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?

    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. “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

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