is it we haven’t been stabbed by anyone in Korea yet? Ha!” Don’t say that!! Not even in a jokingly manner!! > . . <)

    I appreciate your hard work!


    P.S: love your background! :3
    P.S.s: don't know who Fire Marshall Bill is – . -''

  30. I almost spit my coffee out at the end with your Fire Marshall Bill. I seriously wasn’t expecting that and instantly was hoping to see Simon do a Wanda impression. No such luck though.

  31. these videos are always so useful and interesting, can’t wait for the next one :)

  32. Jim Carrey as Fire Marshall Bill!!!! LOVE IT!!!

  33. I’d like to as a silly question…What does “TL; DR” means?

  34. i love your humor though =D

  35. i found this really interesting, thank you guise for doing this. Though I dont really like physical humour, some of it does make me laugh and I’m starting to like the sound effects too XD. But as a british person myself I don’t know why don’t you get british humour? I would have said it was pretty similar to yours. I guess it can be a bit dark sometimes and I dont know if you guise do deadpan humour or not, but mostly its just sarcasm, and its often a silly too. I do remember an seeing interveiw with Justin Beiber (I think that he comes from Canada too. Right?) and he really didn’t get dry and deadpan humour at all.

  36. They should review these dance people who do covers of kpop songs but only dancing and there freaking amazing. The dance group i believe is st.317 something like that and they did a cover of shinees Sherlock and i felt it matched the song. —Mabye the could use this as a next TL DR or WTF or music Mondays or something??

  37. I always find you funny, guise!..guise?..okay..YAAAY Doctor Who!! Did you guise watch the Christmas Special this year? :D :D

  38. A big problem is that if you make a joke you have to be sure it doesn’t embarrass or offend anyone. Causing someone to lose face can kill a joke before it’s finished. That’s probably why Kang Ho Dongs joke about two loved celebrities didn’t go over well. And sarcasm in English requires some intonation something that doesn’t always get picked up on by non native speakers.

  39. I’m with u on the British humor bit.. just don’t get it..

  40. *response to martina’s exit* you guys are so random…it’s just awesome!

  41. OMG! The no sarcasm while talking will be hard for me. I’m the epitome of being sarcastic. I use sarcasm in nearly everything I say when talking to people. But only in a joking way. And I do ALOT of over acting in things I do as well.

  42. One thing I’ve noticed is that any celebrities labelled as being 4th dimensional or bizarre tend to be the ones that have a sense of humour closely related to ours. As for the British sense of humour, I don’t get the difference (British through and through) unless you’re talking about that stiff upper-lip kind of humour. Now that’s waaaaaaaaaaayy beyond me

  43. What’s the deal with Korean fans. Why are hey so serious about the groups they like and if you are a VIP can you also be a Sone and other things. I’m a fan of everyone in Kpop pretty much.

  44. Yeah, I used to think Korean humour was innocent too; however; I saw SNL with Jay Park and was mind blown. LIterally, all the jokes and skits were sexual.

  45. what do Korean guys think about foreign girls? I’d heard that majority of Koreans prefer to marry other Koreans and that there is a problem with multicultural families??

  46. What are some stereotypes koreans have about americans?

  47. Doctor Who! Haha, I went to a Doctor Who marathon party for New Year’s (Time Lord Party!) and the next day I was wondering, “Hmmm, I wonder if Simon and Martina are Doctor Who fans?”

  48. Korean humor can take some getting used to. At first, I’d read the subs and hear the uproarious laughter and ask WTH because I didn’t get it.
    Now I just smile and nod and laugh at appropriate times.

  49. Lol self inflicted pain is quite popular in the U.S.. A certain movie w/ two sequels is solely about that. Also AFV but that’s supposedly accidental pain.

  50. Yes. I remember Fire Marshall Bill.

  51. OMG! I loved In Living Color and Fire Marshall Bill was my fav. Do you guys or anyone else remember Homey D. Clown and Vera de Milo the steroid abusing girl with the horse laugh. They were my favorites and I still laugh till this day.

  52. Marta Sälöen

    “You’re funny looking”

  53. Martina’s Fire Marshall Bill impression at the end brought back memories! “Let me show ya something!!!”

  54. I remember in a literature class one time, my teacher asked us which kind of play fairs the best throughout time. I thought it’d be humor, because most people I know find humor shows to be, well, funny. But he said that no, it was actually romance that’s easiest for people to enjoy even hundreds of years later. The reason being that humor/comedy is very very specific to time and location. It’s hard to understand jokes from another culture and time period; but romance is something most people can relate to. I can imagine it’d be hard to know what to say in another culture without offending people, especially when you still have limited language skills, because you may say things that are perfectly acceptable and understood where you’re from, but people in your new location won’t understand. :3

  55. My question is more of the Serious Nature… I know that south korea has four seasons and mountains, DO THEY HAVE YETIS (or Bigfoot’s) in the hills of Korea!!??

  56. changeseverydamntime

    This is one of the things I like most about being British. It’s easier to knock out someone who is 20 pounds lighter than you as opposed to someone 20 pounds heavier. I like to think of British humor as among the heavyweights of world humor, North American is closer to lightweight and from my experiences living there I would say Korean humor is more flyweight. This is not ranked in terms of most funny but in terms of most accessible.

    British humor is darker, more awkward, offensive and self deprecating. There are very few taboo subjects as long as the joke is funny enough; there may be a little controversy but most people just appreciate the joke. In comparison North American humor is much cleaner, less edgy and more straightforward . Korean humor is much much much less abrasive, offensive and nowhere near as dark. Much lighter and easy to understand why it may qualify as funny even if you don’t find it to be so.

  57. I’m a korean citizen, but I live in usa. my parents watch dramas and variety shows all the time, and they laugh so.hard. I mean, I can hear their laughter from the other side of the house. I think that they’r pretty funny.

  58. I’m a TV junkie from Korea and I don’t watch Running Man. I just don’t find it that funny but somehow Running Man seems to be very popular among international fans. I know it’s doing well with ratings in Korea but I just don’t understand why it’s so exceptionally popular outside Korea. I don’t see many foreigners go crazy about Infinite Challenge or Gag Concert. Language barrier maybe?

  59. Oh, so Koreans love overreacting. I think I can do that. But to tone down my sarcasm is suicide for me. I just can’t not be sarcastic..

  60. Applesauce 21

    Just a note about the insulting style humour, that is definitely really prevalent where I live. For instance, 5 of my closest friends are 5ft10 and over, and they constantly give me a ribbing for being 5ft2, but it’s really affectionate. Jonny will ask if I want stilts when I go to a concert, or Alex says “That’s cute, is it from the kid’s section?” XDXD. For me, it’s just a joke, and I enjoy having a banter with them like that, but how well would that translate into other cultures do you think? Would people get offended?

