Ha Dong-hoon (Hangul: 하동훈; born on August 20, 1979), better known by his stage name Haha (Hangul: 하하) is a German-bornSouth Korean singer, although he has branched out into different venues of entertainment. He had stints in acting as well as MC duties. Many of the younger generation mistake him for a comedian. This is especially the case for fans outside of South Korea;Many believe him to be a stand-up comedian but he has never been a comedian as in South Korea, comedians have to audition to become a comedian (Gagman). He is best known for being in the sitcom, Nonstop and for co-hosting two popular variety programs, MBC's Infinite Challenge and SBS's Running Man. He started a show called Ya Man TV on Mnet Broadcasting in 2015. It currently just aired its 7th episode on March 2, 2015.
Haha was born on August 20, 1979 in Stuttgart, Germany and moved to Seoul, South Korea when he was an infant. His parents are both Korean and he has an older sister, Ha Juri (Hangul: 하쥬리) who is a pianist. Haha graduated from Daejin University, where he obtained a Master's degree in Drama and Fine Arts. He later became a trainee for Seoul Records and debuted as a singer and rapper in 2001 with boy band, Jikiri. Despite excessive promotion, Jikiri failed to get popular and was quickly disbanded.
In 2002, Haha became a co-host for the show, What's Up YO! alongside MC Mong and Jerome To. The three later became known as the "What's Up Trio" because of their strong friendship on-screen. Haha later joined the main cast of the third season of Nonstop, a sitcom about a group of college students and their friends and family. He remained part of the cast up until 2003 which managed to gain him recognition for his acting and comedy skills. Haha later became the producer and presenter for his own radio show with MC Mong, known as Haha and Mong's Journey in 2004 for SBS Power FM.
After leaving Nonstop, Haha spent two years alongside singer, Taw, preparing and recording his debut album titled, "The Beautiful Rhyme Diary". The album was released on February 18, 2005 alongside his debut single, "Love Song" but failed to chart or garner much popularity. He eventually guested on X-man in May 22, 2005 and became popular for his imitations of close friend, Kim Jong-kook. His sudden popularity spike allowed him to become a regular guest for X-man, arguably the biggest variety show of that time.
Also thanks to his rising popularity, Haha added to the cast of MBC's Infinite Challenge by December 2005 as the part of the program's format changes under new PD of the program, Kim Tae-ho. By the time Season 3 aired in 2006, the concept and format of "variety & reality program" became very popular, and Infinite Challenge became the forerunner of many programs that followed with the same or similar format. Since December 2, 2006, the program has received the highest ratings of prime-time lineups for Saturday evening. In his final episode before entering the service, Haha performed at a guerilla concert at Yeouido Park that was secretly organized by his fellow co-hosts.
He also returned as a guest for the sixth and final season of Nonstop in 2006. In 2007, Haha released his second single, "You're My Destiny" which took a samples from the song "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King. The single managed to reach number one on the Gaon Chart and he performed on his Comeback Stage on Music Bank in November. Haha later joined the show, Happy Shares Company as a co-host until February 2008.
2008–present: National service, Running Man, and continued musical career
In February 2008, Haha temporarily left Infinite Challenge in order to serve his national service for the army. Previous reports had stated that he had been attempting to evade his military service however, these reports were confirmed to be false and Haha's service had only been postponed. During his service, he collaborated with a new group Davichi in their song "Love and War". After 24 months of serving the military, on March 11, 2010, he was discharged from the military.
Haha at press conference, Running Man Bros' US Tour, Dallas, December 14, 2014
After finishing his military service, Haha returned to the cast of Infinite Challenge following the requests from fellow co-hosts Yoo Jae-suk and Noh Hong-chul. He also made regular guest appearances on Yoo Jae-suk's talk show Come to Play and was the co-host of the Haha-Mong Show with MC Mong up until allegations had sprung up that MC Mong had attempted to evade his military service. Since 2010, Haha is one of the co-hosts for SBS variety show, Running Man. On December 30, 2011, Haha received the award for "Best Entertainer" during the 2011 SBS Entertainment Awards for his work on Running Man. He also performed his single, "Rosa" during the award ceremony.
In 2012, he continued with his musical career, collaborating on a mini-album, "Skull & Haha Ya Man", with fellow reggae artist Skull, who was previously with Stony Skunk. The two performed one of its tracks, "Busan Vacance" on several TV music shows, and Haha performed the song, along with other cast members, during fan meets for the Running Man show. Also, in 2012 he was featured, along with Gary, on their fellow Running Man cast member Kim Jong-kook's comeback album, "Volume 7 – Journey Home" in the song "Words I Want To Say To You".
In 2014, he and Kim Jong-kook formed a musical duo, Running Man Brothers, and visited the United States for a concert tour, in July, and December.