Yoo Jae-suk

Yoo Jae-suk (Hangul유재석; Hanja劉在錫; Korean pronunciation: [jud͡ʑεsʌk̚] or [ju] [t͡ɕεsʌk̚]; born on August 14, 1972), is a South Korean comedian, host and television personality currently signed to FNC Entertainment. He has hosted several variety television shows in South Korea, including Infinite Challenge and Running Man. Known for his quick wit and appeal across a wide range of demographics, Yoo has established himself as one of Korea's top comedians and TV personalities.[1][2]

Yoo Jae-suk
20170819 해피투게더 출근길(유재석,엄현경,이기광 (2)
Yoo for Happy Together Season 3
BornAugust 14, 1972 (age 46)
Seoul, South Korea
MediumStand-up, television
NationalitySouth Korean
Years active1991–present
GenresObservational, sketch, wit, parody, slapstick
Na Kyung-eun (announcer) (m. 2008)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationYu Jae-seok
McCune–ReischauerYu Chae-sŏk

Early life and education

Born on August 14, 1972 in Seoul, South Korea, Yoo is the eldest of three siblings. He attended Seoul Institute of the Arts, but was unable to graduate due to his busy schedule as an up-and-coming comedian.



Yoo's television debut was on the KBS Comedian Festival (for college students) in 1991, where he performed a parody of a commercial with Choi Seung-gyung. His dancing to a cover of the song "Step by Step" by New Kids on the Block was another early memorable moment.[1] In 2002, after nine years as a relatively unknown comedian, thanks to a recommendation by Choi Jin-sil, he hosted the program Live and Enjoy Together.[3] He then rose to prominence when he co-hosted a program called The Crash of MCs with Kang Ho-dong, Lee Hwi-jae and Kim Han-seok.

His first Grand Prize award was for the talk show Happy Together Friends.[4]

Mainstream recognition as "Nation's MC"


He later hosted the show X-Man, which soon grew to be one of the most popular and viewed shows in Korea. During that time, Yoo became increasingly popular and many programs began to nickname him "the nation's MC". He went on to host various shows, including New X-Man, Old TV, and Haja! Go! (Let's Do It) for SBS, but these were all soon canceled due to low ratings on Sunday evenings. However, X-Man has found success in international syndication, and Yoo gained popularity among Korean Wave fans.[5]

Infinite Challenge

Yoo was a part of the cast of the top-rated comedy variety program Infinite Challenge. He had been the host-in-chief since 2005 and one of the program's founding members.

Despite low ratings during its initial premiere, the show went on to become one of the most popular and influential variety programs in Korea. Dubbed the "national variety show" in Korea,[6] Infinite Challenge became the forerunner of many programs that followed with the same or similar format.[7] Since December 2, 2006, the program has received the highest ratings of prime-time lineups for Saturday evening.[8]

Yoo revealed his love for the program during 1-on-1 talk with fellow co-host, Jeong Hyeong-don, on "Pause" special (S04E300) that aired on October 20, 2012. He said, "I think my life on television and variety shows will be tied to the fate of Infinite Challenge... When will we ever get to do another program like this? No matter how hard you try, it's going to be impossible to do another film like this."[9]

Talk shows

Yoo also co-hosts Come to Play with Kim Won-hee[10] and Happy Together Season 3. In particular, Happy Together is one of the longest running talk shows in Korea and has consistently earned high ratings.[11]

Good Sunday Variety Programs: Family Outing and Running Man

Yoo became the main host of Family Outing as part of SBS's Good Sunday lineup. Together with Lee Hyori, Yoon Jong-shin, Kim Su-ro, Lee Chun-hee, Kang Dae-sung, Park Ye-jin and Kim Jong-kook (since episode 19), they made up the "family" (cast members) of the show. Family Outing has become one of the top-rated shows in Korea, consistently achieving the highest ratings for the Sunday mid-afternoon time-slot, and has gained popularity among Hallyu fans.[12]

Since July 11, 2010, Yoo has hosted the urban action variety Running Man together with fellow Infinite Challenge member Haha, and fellow Family Outing member Kim Jong-kook, and other entertainers such as Ji Suk-jin, Leessang's Gary (who left since episode 324 to focus on his music career), Song Ji-hyo, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Joong-ki (who left since episode 41 to focus on his acting career) and Lizzy of After School (who left for unknown reasons), Jeon So-min and Yang Se-chan (both joined since episode 346). Although the program did not have a good start in ratings, it later became very popular, and has held a consistent international fanbase to this day.[13]

Other notable programs: Sugar Man and Busted!