  61. It is funny how you mentioned the british humor at the very end and that you’re not diggin it. because, I ,for example Love british humour, I also find french humor hillarious, also the russian one. though the russian humour usually leaves me baffled at first, but then its absolute weirdness and crazyness makes the whole thing funny.
    though I just can’t appreciate most of the american jokes, etc. most of them are just so brutual and insulting, etc that it just seems plain disgusting or painful to me… (I’ve never come across Canadian humour, though)
    however, the interesting thing is, that I strongly dislike the majority of lithuanian jokes(since it’s from my motherland, I should be digging it, right?). They are just too kinky/dirty and vulgar for me *sigh*
    So i guess the sense of humour depends not only one’s nationality, but also has a lot to do with the family he/she was raised in and his/her personality…

  62. Applesauce 21

    hahaha, I laughed so hard when I saw that comment about British humour, since I’m English :D It’s odd though, because before I met some North Americans I’d never even heard of the concept: “What? Our jokes are strange? Really?!”. I was so surprised. But now, I guess we do seem to have “inside jokes” as a country, but I don’t think it’s an English/Scottish/Irish/Welsh thing – I’m pretty sure every country does it. It makes me proud in a weird way though. Like, for instance, this morning my mum told me “Come straight home, do not pass go, do not collect £200″. To a non-english person that might seem bonkers, but I got the monopoly reference XD Anyone else got idiosyncratic jokes to share?

  63. I kinda get the korean, or asian if you will, humour. Although they also do a lot of language jokes. If you are lucky the translator will tell you why they started the canned laughter, but usually you have to pause the video to read it and then be like “oh okay”. That is stuff you don’t really understand unless you understand the language well enough. But the rest I usually find pretty funny.

    The one thing I am still not really used to is the hidden camera (unless that was just a Invincible Youth thing). I mean they keep going until someone is dying of shame or literally crying and then they just shout “hidden cameraaaaa!” and all is cool again and they think it is the funniest thing ever. I am just used to the silly hidden camera jokes they normally do over here. Or maybe trying to scare people in Scare Tactics. But it is really weird to see people stand there and just destroy someone and then just laugh about it. I think even more so because everything else is so based on respect.

    And I love British humour (except maybe Russell Brand, never got why he was popular) and sarcasm.

  64. PunkyPrincess92

    hahahaha Martina’s april fool was so funny!!!….but also not funny when you think about it
    i remember when i first watched a variety show, probably Star King?, and i found it so odd because of all these effects they were using!!! like making someone’s (especially KHD) head large, lightning, darkening someone out to show they’re gloomy and so on!!! but i quickly got used to it!
    also sometimes i find something funny but the audience or everyone in the show finds it SO incredibly funny (that they start clapping) that i’m just left there waiting for them to stop!
    anyway i absolutely love watching Running Man and Infinity Challenge!!!

    which reminds me….there was and episode in IC where Thierry Henry came in as a guest!!!! it was such a freakin’ hilarious episode!!!! oh my goodness i was holding onto my stomach so much!! but that’s because i’m used to seeing the members act like such crazy freaks and doing their slapstick humour, but it was also so funny seeing Thierry Henry’s reaction to it all!!! he was just laughing and you can tell he was thinking ‘what the hell are these guys doing?’

  65. Oh my gos, you know doctor who! so happy!

  66. I have a question for the TL DR
    I am a big fan of korean rap and hiphop. I heared most of the underground artists (or not known well artists) like Huckleberry P, Psycoban, Bizniz, Deepflow, ……. are meeting in Hongdae sometimes for the rap-battles. but I never saw any of them in TV shows or music events. Even the 1llionaires (Dok2, The Quiett, Beenzino), who are well known are more underground. Is rap music not accepted by the koreans? can you buy the cd´s in stores like others or are there other places for them?

  67. I dont get the ‘British humour is soooo beyond me’ thing – are we really that different? What british comedy things have you guys seen? (just curious :P)

  68. you should of just got naked when u ate the kimchi xD

  69. I never liked sarcasm myself, since even in areas that use it a lot it can be seen as demeaning. It’s easy for me to tell the difference between someone using sarcasm as a funny joke, and someone using it to kind of insult you, but someone still learning English would probably have a tough time.

  70. I worked with Koreans in Samsung – they were like machines in work. They had no sense of humor, whatsoever.

  71. Hahahaha, that April fool made me laugh so hard XDDDD

    Eeer, I didn’t understand why you wrote “Just four more until we can hire foreigners” ? Does this mean I can start writing my curriculum vitae ? :D:D

  72. Fire Marshal Bill!

    Yes, still funny.
    No, I don’t care how old that makes me.

  73. That’s the best April fools joke by students anywhere in the world.

  74. i watch Korean variety shows… in subtitles.. and i’ve noticed that most of the humor is based on the talks/convos/dialogues between the hosts and guests or amongst the hosts themselves and it comes from witty replies and expressions.. of course Kang Ho Dong’s laughter itself feels like an exaggeration sometimes.. but i think there is more to it than just physical aspects of it… you can see dark humor in movies like ‘Going by the Book’, Kiss me Kill me… etc… but we cannot completely rule out that sarcasm doesn’t do the trick in Korean entertainment…

  75. OMG! Dave Chappelle, Doctor Who, and In Living Color references?!
    You guys win the internet. :3 1,000,000+ points for EYK!

  76. You guise should introduce your lovely staff to us!

  77. Relations between North and South Korea are always in the news here. In your opinion, how does the general korean public feel about reunification?

  78. It’s an old variety show that ended, but I highly recommended the first season of Family Outing! It was my first variety show and it was hilarious! They had a great crew.

  79. I always gets excited to see my drawing in the background and I just puke rainbows *asdkjasdfsdkda* Love you guys :) ~

  80. This really explains why most people don’t find Onew funny. He usually uses “verbal” jokes. Though his sangtae is the best physical humor, I always found his comments and jokes to be funny while others on shows seem to ignore it.

  81. Oooh, that was one of Jim Carey’s characters on In Living Color!!

  82. My question deals with sasaeng fans. I only recently learned about them and it came as kind of a shock because I figured that stalking was illegal everywhere, but I guess what I really want to know is that is this kind of behavior acceptable in Korea? Aren’t there any laws against it, like laws against stalking, harassment, or assault? It seems like Korea is a lot more accepting of obsessive behavior. :/

  83. Are you guise religious? If so, are you Christians? And do you go to church every week? What is the religious scene like in South Korea?

  84. AHAHAHA!!! Yesterday I was trying to explain Fire Marshal Bill to my 12 year old cousin and her friend. It was totally lost on them. Especially when I said, “Lemme tell you somethin.” They were supposed to fall on the floor laughing. They did not. They did, however, laugh when I said, “I like toyturles.” http://youtu.be/CMNry4PE93Y

  85. thanks for answering this question, guise! i tried to watch an episode
    of gag concert the other day and although the crowd was going nuts for
    the acts, i didn’t find it funny at all. that’s when i initially thought
    that koreans had a different sense of humor.

    running man is a
    small exception for me. they do have some physical gags that i find
    funny. i watch star golden bell and other variety game shows that have
    mostly verbal jokes that i get and find really hilarious. i don’t relate
    to the jokes but i get them from watching a lot of other programs. it
    seems like the more i watch, the more i get the jokes. maybe in time i
    will have a “korean” sense of humor.

