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  • 작성자 사진Yu Woo-sang

[Culture] Subcharacter Craze Heats up the Entertainment Industry

No. 152 / Jun 7, 2021

Recently, celebrities have created subcharacters that differ from their main characters, a trend which has become extremely popular. Korea’s Master of Ceremonies (MC) and comedian Yoo Jae-seok started the craze during a program called Hang Out With Yoo, debuting a subcharacter named Yoo San-seul that is dissimilar to his usual role as an MC and comedian. This craze is expanding due to YouTube celebrities, particularly comedian Kim Hae-joon and Lee Chang-ho are dominant in this niche.

Yoo Jae-seok, who is often referred to as the nation’s most popular MC, has appeared in various programs. As an MC, he typically maintains a calm persona while being a frequent jokester. This changed, however, we he spontaneously created a character called Yoo San-seul in Hang Out With Yoo to announce the start ensuing craze. As Yoo San-seul, he created his first album – “Hapjeong Station Exit 5” – demonstrating that he had officially begun to work as a trot singer and was no-longer an active MC. Eventually, this shift became an exemplary method for birthing a subcharacter: one which various entertainers followed to spark the craze.

This trend spread to both TV programs and the YouTube market. Comedian Kim Hae-joon’s subcharacter, Choi Joon – addictive cheesy café president – was extremely popular on non-face-to-face dating: a show on the YouTube channel, “Psick University”. Choi Joon is based on a cheesy, but well executed concept. Most say this concept is rather good.Accordingly, the originator, Kim Hae-joon, is continuing his success by creating a new hypothetical subcharacter called Cool J. This creation parodies characters from the early 2000s in “Class of 05 is back,” in which Kim Hae-joon takes advantage of his experience working in an underground clothing store in Dongdaemun.

Similarly, comedian Lee Chang-ho, who performs as various characters in on “Psick University” along with Kim Hae-joon, gained great popularity by creating two hypothetical subcharacters: Lee Ho-chang and Lee Taek-jo. The former is a fictional businessman: the scion and head of the Future Strategy Office of Kim Gap-saeng . The latter is a hypothetical common uncle in South Korea. He gained great popularity and proved subcharacter content by parodying Shinsegae Vice Chairman Jeong Yong-jin’s the new year’s greeting video using Lee Ho-chang, and demonstrating the characteristics of a typical Korean uncle through Lee Taek-jo. Recently, he has been working on a YouTube channel, “Bbangsongguk”, creating another idol concept subcharacter named J-ho.

This craze seems to garner more enthusiastic support because people can see celebrities in a different light. In particular, the trend is reinforced by the fact that some of those perpetuating it already have successful careers. However, comedian Kim Hae-joon expressed regret over the craze, saying, “I’m just grateful for the keen interest, but there are moments when the reality hits me because of the stark recognition difference between the main character and the subcharacter.”


By Yu Woo-sang, AG Cub Reporter

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