Yoo Jae-suk

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Yoo Jae-suk
Yoo Jae Suk going to work at Happy Together on August 19, 2017 (1).jpg
Yoo in 2017
Born (1972-08-14) 14 August 1972 (age 49)
Seoul, South Korea
EducationSeoul Institute of the Arts
Years active1991–present
AgentAntenna
Spouse(s)
(m. 2008)
Children2
Comedy career
Medium
Genres
Musical career
Also known as
  • Yoo San-seul
  • U-Doragon
  • Jimmy Yoo
GenresTrot
InstrumentsVocals
Associated actsSSAK3
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised RomanizationYu Jae-seok
McCune–ReischauerYu Chaesŏk
Signature
Signature of Yoo Jae-seok

Yoo Jae-suk (Korean유재석; Korean pronunciation: [jud͡ʑεsʌk̚] or [ju] [t͡ɕεsʌk̚]; born on 14 August 1972) is a South Korean comedian, host and television personality. He has hosted several variety television shows in South Korea, including Infinite Challenge, Running Man, Happy Together, and Hangout With Yoo. Known for his quick wit and appeal across a wide range of demographics, Yoo has established himself as one of South Korea's top comedians and TV personalities as well as one of the most well-known and popular celebrities in South Korea.[1][2] He is also a member of SSAK3.

Early life and education[edit]

Born on 14 August 1972 in Seoul, Yoo is the eldest of three siblings. In 1991, he completed his high school education and graduated from the Yongmoon High School in Seoul. In the same year, Yoo entered the acting department of Seoul Institute of the Arts.[3]

Career[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Mainstream recognition as "Nation's MC"[edit]

X-Man[edit]

Yoo later hosted the show X-Man, which soon grew to be one of the most popular and highest rated shows in South 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.[6]

Infinite Challenge[edit]

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 was one of the program's founding members.

Despite low ratings during its 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,[7] Infinite Challenge became the forerunner of many programs that used a similar format.[8] Since 2 December 2006, the program has received the highest ratings of prime-time lineups for Saturday evening.[9]

Yoo revealed his love for the program during 1-on-1 talk with fellow co-host, Jeong Hyeong-don, on a "Pause" special (S04E300) that aired on 20 October 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 show like this."[10]

Talk shows[edit]

Yoo also co-hosts Come to Play with Kim Won-hee[11] and Happy Together Season 3. In particular, Happy Together was one of the longest running talk shows in Korea and has consistently earned high ratings.[12]

Good Sunday Variety Programs: Family Outing and Running Man[edit]

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 became one of the top-rated shows in Korea, consistently achieving the highest ratings for the Sunday mid-afternoon time-slot, and it gained popularity among Hallyu fans.[13]

Since 11 July 2010, Yoo has hosted the urban action variety Running Man together with fellow Infinite Challenge member Haha, fellow Family Outing member Kim Jong-kook, 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 (who left after episode 559 to continue with the rehab of an injury he sustained from the past year), Song Joong-ki (who left since episode 41 to focus on his acting career), 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.[14]

Post Infinite Challenge[edit]

After the end of Infinite Challenge, Yoo's biggest show, in March 2018, articles were being written about how Yoo was in a crisis and past his prime. Though with himself still topping popularity charts, new shows of his such as Laborhood on Hire and You Quiz on the Block while finding moderate success and having favourable reviews, were not able to fill the shoes of Infinite Challenge.[15]

Second heyday: Hangout with Yoo[edit]

Hangout with Yoo[16][17] was the eagerly anticipated new project with the partnership of the power duo from Infinite Challenge. The main driving forces for the success of Infinite Challenge are main program director Kim Tae-ho and Yoo, as the main host. Unfortunately, initial reactions to the show were not ideal and ratings were plummeting, leaving many Infinite Challenge fans disappointed.

After the disappointing start a few episodes in, the show began working on a new project. The project was to have Yoo learn to play a simple beat on a drum set. The recorded sample was then passed down from musician to musician in which each musician would add their own accompaniment in, and ultimately end up with a complete song. With the start of this project, ratings and reviews for the show were picking up.[18]

With the show slowly picking up in popularity,[16][19] the media labelled the show as Yoo's second heyday with his debut as a rookie trot singer, Yoo San-seul for another of the show's project. Yoo released a three-track trot album, Bbong For Yoo.[20][21]

Other notable programs: Sugar Man and Busted![edit]

From 2015 to 2016, Yoo hosted the program Two Yoo Project Sugar Man together with Yoo Hee-yeol. The program focuses on current popular artists remaking hit songs from singers who have disappeared from the public eye.[22] 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.[23] The show then returned again for a third season in late 2019 with Yoo co-hosting alongside You Hee-yeol, Kim Eana and Heize.[24]

Yoo hosted both seasons of Netflix's variety show, Busted!, which aired in 2018 until 2021.[25][26][27]