  86. I’m DONE. Tonight, I saw unexpectedly saw Andy Samberg’s face in Portlandia, witnessed The Lonely Island in the orgy scene in The Watch AND the scary snowman on Youtube courtesy of my brother; and now I hear Simon did a SHORYUKEN AND A CARTWHEEL to please a director. My brother and I have laughed so hard in the past hour. Thanks for adding to it guys. :D

    P.S. My brother says “Do not joke about Shoryukens in Korean. The Korean players will DEMOLISH YOU.” Ok then.

  87. i think the fact that korean humor is often physical makes it easier for others to enjoy it. for example Gangnam style, the song was catchy yes, but it was probably the body gags and such and grabbed so much attention. while north american humor is a lot of times verbal, sarcasm and puns etc, which makes a person despite knowing english but who isn’t cultured in that way find it not funny. and i have to agree the editing makes it hilarious! Running man makes me laugh like crazy!

  88. Question; so my gaydar is totally borked in Korea. I largely love the metrosexuality (men who bathe regularly and dress well, what’s not to like?) but what goes beyond the norm? Like, I was in this coffee shop and a young guy sat down in front of their computer, pulled a FLATIRON out of his manbag, plugged it in, and started to straighten his hair using the monitor as a mirror.

    This isn’t really a focused question, honestly i just wanted to tell that story.

  89. Oh A Fellow Whovian! I love it! :) yeah British humor takes a while to get used to.

  90. “how is it we haven’t been stabbed by anyone in Korea yet? ”

    LOL. I do kinda wonder about whether comments on your videos by offended people are due to the fact that they don’t understand English well, or the fact that they don’t understand that it’s supposed to be a JOKE, and that you can actually say things just to be funny that aren’t dead serious criticisms. I mean, is EVERYTHING in kpop sacrosanct?

    Oh, and I’d be OK because I NEVER use sarcasm. ( <–sarcasm)

  91. I love sarcasm jokes. I don’t know how I would survive if no one would understand them!! :D

  92. Yes, I remember Fire Marshall Bill!!!!

  93. :) Aww, I don’t know many people who remembers In Living Color, let alone that character Martina was imitating….Jim Carrey as a burnt safety instructor…Oh, the 90s

  94. Dig the Doctor Who reference, guys. xD

  95. TL;DR Question

    Hi ^^Do you guys think that people recognize to you? And if so you’re are ready for that? Do you like to be famous? :D

  96. I can handle watching Gag shows if I’m deliberately watching it with someone and there are subtitles. But when someone else is playing it – usually loudly – and all I’m hearing is the noise, it drives me crazy! Since 2009 I’ve been living with Koreans on and off, and of course now I live with my husband. He might start watching a gag show and then suddenly sense me getting annoyed and but earphones in. However, we share the apartment with a Korean couple who will be in the living room with a gag show on the loudest possible volume and they will be on the floor laughing so hard… The noise is so extreme and I find it so annoying that I sometimes have to just leave the apartment.

    If I’m watching it properly, yeah it can be quite funny, but just the sound is so annoying, especially the repeat bit like “WOOO WOOO WOOO.” Ahhhh!

    My husband listens to a radio show called Cul2…. I think? About people telling funny stories, sometimes he’ll translate them for me and some are hilarious, but some don’t translate well at all. One thing on tv that he was reenacting for me one time was someone talking about their father who is old and cranky and complaining about everything: like the water in the bath at the bath house is too hot, the cold one is now too cold, the food is too spicy. That was actually really funny because I think it translated well as most cultures probably have old people complaining about everything.

    My husband understands Western humor quite well, not all the jokes that are a play on words though and often on TV shows the joke is too fast. I’ll often pause, explain, he’ll laugh really hard once he gets it, and we’ll continue. My husband does get sarcasm really well usually, and uses it himself, but I think that is because of his personality. He is a really funny guy, but not in the typical exaggerated Korean way, he waits and watches and then dead pans something. Sometimes Koreans assume he is a bit dumb but actually it’s his comedic timing which is hilarious to English speakers.

  97. TL;DR Question,
    Do you guys ever regret giving up teaching?

  98. I don’t know, I think if any humor is performed well, it is universal. But I am not a slap-stick humor kind of girl, more dry wit. I will never understand/appreciate the Three Stooges (I’m American and I just don’t get it). But the best bit of television that I have seen recently was the tvN drama Answer Me 1997. It was soooo incredibly funny, if anyone has not seen it you are missing out. On another note, the Wayans Brothers are supposedly gearing up to have a 21st century “In Living Color”.
    Have you found anyone that appreciates the humor of “Chappelle Show” in Korea?

    • In Living Colour and Chapelle Show were two of the most vital comedy shows to me and I am not American. But I am affected a lot by American culture. I too wonder if Koreans would be able to get that humor since much of it is so irreverent and based on specifically American issues. I mean would Rick James saying ‘ Cocaine is a hell of a drug’ resonate with someone who wasn’t really aware of all of his crazy antics back in the 80′s? ( Super Freak used to be my wake up alarm when I was a teenager) And Charlie Murphy with his story about Prince, which I found Laugh Out Loud hilarious, would it even make sense to people who don’t know how wired Prince is considered to be ( but very respected nonetheless) .

  99. thisisjustforfunval

    I was a huge fan of In Living Color! I’m older than you guys, how do you know about it?! Lol jk. Personally I must be universally in-tune to various humor styles, I laugh at pretty much everything, even British humor.

  100. Hi guys, this is my first time asking… well, i don’t know if you guys have any latin friends living in Korea, but i would like to know what’s the korean people’s opinion about latins, in terms of culture, looks, etc… hope you guys could help me with this.

    (sorry for my english, i don’t think is that good)

  101. Ha ha, Martina at the end was hilarious! XD

  102. *raises hand* I remember Fire Marshall Bill. Let me show you something!!
    FYI, I was five when I started watching In Living Color… I’m old… > 3 <

  103. Doctor Who joke! woohoo! Doctor Who reference!!! :D

  104. The ending!! LOL! Love the cute corner of your office!

  105. It was Jim Carey. I remember him from In living colour.

  106. Hair coloring in the school system and in society

    I know that the Korean school system is very pro-rules and conservative, like not having nail polish except the nail dye thing that you showed us before. Do theses same rules apply to the teachers? Not only with nail polish but with hair dyes, like Martina with pink hair and Simon with dark reddish hair? Is it viewed with the same discrimination as tattoos? What about out side of the work place or in the entreatment business, as a lot of K-pop stars dye their hair as well. Thanks! -CyofAsia

    • Peripherally related: I have had not just 6th, but 4th grade, 3rd grade, and KINDERGARTEN girls with dyed hair. And a 5th grade boy with a curly perm. And this is rural Korea too, hardcore country. /csb

  107. I got to admit the crazy editing of the comedy shows was odd to me at first but then I did end up kinda liking it. It’s different and grabs your attention.

  108. ((: This is for a future knock-knock joke:
    -Knock knock?
    -Who’s there?
    -You know.
    -You know wh-

    BTW, love your videos. Keep it up and thanks for everything!! <33

  109. Holy crap I just laughed so hard! A Doctor Who reference and Fire Marshall Bill in the same video. A friend and I were just doing FMB imitations the other day. Is that sad?

