ONE Exclusive Interview - Ha Ha
How would you describe your role in Running Man?
The image I have always had since I was younger is that of a troublemaker. Previously I always welcomed guests as Haroro, and always tried to be the "last love" of the female guests. Whenever there is a conflict, I'm also always a part of it. The same goes for betrayals, even if Kwang Soo is also trying to be the betrayer.
You've played the role of 'spy' many times in Running Man. Any nerve wrecking moments to share?
Definitely. Among the members, no matter who plays the character of the 'spy', it's extremely nerve wrecking. If we're found out right at the beginning, the flow of the whole filming can be disrupted. As such the role of the 'spy' is actually very burdensome. As a 'spy', we have to be able to react according to the circumstances or the whole episode can be messed up. So that's probably the most nerve wrecking part.
Which of your fellow hosts in Running Man do you most love to work with?
The Running Man family members are very close as we've been working together very often since we were younger. I've been working with Jae Suk for a really long time, and the one I've been working with for the longest is Jong Kook. We've known each other for 14 years. I've also been close with Gary since even before our debuts. So there really aren't members who are particularly close to each other, everyone is close and gets along like a real family, much like blood relatives.
All of you seem really close on the show. Do you spend time together outside of the show? If yes, what do you usually do?
Yes, of course. We meet often. Even if there isn't filming, we'll meet to exchange ideas, hang out, catch up with one another, and even exercise together.
Is the main host Yoo Jae Suk the main reason why you chose to join Running Man in 2010?
No, it's definitely not because of that. If it's due to that then it will seem like I'm just leeching off him, but I have my own value too. With regard to Running Man, I'm also close to the staff. As we've worked together since the X-Man days, we had been discussing my participation ever since I completed my military duties. I was probably in the line-up for Running Man right from the start.
Do you idolize Yoo Jae Suk? Why and how has he influenced you?
Aside from his image as the national MC, he has a very good personality. And that's something I want to emulate. More than just an older brother, he feels like a teacher or even a father. To me, he really is someone with a very good personality.
As a male host, do you often look forward to female idols participating in the program? Which female idol has left a good impression with you and why?
This is a difficult question. Firstly, I'm thankful for all of them. For starters, it has to be Girls' Generation. When Girls' Generation came as guests, I was really happy. Everyone was so happy that we were very sad when they left. We still felt the sorrow even a week later. It was the same for f(x), and (Miss A's) Suzy. There were really so many idol girl groups, even KARA as well. The most memorable one for me, since I'm a Suzy fan, would be when we had a couple game and linked arms. It was interesting and I also came in first in that episode which made it even more memorable.
Can you share with us any special incidents or funny moments during the filming of Running Man.
There are interesting incidents and issues in every episode. So there actually isn't one that stands out. However amongst ourselves, whether or not the camera is rolling, "You're going to betray us, right?" "You're going to betray me, right?" We've adopted the habit of being suspicious of one another, although once filming for the episode is completed, we get along well with each other again. During filming breaks we become very sensitive and always treat each other with suspicion.
If given a choice, which superstar or idol will you like to invite to join the program? Why?
While idols would be good, I'm really worried that they will get injured during filming. Personally, I would like to invite action stars or international athletes. Like Usain Bolt, Mike Tyson, Ultimate Fighting Championship athletes Chu Sung-hoon, Kim Dong-Yeon, Jung Chang-Sun, or Hollywood action star Tom Cruise, Chow Yun-Fat, Andy Lau.
Jackie Chan appeared for a while once, but I think it would be interesting if he could join us for real, and even take part in the name-tag race. Just thinking about Tom Cruise jumping down from the building on a wire and removing our nametags makes me excited and my heart race. Oh! There's this movie that should be out. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. The Expendables. If the actors from that movie came it would be a big hit. Even Jason Statham too? It would really be a big hit if they could all appear.
Who have been the most challenging guest opponents this year?
This year? Who appeared as guests this year? There are so many of them I don't remember too clearly anymore. Did Choi Min-Soo appear this year? Ah...yes. Our eternal tough guy. The icon of toughness, Choi Min-Soo. He was entirely immersed in filming and overflowing with charisma, so it was a scary memory for me. Choi Min-Soo.
What is your biggest complaint to the producers of Running Man?
Kim Jong Kook. Please control his strength. Honestly, even up against three fit and able-bodied men, he's the Hulk! When he's entirely immersed in filming, he's really scary. If you're able to prepare some equipment or device, that would be good. He's really frightening. If only you could understand that. I would also love to win the final mission at least once. Some advantage to us that would allow fairness would be good. Or give Kim Jong Kook a handicap.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding in November. Is it difficult to balance filming Running Man and your love life especially in planning a wedding?
Thank you. Nothing has been done in terms of my wedding preparations. We're still looking for a location. Really nothing has been fixed at all. Of course the proposal has been done, but other than that, nothing else has been confirmed. Nothing at all.
You are known for being a fan of Bob Marley. How has Bob Marley influenced your music?
Right now, he really has become my main influence. Reggae has become one of the charms of my life, and given me the strength to stand on stage again. Even though I started off as a rapper and love rap, without differentiating the different genres I love music as a whole. However, reggae is a genre that isn't well received in Korea. It's regretful that throughout Asia, reggae is not well received only in Korea. That's a pity, and is also why I want to work harder to make it known. Bob Marley has also had a large influence on reggae. If there's a chance I would love to have a tour around South East Asia with my friend Skull, to the countries that love reggae. Yes he's called Skull, a good friend of mine. His song has reached 3rd place on the Hollywood, oh no, Billboard charts. I would love to hold a reggae party-like performance with him once.
What is the biggest highlight of your career? Do you think Running Man had a major contribution to your success?
In my life? For me, even though I'm doing other programs, ever since I was discharged from the military I've been doing only 2 programs, Infinity Challenge and Running Man. Running Man is almost like a second family, and it definitely means a lot to me.
What have you gained or lost being involved in the filming of the show Running Man?
I can't go on vacations. However I've gained a lot from Running Man. Returning to programs after army had been really hard for me. But being on Running Man has helped very much. Even though I originally had the image of a kid, with the help of the character of 'Haroro' I could become friends with and appeal to the younger children. With the growing influence of Hallyu, I've also been able to receive support from South East Asian fans so I'm really thankful to Running Man.
Running Man is very popular in South East Asia, what would you like to say to the supportive fans of Running Man?
To our South East Asian fans, I'm sincerely thankful. Even though I'm able to communicate with many of you through SNS portals, I never expected so many of you to love us and our program. I'm really thankful, and even though there are many areas I can't visit because there are just so many countries, I would really love to visit every country and meet all of you. Not just as a cast member of Running Man, but also if there ever is a chance for my album promotion I would love to bring happiness to everyone through a tour and show a better side of myself on stage. It was my birthday on August 28, and a lot of fans sent presents to my Korean grilled intestines restaurant. I received all the presents. I'm very thankful.