From 2015 to 2016, Yoo hosted the program Two Yoo Project Sugar Man together with You Hee-yeol. The program focuses on current popular artists remaking hit songs from singers who have disappeared from the public eye.[14] The show returned again for a second season in 2018 with Yoo co-hosting alongside Yoo Hee-yeol, Joy (Red Velvet), and Park Na-rae.[15]

Yoo was scheduled to host Netflix's upcoming variety show, Busted!, which started airing on May 4, 2018.[16][17]

Guest appearances and collaborations

In 2012, Yoo appeared in the music video for Psy's hit single "Gangnam Style". In the video, he reprises the retro disco dancing character he created for the mock-band "Sagging Snail" in Infinite Challenge's West Coast Highway Music Festival special, in which Psy also appeared. Following his appearance, Yoo became known worldwide as the "yellow suit guy".[18] He also appeared in Psy's follow-up single, "Gentleman".[19] In 2015, Yoo collaborated with JYP in 'Infinite Challenge. On July 15, 2015, Yoo signed an exclusive contract with FNC Entertainment after having been without an agency for about five years.[20]

In 2016, Yoo collaborated with EXO for the SM Station single "Dancing King", which was also a collaboration for Infinite Challenge.[21] He performed with them at EXO's EXO Planet #3 - EXO'rDIUM concert in Bangkok.[22]

In the media

Yoo has been dubbed "the nation's MC" to his broad appeal and popularity with a wide demographic of viewers.[1] He has consistently ranked as the top comedian in Korea,[23] topping the Gallup poll in 2009, and for six consecutive years since 2012.[24][25][26][27] He is one of the highest paid television personalities in Korea,[28][29] and one of the most in-demand endorsers.[30]

Known for his exemplary image, Yoo has consistently been picked as a role model by fellow entertainers as well as the citizens of Korea.[31] He makes donations regularly to several causes, and has participated in philanthropic acts.[32][33][34]

Yoo is the first television host to have his own wax figure, displayed at the Grevin Seoul Museum.[35]

Personal life

On July 6, 2008, Yoo married MBC announcer, Na Kyung-eun, who worked with him on the show Infinite Challenge.[36][37] Yoo and his wife welcomed their first child, a son, Yoo Ji-ho, on May 1, 2010.[38][39] Their second child, a daughter, was born on October 19, 2018.[40]


Television host

List of present programs
Year Title Network Notes Ref.
2010–present Running Man SBS Since 2010.07.11
2018–present Happy Together (Season 4) KBS2 Since 2018.10.14 [41]
Cool Kids JTBC Since 2018.12.02 [42][43]
Village Survival, the Eight SBS Since 2018.11.16 [44]
List of former programs
Year Title Network
2000–2002 Achievable Saturday - Star Survival Donggeodongrak MBC
2002 Joyful Super Sunday TV - MC Standby Cue KBS2
! Exclamation Mark MBC
2002–2003 Dangerous Invitation KBS
2003–2007 X-Man SBS
2004 Waving the Korean Flag
Yoo Jae-suk and Fullness of the Heart
2004–2012 Yoo Jae-suk and Kim Won-hee's Come to Play MBC
2004–2018 Happy Together (Season 1-3) KBS2
2005–2007 Yoo Jae-suk's Truth Game SBS
2005–2018 Infinite Challenge (Season 1-4) MBC
2007 Haja Go! (Let's Do It!) SBS
Old TV
2007–2008 Mission Impossible
2008–2010 Family Outing (Season 1)
2014 I Am a Man [45] KBS2
2015–2016 Same Bed, Different Dreams (Season 1) [46] SBS
2015–2018 Two Yoo Project Sugar Man (Season 1, 2) JTBC
2018 Busted! (Season 1) Netflix
You Quiz on the Block (Season 1) [47] tvN


Television drama

Year Title Role Network Notes
2000–2001 Great Friends KBS
2005 Banjun Drama SBS
2008 Yi San Cameo MBC [48]
2009 Queen of Housewives Cameo
2015 The Girl Who Sees Smells Cameo with Running Man members SBS
My Daughter, Geum Sa-wol Cameo MBC [49][50]


Year Title Role Notes
1989 Young-gu and Daengchili Cameo [51]
1994 Tyranno's Toenail
2007- 2008 Kimchi Cheese Smile Cameo
2008 Bee Movie (Korean dubbing as Barry B. Benson) [52]
2009 White Tuft, the Little Beaver (Korean dubbing as narrator & Owl) [53]