  110. I remember In Living Colour (sp? wasn’t it spelled weird?), but alas… I am old lol. I find myself watching Korean shows all the time and I have no idea what the hell is going on lol…. yet I still smile and laugh, I would agree their shows are very “inviting” :p I’ve seen some examples of humor from the Netherlands and I have no clue how their humor works :-/ It’s pretty wacky.

  111. Maybe I’ve just been watching too many Kdramas, but I feel like sarcasm, wit, and word plays are used plenty by Koreans, just not always in the way non-Koreans always expect them. (Though they seem pretty hilarious to me – anyone watching King of Dramas? Witty, ironic, satirical, the funny man-straight man routines – Choi Siwon’s timing? HILARIOUS!!!!) And I think it also just depends on different people and how they like to use language. There are plenty of North Americans who don’t sarcasm either. I myself am South African – and we use plenty of sarcasm, though we might try and make more puns and play with words in a more British way (but I think that’s all subjective). Many of my Korean friends (and many are not super proficient English speakers either) have been pretty witty and sarcastic when we’ve hung out, and it’s not like some of them have lived in the U.S. for very long. I guess what I am trying to say, is that I think it depends on people, and not as much on culture.

  112. Big Bang’s TOP got mailed wrong or something. His sense of humor is practically British–any time I see him on shows he SLAYS me, I die laughing. Whereas the other people on the show are just like “…uh…ok?”

    • I agree re TOP. I also love SS501′s Kim Hyun Joong who has a similar sense of humour. Both he and TOP are often described as being “4D” or having a 4th Dimensional personality (ie. eccentric, quirky, wacky, off the wall etc). I think its a terrific short hand term to describe both of them. Given that they are both 4D, its not that surprising I suppose that they are apparently good friends. If folks haven’t watch Kim Hyun Joong on the Korean variety show, “We Got Married” (from a few years back), they should. He is hilarious.

    • Mailed wrong ^^ That’s actually the overall impression he gives!

    • Ha! Mailed wrong! I love that but it totally makes sense ^^

  113. I remember Fire Marshall Bill!!! OMG I’m old …. OTL

  114. Isabel Ruby

    Korean SNL?!?!?!???!? OM-GEE-GEE-GEE baby baby……

  115. Maybe you don’t see much of sexual humor on tv because most of the time they want it on slots before 10pm? Because SNL korea is almost nothing BUT sexual humor (the Jay Park episode anyone? yeah XD)

    I do see a lot of corny language jokes though and I am NOT opposed to it at all haha I’m not sure what the term for it is, but its the one when you make puns using words that sound similar or alike. An example of a lot of verbal humor I can think of off the top of my head is the wacky martial arts skit on Gag Concert, the physical humor would sometimes be lost if you didn’t get what they were saying.

    I’m sorry Martina but the prank your students pulled was brilliant. May not be funny to you because you’re on the receiving end but that was a great prank, as far as pranks go.

    I think some styles of humor ARE universal, its just the content and delivery that differ between cultures, like slapstick/physical humor. That said, humor is also such a subjective thing. Even within the same culture, you’ll have differing opinions on what is funny and what isn’t, like that Kang Hodong joke which might’ve been funny to other people outside of IU and SJ fans. I don’t know what the joke was but I wouldn’t judge the humor of a joke just based on the fact that fans got angry over it. Us fans..we forget to take off our goggles sometimes ^_^” Like how Simon forgets that he’s lame sometimes (its okay Simon, I laughed at your lame jokes. I have very low standards of humor, but I laughed? so..yay?)

  116. I’ve noticed the prevalence of body gags in Korean variety shows. The editing really does enhance its hilarity.

    On the other hand, I’ve also found that there is in fact a lot of verbal humor involving word play in variety shows. It’s less accessible to people who don’t understand Korean though – a lot of the time the words/sounds don’t translate the same way into English and the humor is lost. A meticulous subber will put a translator’s note explaining the pun/play on words, but there’s usually so much information flashing across the screen in a variety show that you’d have to notice and pause the video to read it.

    Korean variety shows also involve a lot of games. Sometimes these games can be relatively simple, but the situations that they create, especially among famous actors and idols, can lead to hilarious things that you never thought you’d ever see.

    I also have seen playfully insulting humor between close cast members on variety shows, like Running Man and 1N2D.

  117. I love Fire Marshall Bill….Jim Carrey-the early years.

  118. Is smoking cigarettes a faux pas in Korea?

    • This would be interesting with the male/female divide. Some academics in the West use the case of smoking as a prime example of sexism in South Korea. But i don’t know if its anecdotal or accurate (heard cases of young women getting reamed out by older men who see them smoking in public, but a young man can do it in public without a worry)

      I feel like its too small of a question to be a segment though and i think sexism was already tackled in another tl;dr? or am i imagining it?

  119. I never really thought about it, but Koreans DO love very physically expressive humor. I have several Korean friends who crack up whenever I say something ‘funny’ or slightly humorous. Huge ego-booster, :P Ahaha, but since I’m naturally very expressive I don’t find it as funny but I’ll be awkwardly smiling until they stop laughing. It’s cool though, I’m surprised how some of them can also be very sarcastic and even have a bit more ‘American’ humor than I expect.

    Anyways….thanks for the upload, its one of the things I look most forward to :D

  120. does korean schools have marching bands? or a color guard. If not what kind of activites do student take in after school in korea.

  121. Wait, does this mean Epik High, in particular Tablo, isn’t really following the stock standard of Korean humour when they make all their punny jokes? Eg. All the Korean/English puns in Don’t Hate Me: http://fuuko4869.tumblr.com/post/34488382803/dont-hate-me-theres-more-to-this-video-than-meets

    • There’s actually a lot of funny word play in Korean variety shows, it just flies under the radar if you don’t understand Korean. You have to find a nice subber who’ll go the extra mile and include a quick explanation. EDIT: But that’s variety shows. I’m not sure how punny the average Korean is in real life. Also, thinking back on interviews Tablo has given in English, I think he has more of the sarcastic, deadpan delivery of humor, which apparently is more of a Western thing, as well as a tendency to make puns. What can I say? He’s a cypher. :p

    • wow that tumblr post is INSANE, almost as insane as the people who made the video apparently XD

    • From what I know, Koreans LOVE puns. I know that the ladies of Dramabeans have said several times “So help me, I laughed so much at that pun. I guess I can’t help but like puns, it’s genetic.”

    • PunkyPrincess92

      Onew makes a lot of puns which i find hilarious when the subber explains it!! but everyone around him just ignores it or tells him it’s not funny! haha poor guy!

  122. I have been wanting to ask this for a while now but Simon and Martina how was it like when u went on the set of Running Man and tried their food lol was it good or terrible and are kwangsoo, kim jong kook, jae suk, suk jin, ji hyo, jongki, haha, and gary really funny and amazing comedians?

  123. Simon, you have 3 friends, not 2! You guys forgot Dr. Meemersworth! :) Also, laughed so hard when SJ’s SNL pictures came up haha I first watched that without subs (I don’t understand Korean) and found it so hilarious! :D I’m Taiwanese though, so I may be more accustomed to Korean humour. Or maybe Super Junior was just too funny.

