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9 Badass Kang Gary Moments in 'Running Man'

Fairlane is a devout Asian entertainment fan. On the side, she is a professional screenwriter and author.

Kang Gary and his "mother of hiphop" look

Kang Gary and his "mother of hiphop" look

Even before Kang Gary joined Running Man, The Movement crew attested to the wit and humor of Kang Gary. In their limited interviews, they were able to reveal that Gary often became the focal point of their gathering because once he gets rolling, there’s no stopping him.

To Kang Gary’s own admittance, he can only be funny and wacky in front of the people he is comfortable with. Kang Gary was close to only one person in Running Man, Haha. That’s why it took time for him to get on his footing, but even in the early days of Running Man, despite his awkwardness and shyness, he already showed his badassery.

Let us look back in some of his badass moments.

#9 Episode 10 – “Are You in a Hurry?”

The members of Running Man decided to leave Kang Gary and Song Ji Hyo alone after the incident in Episode 8 where Kang said Ji Hyo had beautiful eyes. The two were so awkward but it was Ji Hyo who decided to talk first and asked Kang Gary when he plans to get married.

The remark was to supposed to be a jab at Kang Gary’s singleness despite being in his 30s. Kang Gary shot back and said, “Are you in a hurry?” It implied that Ji Hyo is asking because she wants him. It was a joke, of course.

What We Realized

  • Kang Gary knows how to summon his talents at will.
  • Kang Gary is a lyricist, a darn good one at that. In the most awkward of situation, with a beautiful woman in front of him, he turns everything around and dropped a line that Ji Hyo couldn’t come back from. If you want to dare Kang Gary to a battle of wits, you will have to be a genius to beat him.
  • It’s a prelude to Kang Gary being the “come back king”. Unless you’re ready to go down, don’t dare try to 1Up him.

#8 Episode 42 – First Best of the Best

Kang Gary finished the initial challenge first by calling his manager and asking for the number of the artist they were supposed to find. He eventually decided to ally with Haha, an ironic move considering Haha is the original betrayer. Gaining the extra nametag, he proceeded to trick Kim Jong Kook and battle Song Ji Hyo.

What We Realized

There are several things that make this episode a Kang Gary revelation.

  • Kang Gary knows Haha well, well enough to be assured that Haha won’t betray him.
  • Kang Gary is street smart. Of all the members, Kang Gary is the only one who thought of calling his manager to ask for the phone number of the celebrity. Come to think of it, why not? Manager move in the same circle.
  • When he wants to win, he pretty much wins. He said halfway through the episode that he might as well win considering he already tricked Kim Jong Kook.

#7 Episode 211 - Scheming With Ailee

The mission was to turn 1407 to 0 by finding numbers and mathematical signs. Kang Gary is not known for scheming or lying. To date, that is still his biggest weakness. However, in this episode, he managed to come up with a really good strategy, a simple one that’s fitting to his situation – pretend Ailee and he don’t have anything they need and just get the teams to give them numbers and signs they need to win.

It worked. Other teams didn’t see them as a threat and essentially left them alone for the most part. As a result, they got everything they wanted without much of an effort.

What We Realized

  • Kang Gary can “play” the Running Man way when he wants to. He is finally getting around to it. Scheming and lying is not his nature. It is still not but he finds his way around it.
  • He works well with women who are fighters.

Kang Gary is known for badass one on one nametag tearing battles in Running Man. Click here and read about some of the greatest nametag tearing battles on the show.

#6 Episode 38 – Prison UnBreak Philosophy

The whole of Running Man team was jailed for different funny offenses. Everyone instinctively looks for ways on how to break free… except Kang Gary. He said, “Why waste the energy to break free if we will be set free after six hours anyway? Might as well rest.”

It’s funny but it actually makes perfect sense. Why waste your energy trying to break free when you can very well rest for six hours.

What We Realized

You know the one thing in common among geniuses? They all have simple minds. Yup, you heard that right. Simple minds. They are the masters of logic that allow them to discover solutions to the most complicated of problems. A person disappears from sight after walking to a distance, that must mean the world is not flat.

For every action, there is a reaction.

In order to fly, copy what animals that can fly do.

If you will be set free anyway, why try to break out? Stupid producers. Genius Kang Gary.

Kang Gary with Jessica, one of the memorable partnerships on the show

Kang Gary with Jessica, one of the memorable partnerships on the show

#5 Episode 28 – Nanchuks All Kill

Kim Byung Man was killing the whole team with stunts. He was sure to win and singlehandedly humiliate Running Man. One of the hardest challenges was the Nunchuks because only Bruce Lee can hit tomatoes with nunchuks five consecutive times.

What We Realized

Kang Gary can take on Bruce Lee. Not only did he actually hit those darn tomatoes five times, he did so even if it was his first time to ever use nunchuks.

Kang Gary’s ability to focus allows him to do amazing things. It’s hard enough to hit something as small as a tomato with a stick. Imagine hitting it with nunchuks five times.

Kang Gary has the tendency to surprise people, including himself. No one really counted on him in this situation but he came through.

#4 Episode 145: Gary vs Kim Byung Man and JinWoon

Kang Gary is not a stranger to 2 vs 1 situations. He lost some and won some. He is not always favored in situations like this. For one, he is not as buff as Kim Jong Kook, does not train regularly and is, at least, two inches shorter. However, it’s amazing how he has battled many who are taller and stronger.

He got to this situation when Kim Byung Man and JinWoon trapped Kang Gary. In no time, the two were giving it their all to pin Kang Gary down. They were serious too. The plan was to hold Kang Gary on either hand but they couldn’t do it to the last minute.

