We don’t really have anything like Running Man here in the US, and I really wish we would! It is my absolute favorite Korean variety show, I have literally watched every single episode. The show has a cast of 7 celebrities and there is at least one guest nearly every week. The producers come up with a theme each week and have the cast play games or go through different challenges. Some only watch episodes with guest celebrities that they like but in my opinion the main cast is what really makes this show great. They have been working together for four years now and have great chemistry. Just watching them stand around and joke with each other often makes for my favorite part of the show.
The leader of the show is Yoo Jae Suk, aka The Nation’s MC, and he is one of the most famous comedians in South Korea. This show was originally popular because it was his comeback after the last show he was on, Family Outing, ended. Yoo Jae Suk was originally poked fun at during the show for being one of the “weak players” because he and two others were often in competition for being the first ones eliminated. Later on, however, Yoo Jae Suk became one of the strongest players, giving himself the nickname Yooruce Willis. The only one he never really has a chance of beating in a straight on physical contest is the next cast member.
Kim Jong Kook aka The Commander aka Sparta Kook. In case you can’t tell from his nicknames he is the physically strongest member of the show. Another of his nicknames is Coach Kook, he is such a perfectionist that no matter who is partered up with he will always nag and tell them how to do it better. Outside of the show however, he is actually a ballad singer. On the show they actually make fun of him for his “mosquito voice.” This guy is really big but his singing voice is really high pitched. Here is a link to his latest music video “All Men are Like That.” Side Note: The actor in the MV is Song Jong Ki, a former member of Running Man.
Then, there is the Lee Kwang Soo aka the Giraffe akaFramer Kwang Soo aka Icon of Betrayal. During many games Kwang Soohas made alliances with different members or guests and as soon as it helps him he will throw them under the bus, or towards Kim Jong Kook so he can get away. None of the members trust him anymore but for some reason guests still do. What really surprised me is that Kwang Soo started his career as a model, it doesn’t fit his image on the show at all.
But you can’t talk about Kwang Soo without talking about Ji Suk Jin, together they are known as the Easy Brothers. This is both because they are easy to take out but also because if you combine their last names (Lee and Ji) it sounds like easy. Suk Jin is the oldest member of Running man and is known as being the physically weakest. He plays along with this often challenging the women who come on the show if given the option, as they are the only ones he has any chance of beating. He is also known for betrayal, though not as much as Lee Kwang Soo.
HaHa aka Haroro is the primary “funny man” of the cast. He is the one that jokes around the most and is picked on by the other members for his height and his similarities to a popular cartoon character, Pororo. Together Haha, Lee Kwang Soo and Ji Suk Jin make up the traitors club. While Lee Kwang Soo is best known for betrayal the other two do it whenever possible as well.Outside of the show Haha is a Reggae music singer, and seems to like to bring his comedy into his MVs.
Kang Gary aka occasional Mr Capable is the sweet one of the show. He was never on a variety show before this and is known as the more naïve or gullible member. What I find fairly funny about that image is that he is the rapper of the duo Leessang and when doing that has more of a hardcore image. I didn’t know about his rapping until very recently and when watching him performing or during a music video I actually found it pretty hard to take seriously because of Running Man. He recently released his first solo mini album and with it an MV that is probably the most overtly sexual thing I have ever seen come out of Korea. But it is so overdone it seems more like a joke than anything else.
I have saved the best for last! The only female member of the cast Song Ji Hyo aka the Ace aka my favorite member! Even though she is the only female Ji Hyo is considered one of the strongest competitors on the show. While quizzes are not her strong suit (another of her nicknames is blank Ji Hyo) when it comes to the games and physical contests she is amazing. She seems to have made a routine of embarrassing Haha and Ji Suk Jin by beating them, she even once beat Ji Suk Jin at wrestling. Her and Gary are also called the Monday Couple, because they are only a couple when they are filming on Mondays. They are actually the cutest thing ever and I totally wish they would date in real life! Outside of Running Man Ji Hyo is a very successful actress. She originally became famous by playing the other woman in the hit Drama Goong aka Princess Hours. She most recently has been in another drama called Emergency Couple.
If you would like to check out Running Man you can do so here.