  124. I absolutely love variety shows so so much^^^^ But, I never really found Korean variety shows awkward or found it hard to understand the humour when I first started to watch them – but maybe that’s because I watched quite a few Japanese variety shows and dramas first and they are REALLY over exaggerated and focused heavily upon physical humour haha ^___^

    Also, I’m surprised that you guys can’t get British humour either. I love British comedies, they’re hilarious. Actually, I find British humour much more entertaining than American humour at times, it’s a bit too ahhhh, cheesy(?) and idk, I just don’t find it funny. For example, I went to see pitch perfect with my friends, they all loved it, but I found it simply stupid and boring. But I did like fat Amy at times, maybe cause she’s Australian like me haha. Australian humour can be even more stupid though…Maybe me not liking that movie is actually a result of me watching too many Korean dramas and variety shows haha :D

  125. i sooooo agree with you about british humor. i tried watching a show that was about a girl working in the computer dept that looked like the basement and i just didn’t get it.

  126. Martina, How did you do your hair? I think we need to open the happy and find out.

  127. Yes, Korean uses a lot, and I mean, A LOT of physical jokes. One thing I cannot understand with some of my Korean colleagues is about the barrier of the physical jokes. Like BakaBabo said, this kind of jokes only used for people who already close to each other. But some of my colleagues, use it even with a new guy in the office, or someone who barely knew them. So it’s kinda weird and odd, since we don’t find it funny, at all!

    Well, this week’s topic is awesome. Now I can understand some things about their jokes, but personally, I still think it’s hard to make some jokes with ‘em, no offense :) I just feel umm…awkward.



  129. I laughed so hard when Simon said “Yes, that is acceptable”. It’s so sad that Simon did all that as if he ate 6 tablespoons of sugar and the director was just like “Yes, that is acceptable” so calmly ROFL XD

  130. I think the thing about the Eunhyuk/IU thing, was not that the joke was not funny, it was that the fans were still very sensitive because the scandal had only come out like a week or 2 before.(As a Jewel, yes, I’ll admit, I was irrationally butthurt for the first few weeks and made the choice to bad mouth IU, and I do regret it now, she is a very talented artist, and if they want to have a healthy relationship as adults then they should)
    I have also noticed something maybe not so much about humor, but just something that Koreans seem to do(that I’ve seen anyway) If they are in kind of an awkward situation, they’ll smile and laugh and try to make light of it, whereas Americans seem to deal with those sorts of things in a more serious manner, or just ignore the awkwardness altogether. (Just my opinion from my own experiences)

  131. I blame you Martina for my addiction to Boys Over Flowers. I can watch it on Netflix, but since the other 4 members of my family don’t really like that stuff it is very hard for me to have the power to watch it on our HD Plasma tv. I find myself laughing at the weirdest parts like when Goo Jun Pyo filled the pool with ducks.

  132. For what I’ve noticed from watching Korean variety shows is that sarcasm is there, though it is used between entertainers who are comfortable with each other in real life. For example, when I watch Running Man and 1 Night 2 Days, the cast members do a lot of jokes where they fake insult each others and pretend to be mean, but this happens only when they know each other well and aren’t afraid of their jokes being misunderstood. Since Koreans, like you said, are very polite with each other and have to be respectful towards their elders and superiors, they don’t seem to use sarcasm as often like Americans do. But when they do, in variety shows and between friends, I find it to be very funny. It’s easy to go overboard with sarcasm and hurt someone’s feelings (and I notice that sometimes about American humor), but thanks to the Korean politeness the sarcastic jokes are usually quite well-balanced in general.
    At the same time, I have to agree with you that there is a lot of physical comedy and over-exaggeration. I don’t find over-exaggerated physical jokes, toilet humor and slapstick comedy that funny, though. I only enjoy physical comedy that it seems unplanned and natural, which is why I prefer variety shows where the cast is put into unusual situations and then the comedy seems to happen all by itself, without forcing themselves to be funny.
    One thing that I think is unique about Korean comedy is the fondness for all sorts of games. In variety shows they oftentimes play various games (most of them entirely new to me) and it’s very funny if players take them seriously enough (and they usually do, very seriously even). And since I’m usually totally unaware of the rules of these games, the way the shows are edited is actually very helpful. Like you mentioned, they use these cartoon “tears”, images, sound effects and extra remarks that emphasize and “explain” you the jokes. Perhaps it would seem annoying if I understood everything, but it makes so much easier for international fans like me to watch these shows. And once you’ve gotten used to this, it doesn’t really bother you. In fact, it even makes the viewing experience more enjoyable. You just have to be fast enough to read the subtitles and every little commentary on the screen,

    Okay, this all is only based on my observations of Korean dramas and variety shows. So feel free to disagree with me here. And sorry for this extremely long comment. I just really liked this week’s question for the TL;DR.

  133. I actually really find Korean Variety shows funny to the point that I laugh so hard.. But i need English subtitle though… Over exaggeration is also what I use to teach my student while being funny..

  134. You should have countered her Fire marshal Bll with a Homie the Clown….I dont know who all got the references but bonus points to you guys for droppng an In Living Color Reference.. LMAO made my night. TY

  135. Love the Doctor Who crack!!!!! <3

  136. I love Fire Marshall Bill. So the other week a local abandoned mill was on fire, and the news channel talked to a Fire Marshall Bill Somethingorother. I didn’t catch his last name because I choked/ugly laughed hard enough and sudden enough that my mother had to ask me what happened. And I just… I didn’t really know how to explain.

  137. I’m very sarcastic, lol, sarcastic and insulting to my friends XD Guess if I ever go to Korea I’m gonna have to censor myself

  138. DOCTOR WHO joke omg lololoo8oll8oll

  139. KATHyphenTUN

    HAHAHA LOOOOVED THE ENDING! yes simon… people do watch till the end!!!! XD

  140. you guys were so right on the editing- a lot of the times it’s really the captions and edits that are done that make variety shows hilarious for me. Like they’ll add a sound effect and ! when a guest is caught off guard or surprised, and I’ll just be DYING from laughter. xD

    i will admit that the replays can get REALLY annoying- especially when it’s supposedly a suspenseful scene and they replay it 5 TIMES in SLOW MOTION from different angles. *-_-

  141. I know what you mean! I have a friend that’s Korean and she’s so sarcastic with us or other Koreans at school. Like we’d ask her “Want to come over and watch a movie or a drama?” And she’d answer with a straight serious face. “No.” At first I was confused, but then I got used to it and answered with “Okay, I’ll see you around 7.” She seems to understand Western Humor thought, to a great extent and understands most of our jokes. I’m real sarcastic with my friends (who are different nationalities) and most have trouble understanding the jokes or sarcasm, especially with the your momma and thats what she said jokes.

  142. Awwwww Martina called Simon funny looking LMFAO Rude! But funny :P And I actually find it Korean humor really funny. Why, probably because my humor is similar, not the same, but similar.

  143. Jim Carrey character from In Living Color…can’t stop laughing cause it was spot on…also laughing cause i got it…and now i feel old, thanks guys

  144. irritablevowel

    Of course I remember Fire Marshall Bill. Do you remember 3 snaps up (in z-formation)?
    It’s funny because when I started watching dramas I picked up immediately that sarcasm wasn’t really a common form of humor in Korea. On the other hand, I’ve known some EXTREMELY sarcastic Korean Americans.