Guest appearances and collaborations[edit]

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".[28] He also appeared in Psy's follow-up single, "Gentleman".[29]

In 2015, Yoo collaborated with JYP in Infinite Challenge.[citation needed]

On 15 July 2015, Yoo signed an exclusive contract with FNC Entertainment after having been without an agency for about five years.[30]

In 2016, Yoo collaborated with EXO for the SM Station single "Dancing King", which was also a collaboration for Infinite Challenge.[31] He performed with them at EXO's EXO Planet #3 - EXO'rDIUM concert in Bangkok.[32]

In 2020, through Hangout With Yoo, Yoo collaborated with Lee Hyo-ri and Rain to form the summer project co-ed trio SSAK3. Two original songs, "Beach Again" and "Play That Summer", and one cover song, "In Summer", were released.[33] Soon after the end of SSAK3, Yoo collaborated with Lee Hyo-ri together with Kim Jong-min and Jung Jae-hyung on the "Refund Sisters" with Uhm Jung-hwa, Jessi & Hwasa as a promise after reaching number 1 in MBC Music Core show.[34]

On 6 July 2021, Yoo left FNC Entertainment upon the expiration of his contract and became a free agent.[35] On 14 July, it was announced Yoo has signed with Antenna.[36]

On December 13, 2021, Yoo was diagnosed with COVID-19, canceled all of his schedules and is taking necessary measures in accordance with quarantine agency guidelines.[37]On December 21, 2021, it was reported that Yoo had recovered from the infection after completing home treatment for COVID-19, according to a health official's decision.[38]

In the media[edit]

Yoo has been dubbed "the nation's MC" for his broad appeal and popularity with a wide demographic of viewers.[1] He has consistently ranked as the top comedian in South Korea,[39] topping the Gallup poll from 2005 to 2009, and for ten consecutive years since 2012.[40][41] He is one of the highest paid television personalities in Korea,[42][43] and one of the most in-demand endorsers.[44]

Known for his exemplary image, Yoo has consistently been picked as a role model by fellow entertainers, as well as the citizens of Korea.[45] He makes donations regularly to several causes, and has participated in philanthropic acts.[46][47][48]

Yoo is the first television host to have his own wax figure, currently displayed at the Grevin Seoul Museum.[49]

Personal life[edit]

On 6 July 2008, Yoo married MBC announcer, Na Kyung-eun [ko], who worked with him on the show Infinite Challenge.[50][51] Yoo and his wife welcomed their first child, a son, Yoo Ji-ho, on 1 May 2010.[52][53] Their second child, a daughter, Yoo Na-eun was born on 19 October 2018.[54]

Filmography[edit]

List of current programs[edit]

Year Title Network Notes Ref.
2010–present Running Man SBS Main cast
2019–present Hangout with Yoo MBC [16][55]
2020–present You Quiz on the Block (Season 3) tvN [56][57]
2021 Come Back Home KBS2 [58]

Web show[edit]

Year Title Platform Role Notes Ref.
2021 Clumsy Antenna Kakao TV Main Cast with Artist from Antenna [59]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart
positions
Sales (DL) Album
KOR
[60]
"Fascination of Samba" (삼바의 매력) 2007 N/A N/A Infinity Challenge Gangbyeon Road Concert
"Grasshopper World" (메뚜기월드) 2013 4 Park Myung-soo's How About This?
"Hapjeong Station Exit 5" (합정역 5번 출구)
as Yoo San-seul
2019 99 N/A* Hangout with Yoo "Bbong For Yoo"
"Redevelopment of Love" (사랑의 재개발)
as Yoo San-seul
89
"Redevelopment of Love 2" (사랑의 재개발 2)
as Yoo San-seul
2020 Redevelopment of Love 2
"Luv Us" (두리쥬와)
as U-Doragon; feat. S.B.N
18 Luv Us X Linda X Exciting
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
* Gaon stopped releasing download sales numbers in January 2018.

Collaborations[edit]