Music video appearances

Year Song Title Artist
2004 "Cause' You're Pretty" (이쁘니까) Shinnago
2005 "Look Out the Window" Kang Ho-dong
2009 "Let's Dance" Future Liger (with Tiger JK, Tasha)
2012 "Room Nallari" (방구석 날라리) Sagging Snail (with Lee Juck)
"Gangnam Style" (강남스타일) Psy
2013 "Gentleman"
2014 "Beep" Park Ji-yoon
2015 "Tell Me One More Time" Jinusean
2016 "Dancing King" EXO


Year Title Singer Notes
2006 "All You Need Is Love" with Infinite Challenge members
2007 "If I Do It or Not" (하나마나송) with Noh Hong-chul
"Fascination of Samba" (삼바의 매력) Solo Infinite Challenge Song Festival
2009 "The Family's Day" (패밀리의 하루) with Family Outing members
"Let's Dance" with Tiger JK, Tasha Infinite Challenge Olympic Road Duet Song Festival
2011 "Apgujeong Nallari" (압구정 날라리) with Lee Juck Infinite Challenge West Coast Highway Music Festival
"As I Say" (말하는 대로)
2012 "Room Nallari" (방구석 날라리)[54]
"Heat Stroked Seagull" (더위 먹은 갈매기) with Song Eun-yi, Kim Sook
2013 "Please Don't Go My Girl" with You Hee-yeol, Kim Jo-han Infinite Challenge Free Highway Music Festival
"Dance King" (댄스왕)[55] feat. You Hee-yeol
"Here We Are" with Infinite Challenge members
2015 "I'm So Sexy" with Park Jin-young Infinite Challenge Yeongdong Expressway Music Festival
2016 "Dancing King" with EXO SM Station
"Like" (처럼) with Dok2 feat. Lee Hi Infinite Challenge History × Hiphop special


Year Award Category Ref.
1991 Inaugural KBS College Student Gag Competition Honorable Award
2000 MBC Drama Awards Special Award in Television MC
Gyeongin Broadcasting and Entertainment Popular Comedian Award
2002 Book Publishing Promotion Book Reading Special Award
2003 2nd KBS Entertainment Awards Top Excellence Award in Television MC
3rd MBC Entertainment Awards Top Excellence Award in Show/Variety
2004 SBS Drama Awards Special Award in Television MC
2005 4th KBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) 1st
2006 18th Korean Broadcasting Producer Awards Best Television MC
42nd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Male TV Personality
Blue Media Speech Award
6th MBC Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) 2nd
2007 7th MBC Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) (with Infinite Challenge members) 3rd
8th Korea Video Competition Photogenic Award
Mobile Entertainment Awards Best Television MC
2008 2nd Mnet 20's Choice Awards Variety Star of the Year
2nd SBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) 4th
1st Nickelodeon Korea Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Comedian
2009 21st Korean Broadcasting Producer Awards Best Television MC
9th MBC Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) 5th [56]
PD Award
3rd SBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) (with Lee Hyori) 6th [57]
Best Teamwork Award (for Family Outing)
2nd Nickelodeon Korea Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Comedian
2010 9th KBS Entertainment Awards Best Teamwork Award (for Happy Together 3)
10th MBC Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) 7th [58]
Korean Guardian Tree Award
4th SBS Entertainment Awards Best 10 Entertainers
3rd Nickelodeon Korea Kids' Choice Awards Favourite Comedian
2011 11th MBC Entertainment Awards Top Excellence Award in a Variety Show
5th SBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) 8th [59]
4th Nickelodeon Korea Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Comedian
53rd National Rowing Championships 2000m Novice Eight Special Award (with Infinite Challenge members)
2012 12th MBC Entertainment Awards PD Award [10]
6th SBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) 9th [60]
Viewers' Favorite TV Personality
3rd Korean Popular Culture and Arts Award Prime Minister Award
5th Nickelodeon Korea Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Comedian [61]
2013 49th Baeksang Arts Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) for TV 10th [62]
6th Nickelodeon Korea Kids Choice Awards Favorite Comedian
12th KBS Entertainment Awards Eating Broadcast Award (for Happy Together 3)
7th SBS Entertainment Awards Viewer's Choice Most Popular Entertainer Award
Viewer's Most Popular Award (with Running Man members)
2014 13th KBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) 11st [63]
14th MBC Entertainment Awards 12nd [64]
8th SBS Entertainment Awards Viewer's Choice Most Popular Entertainer Award
2015 15th MBC Entertainment Awards Achievement Award (with Infinite Challenge members)
9th SBS Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) (with Kim Byung-man) 13rd [65]
Viewers' Favorite TV Personality
2016 15th KBS Entertainment Awards Best Teamwork Award (for Happy Together 3)
16th MBC Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) 14th [66]
InStyle Korea Entertainer Star Icon (Male category)
2018 9th Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards Presidential Commendation [67]


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