  145. If you haven’t watched Runningman yet, you are missing perhaps the best TV show in the world. I am such an absolute addict to this show. My daughter and I are huge fans and if there were just one TV star we could meet, I would be hard pressed to choose between the Runningmen. Seriously…. Watch and episode.


    • OMG I know who I would choose Lee Kwang Soo aka The Giraffe aka the Betrayer aka teh awesomestest runningman of evars.

      • Kwang Soo is soooo my favorite!!! He’s so innocent and yet he so easily back-stabs. So many conflicting emotions!!!

        • Lydia Rose Stricker

          Yes! I love his pathetic faces and theme music when he gets betrayed or left behind like on some of the episodes on the high speed rail. I don’t know what I’ll do if Runningman ever goes off air. I think I might lose my will to live.

    • Running Man is the very first S. Korean variety show that I religiously followed, episode to episode. So my perspective of S. Korean humor in general is the humor used in Running Man. There have been jokes in the show that just didn’t get to me, mostly because of the cultural differences and because I’m not the biggest fan of physical jokes. But there have also been many, many times where I just find myself rolling all over the floor laughing when they use sarcasm (and I tell you, the Running Men do use a lot of it).

      (While we’re at it, slightly off topic, the subbing team for Running Man definitely made the show a winner for a lot of us foreigners. I don’t know what we’ll do now that there are threats of it being taken down as well. I don’t think Running Man will enjoy the amount of popularity they have overseas without this subbing team.)

    • I love running man too! I can’t decide who is my favorite. Lately, I always get caught up trying to figure out what they ad lib and what is already written for them. I was just wondering last week if a runningman-type show could work in the US…I’m pretty sure a lot of us are ready for some kind of tv that is completely different than the same old, same old. If anybody could make it happen its simon and martina;)

    • I absolutely LOVE that show!! Im glad to have found a fellow addict! People seriously dont know what they are missing at all. I love the whole cast, except jong Kook, he gets on my nerves sometimes. But Lee Kwangsoo and everyone else just ROCKS! :D

  146. Thanks for the video. I did want to add that there is a lot of sarcasm and irony in Korean shows, dramas, and even fiction. A lot of it is in the writing so it is much more subtle to non-Korean speakers. However a lot of times it is more derisive and not taken as lightly as in North America. Another type of humor that you did mention is bathroom humor, which is actually pretty popular.

    You guys did hit it right on the head when you mentioned body gags and overreactions as being the most prevalent. This is a big part of variety show humor probably because it is easily accessible to many demographic groups.

    Anyway, great job and keep the videos coming!

  147. FIRE MARSHALL BILL! JIM CARREY! OMG I LOVED THAT SKIT!!!! getting those nails stuck in his head and getting burned…ahh…good times… xD and I couldn’t live without sarcasm…it’s my second language :)

  148. Yes, I remember Fire Marshal Bill. I had wondered about the humour thing as well – given the brouhaha over BATOOST and all… and now I am sad. Sarcasm has no place in Korean humour. *emo tear*

  149. I remember Fire Marshal Bill!

  150. so is it nice to have a work place and a home place…..

  151. I must be going to hell because I found that April Fool’s prank on Martina was pretty funny lol side note my birthday is on April Fool’s

  152. bigbangfosho

    I honestly believe 100% of my humor is just being mean to people. And for some reason, people laugh at that! Of course, it’s not as if I really mean the things I say, however just poking fun at people who I’m comfortable around makes others laugh. I’m not sure if that’s a type of humor or anything, but that’s the only way I get people to laugh.

  153. I don’t think the IU x Eunhyuk joke was culturally not funny to the Korean fans, it was probably just the fans being protective over their idols. We all know kpop fans are extremely sensitive when it comes to their favourite idols. I personally enjoy funny sex jokes once in a while myself, but I did NOT like them at all in this scenario since I’m a huge IU fan and it was totally destroying her image…

  154. Ah, the Eunhyuk/IU drama, i.e. ‘The Scandal That Never Was’… I think fans were more angry about the fact that in that episode they kept pushing the jokes at Eunhyuk’s expense, even after it was pretty clear that both him and the others didn’t find it funny? It wasn’t nice seeing him look so blatantly put-out :/ It just left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths, I guess.

    Also the thing about Korea not really using ‘adult’ humour, I thought that at least every episode of SNL Korea was 19-rated? I’ve only seen the (seemingly infamous) Super Junior episode and some of the Jay Park one, but both of those were, shall we say, DEFINITELY worth the rating XD

  155. I do get your point, at the beginning I found Korean variety kinda… awkward? Like the style of humor they use is very (can’t find another word) basic/simple. Something that can be understood by most people (hence the predominance of physical jokes). Regarding verbal jokes, in our case as foreigners sometimes it’s barely possible to understand them without (in the case of subbed shows) a short caption explaining the meaning of it.
    Now I personally love it!! The appeal of it for me it’s the part where pretty much anything can turn into a joke, differently from Mexican humor which tends to go to the “dirty/double sense/swearing” jokes (and this isn’t my cup of tea, I’m more into American and British humor since they’re more based on clever language jokes and sarcasm -I’m very sarcastic myself so it sits me I guess-), so everything is quite refreshing to me.

    And the cheesy edits!! At first you do find annoying the “let’s repeat this 13894710489 times” but then it just feels awkward without them.

  156. Ahahah Fire Marshal Bill!! In living color! i watched that all the time..when i was *ahem* younger…lol. I’m older than both of you..i think..but not by much! :-D

  157. Jim Carrey on In Living Color! I’m 25 (and from the US), I am old enough to remember it! You guys just leveled up +20 cool points for remembering the ILC theme song.

    As for Korean humor, that was the ONE thing that I just COULD NOT adjust to last time I was there. I grew up with the likes of Jon Stewart, SNL and Dave Chappelle, so the lame celebrity variety shows just didn’t cut it for me. Thankfully, some episodes I’ve seen of the Korean SNL lead me to believe that Korean humor is getting edgier (did anyone see Jay Park???).

    • I looooove Jon Stewart, Colbert, the occasional SNL (you know that kissing family skit? doesn’t do it for me lol) episode, etc. (Plus stuff like HIMYM, which is filled with sarcasm.) There was that puppet skit that Seth McFarlane did that I adored, but somehow I don’t think it would translate as well in Korea. In any case, I totes agree with you–doesn’t cut it for me, but hopefully humor will become more universal in the future.

    • Way old enough to remember In Living Color, Fire Marshall Bill, Men on Books and “Homey Don’t Play That”.

    • Fire Marshall Bill! I haven’t thought about that in years. So classic.