Title Year Peak chart
positions
Sales (DL) Album
KOR
[62]
"All You Need Is Love"
with Infinite Challenge
2006 N/A N/A Non-album single
"If I Do It or Not" (하나마나송)
with Noh Hong-chul
2007 N/A N/A Non-album single
"The Family's Day" (패밀리의 하루)
with Family Outing members
2009 N/A N/A Non-album single
"Let's Dance"
with Tiger JK & Yoon Mi-rae
N/A N/A Olympic Expressway Music Festival
"Apgujeong Nallari" (압구정 날라리)
with Lee Juck
2011 2 Infinite Challenge West Coast Highway Festival
"As I Say" (말하는 대로)
with Lee Juck
5
"Heat Stroked Seagull" (더위 먹은 갈매기)
with Song Eun-yi, Kim Sook
2012 5 I'm A Singer In My Own Right
"Room Nallari" (방구석 날라리)[66]
with Lee Juck
5 Non-album single
"Please Don't Go My Girl
with You Hee-yeol, Kim Jo-han
2013 3 Infinite Challenge - Jayu-ro Song Festival
"Dance King" (댄스왕)[69]
with You Hee-yeol
27
"Yes, We are Together" (그래, 우리 함께)
with Infinite Challenge
5
"I'm So Sexy"
with Park Jin-young
2015 5 Infinite Challenge Yeongdong Highway Music Festival
"Dancing King"
with Exo
2016 2 SM Station
"Like" (처럼)
with Dok2 feat. Lee Hi
7 Infinite Challenge Great Legacy
"HOLLYWOOD"
with Haha
2019 N/A* Running Man Fan-meeting: Project Running 9
"Confession, Come Out Now" (이제 나와라 고백)
with Soran and Jeon So-min
"I Like It" (좋아)
with Running Man members
"Farewell Bus Stop" (이별의 버스 정류장)
as Yoo San-seul; with Song Ga-in
2020 114 Farewell Bus Stop
"As I Say (2020 Live Ver.)" (말하는 대로 (2020 Live Ver.))
with Lee Juck
Hangout with Yoo "Indoor Concert"
"In Summer (Covered By SSAK3)" (여름 안에서 (Covered By 싹쓰리))
with Lee Hyo-ri and Rain; feat. Hwang Kwang-hee
3 Hangout with Yoo "SSAK3"
"Beach Again" (다시 여기 바닷가)
with Lee Hyo-ri and Rain
1
"Play That Summer" (그 여름을 틀어줘)
with Lee Hyo-ri and Rain
2
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
* Gaon stopped releasing download sales numbers in January 2018.

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart
positions
Sales (DL) Album
KOR
[75]
"Again" (다시)
Turbo Feat. Yoo Jae-suk
2015 1 Again
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
* Gaon stopped releasing download sales numbers in January 2018.

Music credits[edit]

Music credits adapted from the Korea Music Copyright Association. As of 23 December 2019.[77]

Year Artist Song Album Lyrics Music
Credited With Credited With
2011 Yoo Jae-suk, Lee Juck
(Sagging Snail)
"As I Say" (말하는 대로) Infinite Challenge West Coast Highway Festival Yes Lee Juck No N/A
"Apgujeong Nallari" (압구정 날라리) Yes No
2012 "Room Nallari" (방구석 날라리) Non-album single Yes No
2013 Yoo Jae-suk, Yoo Hee-Yeol Feat. Kim Johan
(How Do You Dool)
"Please Don't Go My Girl" Infinite Challenge - Jayu-ro Song Festival Yes Yoo Hee-Yeol No
Yoo Jae-suk, Yoo Hee-Yeol
(How Do You Dool)
"Dance King" (댄스왕) Yes Yoo Hee-Yeol, TEXU No
Infinite Challenge members "Yes, We are Together" (그래, 우리 함께) Yes Yoo Hee-Yeol, Infinite Challenge members No
2019 Running Man members "I Like It" (좋아) Running Man Fan-meeting: Project Running 9 Yes Jung Joon-il, Running Man members No
UV, Urban Zakapa THIS IS MUSIC Hangout with Yoo "Yoo-plash" No N/A Yes Yoo Jun-sung, Yoo Se-yoon, Muzie, Jo Hyun-ah, MO'I
So!YoON!, SUMIN "Please Distress Me + It's Not That I Can't" (날 괴롭혀줘 + 못한 게 아니고) No Yes Sunwoo Jung-a, Yoon Suk-Chul, Lee Sang-min, Han Sang-won, DOCSKIM, So!YoON!, SUMIN
Boi B, Gaeko, Choiza, Geegooin, GRAY, Crush, Wonstein, Mommy Son, Zior Park, Sam Kim "How Do You Play?" (놀면 뭐해?) No Yes Yoo Hee-Yeol, Yoon Sang, Lee Sang-soon, Jukjae, GRAY, Crush, Sam Kim
Paul Kim, Heize, Peakboy "Tic Tac Toe" (눈치) No Yes Lee Juck, Sunwoo Jung-a, Jeong Dong-hwan, Paul Kim, Heize, Peakboy, Yang Hye-seung, Hong Joon-ho, Lee Tae-yun
Zion.T, Colde "Confused" (헷갈려) No Yes Yoo Hee-Yeol, Yoon Sang, Lee Sang-soon, Jukjae, Colde
Yoo San-seul "Hapjeong Station Exit 5" (합정역 5번 출구) Hangout with Yoo "Bbong for Yoo" Yes Lee Geon-woo No N/A

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

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  71. ^ Cumulative sales of "Yes, We are Together":
  72. ^ Cumulative sales of "I'm So Sexy":
  73. ^ Cumulative sales of "Dancing King":
  74. ^ Cumulative sales of "Like":
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