Yu Jae-seok Continues His Reign

South Korea's most popular comedian tops the chart for the 16th time in 17 years.

Yu Jae-seok Continues His Reign

Photo: Yu Jae-seok. Credit: Antenna Entertainment.

Since 2007, Gallup Korea has conducted a year-end poll of the year’s top celebrities, including actors, sports stars and pop singers. For 2023, Yu Jae-seok 유재석 (41.3%) was once again the most popular performer in the category of comedians and TV hosts, beating out second-place finisher Kang Ho-dong 강호동  (14.%) by an overwhelming margin. Yu has taken the top spot in almost every one of Gallup Korea’s 17 annual polls to date, with the sole exception of a second-place finish in 2011.

The bespectacled 51-year-old host of Infinite Challenge 무한도전, Running Man 런닝맨 and YuQuiz 유키즈 debuted as an 18-year-old comedian in 1991, a record at the time, and rose to stardom on the strength of his rare ability to poke fun while remaining good-natured, and to keep his dignity while cutting loose. In addition to his standing as a TV show host, Yu is also known for his cameo in Psy 싸이’s Gangnam Style 강남스타일, in which he (as the “yellow suit guy”) appeared with Running Man co-host No Hong-cheol 노홍철 (the “elevator guy”), which helped boost the visibility and popularity of the  ultra-viral music video.

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