  158. MARTINA!!!! I LOVED In Living Color. On that note…yes…who doesn’t know Fire Marshal Bill!! *laughing* God…my age just showed. I live in Japan and I do understand what you are saying about variety shows and comedy shows. Though I do understand some of what is being said so I can laugh a lot. Though I do remember the first time I came to Japan and I made friends that my brand of humor fell to the wayside. But after we got to know each other and I explain sarcasm (using diagrams and jokes and myself) they were like….NARUHODO!! (Meaning in english: Oh, I see )

  159. Koreans don’t seem to appreciate puns like westerners, yet they’ll laugh at childish 5th grade level humor from Gag Concert :/

    • ScottC.

      Koreans loves puns! Have you seen any of the TVshow X-Man, during the OfCourse! segment… a lot of it are puns and word play, name play and things like that. There are many bits where there are puns… they just don’t translate very well because the korean connection between the words can be missed when translated into english.

      • You’re basing all this on a TV show? Do you live in Korea and speak Korean with actual Koreans? Because I want to live in a world where Koreans enjoy puns, cuz it ain’t here lol

        • ScottC.

          No, I don’t live in Korea, I live in Australia…. with Koreans, who speak “koreans”, and they use word-play and puns as much as anyone else. eg. Q: 뱀파이어의는 음료를 좋아요?(What is a vampire’s favourite drink?) 코피! This always makes them giggle… Ko-pi, it means nosebleed – but it sounds very similar to 커피, the word for coffee. I had this explained to me when I tried to ask them to go out and get nosebleeds and they almost died laughing.
          edit: maybe you just live in a really serious part of korea?

        • They giggle because they are probably used to western humor living in Australia or westernized, I’m talking about Koreans in Korea. Did you not see what Simon and Martina’s video was about? Hahaha this guy talking about the actual race of Koreans in other countries, totally missing the whole point of the video.

          It’s great you bring up those konglish pun jokes, because the only people who like those jokes here in Seoul are people who have lived abroad or good at English and familiar with western humor. Tell that joke to an average Korean and you won’t get the same reaction. Personally I love those jokes.

        • Yup you are right. My husband who is Korean explains a lot of puns that are in the Korean language. It’s definitely part of Korean humor.

    • What are you talking about? some of the most popular corners like 멘붕스쿨 and the one with brownie involve a whole lot of puns o;

      • I’m guessing you either don’t live in Korea and have Korean friends or don’t speak Korean very well (no offense). Trust me, puns are considered “ajushi jokes” here.

    • This is true, that is why everyone sees Onew from SHINee as not very funny. He loves puns and uses them frequently, and he always gets a stale, awkward chuckle from his members and other Koreans. But, I think many foreigners think Onew is really funny. [at least I do] He always has witty come backs and uses puns well!

  160. I know who Fire Marshall Bill is. haha!! I was actually watching Wanda skits on youtube.

  161. Haha, I remember when I was in school with a mix of Korean international students and then US students. The US students showed the Korean students some really funny (to us at least) youtube videos (e.g., some of derrickcomedy or other skits). At the end they just looked at us and were like, “I don’t get it.” Conversely I have never found any Korean comedy shoes funny, but rather cheesy and sort of…juvenile? Sort of like the way your younger brother thinks farting in your face is hilarious. Humor is definitely a cultural thing :)

  162. i love sarcastic humor so much XD couldn’t live without it

  163. I have a problem like this: I find jokes like ‘Your momma’ jokes totally fine when they’re made by Western people (like you guys) but it would sound rude to me if a Korean made the joke. I don’t know why….

  164. What are religious differences between South Korea and North America? Do they have Christian/Episcopal/etc. churches there? And do people emphasize on religion as much as they do in other places?

  165. Hello, my name is Jasmine. I met you guys at Gogos2 the other day. I love your blog. It is literally full of interesting contents. By the way, I also could not understand why people love a guy who does bad stuff to himself at Gagconcert. Thank you for letting me know the difference between Korean humor and Western one.

  166. I agree that it’s so hard to be sarcastic. I have a Korean friend and after a few months talking sarcasm without knowing that he was judging me (LOL), he told me I’m too Americanized (I’m fully Asian!)

  167. LOL!!! Yes, as an 86′er I know who Fire Marshall Bill is…James Carey aka Jim Carey played him on In Living Color. Im happy you guys answered this question because I often wonder about this, especially since I heard there was a SNL Korea. I doubt I would ever see something like “D**k In a Box” skit on there. XD

  168. What variety shows do y’all recommend?

    • 1n2d, running man, infinity challenge, Happy Together, We Got Married, Star Golden Bell (it’s a bit older), WinWin (talk show) …. I could keep going really ;D

  169. I think sarcasm is just an American thing. An English language thing? Like, I have a friend who was born and raised in China for the first 12 years of his life. Cannot comprehend sarcasm. I think part of that is the fact that Chinese is a tonal language, and sarcasm relies heavily on the tone of your voice. But I am also hosting a girl from Azerbaijan. She speaks amazing, perfect English, but she had a really, really hard time understanding sarcasm. She gets it better now, but she still hates it. She does not think its funny, and has been really insulted sometims when people were trying to be sarcastic and she didn’t pick up on it. And when I was in Korea, yeah…sarcasm did not really work. So, I feel like sarcasm is something people do in North America, but it seems a lot of other countries do not use sarcasm in their language. Just my observation

  170. unicornsgalaxy

    I personally am a variety junky! It’s actually what really got me into Kpop and I rely on it to introduce me to new bands all the time. I find it hilarious! I remember searching for all different kinds of variety shows and when I would get interested in a group I would look everywhere for english subbed variety shows that they were in. You can really tell a difference from some of the shows from a few years ago to today’s shows though.

    The one show where I found quite a few of my favorite groups was Star Golden Bell. I loved that show! Now of course I’m obsessed with Shinhwa Broadcast (I’m a ShinChan!) and I’ve been watching episodes of Teen Top & 100%. (plus I’ve been going back and watching some of the older shows like X-Man and Oh My School and SuJu’s Explorers of the Human Body, etc).

    Oh, and yeah I found the April Fools Day prank the students played on Martina absolutely hilarious… but I have a warped sense of humor at times.

    • Do you ever watch DownTown? They are the hosts of Hey! Hey! Hey! in Tokyo. They’re my favourite. They do a lot of variety. Then I also love SmapxSmap.

    • I am also a Korean variety shows junkie – its also what got me much more into KPop (I similarly have searched the various shows to check out the groups I was interested or wanted to know more about). I am particularly a fan of Strong Heart and Running Man. And if folks haven’t seen the double episode of Infinity Challenge called “Gangs of Seoul” with Big Bang, they should watch it. It is not only funny but really clever (although I think the second episode is the funnier of the two episodes, as sometimes in these types of Korean variety shows the first episode can sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time setting up the jokes/scenarios etc).

  171. Honestly, as a Korean native speaking English as a second language, I’ve been studying English more than 10 years, even majored English in college, and now I’m studying at a US law school, I still cannot understand sarcastic humors.

    • unicornsgalaxy

      Don’t feel bad. I know plenty of native English speakers that don’t get sarcasm. I think it’s not something that everyone can get. I can be really sarcastic at times and have had people look at me with a blank look thinking that I’m being serious.

      • Oh my lord the awkward situations I have gotten into because people take my sarcasm seriously.

        • unicornsgalaxy

          yep me to! Plus sometimes when I’m being sarcastic and picking on people I’ve used “big” words before and I remember this one guy was like what does that mean. I had to then explain to him how I was “playfully” insulting him and what the insult meant. Took all the fun out of it… It wasn’t even a “big” word.

        • I get the same response with some of my jokes >_>

    • (American born and raised English speaker here) I honestly don’t see sarcasm as humor, I mean, I use sarcasm sometimes and I can understand when it’s being used, but to be honest, I really only see it as insulting. I mean, there really isn’t a way to use sarcasm where you’re not insulting someone/something. So I don’t really see it as humor, even as an American.

      • Applesauce 21

        Nooo, sarcasm can totally be funny! Like, sometimes when someone is playing the straightman they’ll use it, so if two of your friends are sticking straws up their noses and pretending to be walruses and you go “WOW, that’s REAL mature” and then laugh immediately afterwards it’s not at all mean. It’s just…banter.

    • It would be convenient to get it, but, as it goes:

      “Sarcasm is the lowest of wits”. And it is, it doesn’t take much cleverness to be sarcastic, just the tone.

  172. I remember Fire Marshall Bill. But I’m an old fart.

  173. hahahah martina’s tone and the sound effect after “funny looking” was perfect!! XD

  174. That thing Martina did at the end of the video…. Was it Mask? I only could think Jim Carrey as Mask :D

  175. In living color is the best! I know exactly what you’re talking about

    • Exactly! FIRE MARSHALL BILL used to freak me out! How did Jim Cary keep his lips like that?!? “Don’t worry folks, I’m a Fire Marshall!”

  176. i think that strong heart and running man don’t really have the overt we want you to laugh feeling simon and martina talked about but then again. there roughly 20 people on strong heart and most of them are hilarious.

  177. I was just talking about this with my grandfather the other day, his first impression of humor here in the U.S. was that it includes more insulting, even though it’s not meant to be offensive :P and apparently british humor is just dry humor.

  178. Fire Marshall bill, jim carrey!!!! i know what you are talking about i used to watch In Living Color when i was a kid!! do i win a prize ;P

  179. I grew up in a very sarcastic (read:mean) family, so when I go to Korea (eventually) I guess I’ll have to tone that down a bit :P Thanks for the heads up, lol
    I’m still not used to Korean humor but it has grown on me a lot over the years. I find myself smiling/giggling more when I’m watching variety shows/dramas. You can’t help it sometimes :D But I’ll always be a verbal humor fan over physical humor…

  180. Guys, editing mistake at 4:24! The same scene twice! You should fix that

  181. I guess the physical humor makes sense now. I remember in one episode of Running Man, they had a really famous comedian as a guest who spit water in Yoo Jae Suk’s face and I wondered why they found that funny?

  182. Unrelated but… Is that a shelf full of ‘staches behind Martina at the end? x’D

  183. It’s usually not a laugh track they add during editing. Some variety shows like 1n2d do real adlib by pre-broadcasting it to a group of audience for them to laugh on a certain part! :)

  184. I can’t believe you guise made this already after all the EYKA craziness! Seriously, we just can’t thank you enough for all the hard (and fantastic (baby)) work you put into your videos/blog!

    • Glad you appreciate it! Thank you :D Yeah, we were pretty pooped after the EYKAs, and so we were a bit delayed with publishing this video, but we’re so motivated to make more vids! Back to the studio we go!

      • you guys are amazing! how much more accomplished and satisfied do you guys feel after working in your lovely studio? yay for all that awaits eyk in the future~

        in living color=♥♥♥ and i’ve been telling that knock knock joke ever since i heard david tennant say it :P

  185. Eh, don’t take it too personally you guys. Some of those Suju fans can be cray cray.

  186. OMG I remember that episode of SNL Korea where Super Junior was hosting! Let’s just say, some of it was kinda disturbing lol. OOOH SUJU YOU SO NASTY!!!

  187. I would find it SO HARD not to be sarcastic. I find sarcasm to be a natural part of everyday living. You know what I mean?

    • It’s practically my second language :D

    • Absolutely. My doctor actually has it in my chart that my sarcasm level is an indication of my health… but, I’ve found it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. One of my kids couldn’t grasp it AT ALL until she was nearly a tween (and only then after much explanation), and would take things said at face value and think people were being mean/sounding very awkward.

    • Don’t worry, you can be sarcastic. I mean, sarcasm exists and people actually use it, it’s just that it’s rarer and also the entire spectrum of sarcasm doesn’t always fly. A general rule of thumb is if a statement from their point of view could theoretically be true, then there’s always a risk it might be taken as truth too, regardless of how absurd you thought what you said was. Also, dark, offensive or sinister stuff are often not appreciated. Subtle cues are almost always overlooked so never rely on them.

      So when in doubt, go big. If you’re unsure add extra emphasis on delivery and expressions. Absurdity sarcasm works well, as does teasing sarcasm and actually self-deprecation too. General ironic sarcasm could work depending on topic but it will rarely get you in trouble unless you go dark. Dry delivery and deadpan are hit and miss, but if it’s miss it’ll usually just end up with them not catching on.

      In general, feel free to play around with all popular forms of comedy in Korean, just give it a sarcastic twist. It’ll still work and eventually people will catch on and you can expand your “repertoire”. I mean, it’s not like Koreans are incapable of understanding sarcasm, it’s just that they’re not used to having to look for it. Once they figure that out, you can keep pushing the limits slowly but surely if you wanna. You will probably still have to hold back on occasion but as long as you know the people you’re using it with and they know you and you ease them into it, you’ll be more free to use sarcasm than you might think at first. :)

    • Same here ! But it’s so hard to explain it when the other person don’t get it. It can become reaaaally nasty

    • I totes wanna go to Korea, but like y’all said, I couldn’t go a day without the sarcasms. It just flow out of me like a pretentious, borderline insulting well XD

    • I know what you mean… I have a very dry sense of humor, so sarcasm and deadpan humor is like second nature to me XD

  188. I remember a scene in the “King of Dramas” kdrama where they had this “fun” drinking game of using informal language with one another or something. Apparently that was very funny for the characters

    • I’ve seen this game a lot in dramas, it’s called Yaja Time I think.
      Everyone’s given a free pass to speak to each other in “banmal”, i.e
      without honorifics, or the formal language they usually use (“jeondae”).
      The use of formal and informal language seems to be no joke in Korean,
      you’ll only use banmal with people you’re really close to or people
      younger/”beneath” you, tjat’s why it’s actually funny to hear Go-eun
      speaking down to Anthony, or Anthony speaking to Director Goo like he’s
      speking to a kid. It’s unusual and a bit akward, and it takes a little
      jab to the pride of the one who’s speaken down to, in a funny way.
      you can tell the difference between jondae and banmal and are aware of
      when it should be used, the switch between both can be heard pretty
      easily, and you can get the menaning behind it as well. And you don’t
      even have to understand Korean! (I don’t!)

  189. *Sneaky copy from the Christmas TL DR*
    Question for next TLDR- I work in healthcare & believe Australia
    & Canada have similar health care systems (big ups for public
    health!) What is the system like in South Korea. Do they have GPs/local
    Doctors and/or how is the hospital system managed? Cheers…

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