What We Realized

Kang Gary is hella fast. Kim Byung Man is already fast and JInWoon is fit too but the two put together can’t hold down the 8th dan Tae Kwon Do master. At one point, they had him but Kang Gary used his sheer speed to break free. It was one of those scenes when the production team showed in full and with one continuous shot instead of editing it.

I personally think it is the most raw of all scenes ever shown in Running Man. It was so raw that by the time Yoo Jae Suk arrived to help Gary, Gary said “it felt like a real street fight”

There is a possibility the production team tipped Yoo Jae Suk of what was going on and that is why he was first on the scene. Yoo Jae Suk probably also felt that thing might get heated up and that’s why he warded Byung Man and JinWoon away instead of fighting with them.

#3 Episode 134 – Gary vs YJS and SJH

In the Asia tour special, Kang Gary was ousted by Song Ji Hyo from his team. Kang Gary ended up teaming up with his “brother from another mother”, Haha and Han Hye Jin. Unfortunately, Haha and Hey Jin got ousted. Kang Gary was left all to himself. He found himself against Yoo Jae Suk. After several tearing attempts, Yoo Jae Suk called Song Ji Hyo. It was supposed to be an easy win. After all, it is The Ace and Yooruce Willis.

Until Kang Gary used his brains and some mild Tae Kwon Do movies and managed an upset. He ousted Yoo Jae Suk and then tricked Song Ji Hyo into making a deal to team up until they oust one of the two remaining competitors.

What We Realized

  • This is just several episodes after Kang Gary said he is logging out of Song Ji Hyo and eventually reconciled. Many believe that Kang Gary actually meant it when he said he was “logging out”. Whether he meant he was logging out of the love team or of his supposed “real” feelings with Ji Hyo is a different post altogether. What is apparent is that since the “logging out”, the Monday Couple had been more cooperative in contributing to the MC moments but the moments also have been more “put on” and sometimes, even, forced.
  • This episode is also one of the first times Kang Gary blatantly betrayed Song Ji Hyo and this is the most obvious one. This is a precursor to the fate of the Monday Couple, a comedy loveline that is adorable but obviously fake.
Kang Gary in Episode 134

Kang Gary in Episode 134

#2 Episode 125 – Christmas Episode

Kang Gary has been called the man of Christmas because he wins all Christmas episodes and some of the most meaningful ones. He won the Best of the Best Superpower Episode which was their Christmas episode. In their 2012 Christmas Episode was actually a team competition but all of Kang Gary’s teammates were ousted.

Battling four people, everyone expected him to hide and then eventually get ousted. They were wrong on both. He went on the offense and then won much to Haha’s surprise and delight.

What We Realized

  • Kang Gary has a knack for special episodes. He seems to charge up during special episodes: Best of the Best 1, Best of the Best 2, Christmas Episodes, Asia Tour and others.
  • Everyone Knows he is fast but he rarely showed his strategic side. He used the element of surprise and outstanding positioning in order to gain some advantage.

#1 Episode 74 – Battle With Yoo Jae Suk With His Lolol

The Best of the Best 1 is the first time Kang Gary face Yoo Jae Suk on a straight on one-on-one. I was certain he was going to lose because his LOLOLS weren’t defending him much. They could have held on to his nametag but they simply stood there as Yoo Jae Suk attacks him from behind.

Yoo Jae Suk is also more experienced in nametag tearing because he has been more active than Kang Gary.

Kang Gary also feels in awe of Yoo Jae Suk and barely fights Yoo Jae Suk. This one was a surprise.

What We Realized

  • Kang Gary has the natural ability to create “signature characters.” It was the first time LOLOLs were used in any show and it was deemed terrible. Even Running Man members themselves felt it was more a disadvantage rather than an advantage but he made it his own.
  • While many deem Battle of the Best 1 as a victory won by luck, this one was undeniably a victory won with his skills and talents.
  • Kang Gary is a force to reckon with, a player who will come through if he wants to. Nobody can take him for granted, especially on episodes that matter the most.

Kang Gary has always been the dark horse of the show. From being an unknown and awkward non-celebrity musician, he was shy and awkward in the early part of the show. However, he has gradually developed confidence on himself. It allowed him to show his funny side.

What allows him to be this “free”, however, is the security of knowing that no matter how popular he becomes as a variety star, his music will never get overshadowed. Prior to Running Man, he has been a respected and successful musician. That plays to his advantage. Once he became popular as a variety star, his background as a musician came to light.

He, then, masterfully demarcated his personality as a variety star from his music. As a result, he is able to maintain his credibility as a musician while building up his variety star status.


7012 Forever on September 11, 2020:

Kang Gary is really my favorite running man. :) He is the breath of fresh air in the show and keeps it from becoming boring. When Gary is around, you won't know what to expect. I miss seeing him in running man. As much as I understand his decision to leave, he really felt a huge hole in the running man show. It's hard role to fill. Nobody can compare to Kang Gary.

I miss Leessang on November 22, 2019:

one of my favorite moments of Kang Gary was when he teamed up with Krystal Jung and won the episode. He was smart, sly, and cunning that episode.

FAN OF SONG JI-HYO on September 09, 2017:

Ummm. Gary oppa, I hope that you would come back, After the past 324 episodes I've watch, I couldn't move on just because you left the running man variety show, Gary oppa? You know everytime I watch the episode 324 I cry, I dont know the reason why i always cried, But I have High hopes for you oppa, hope you do well on your career and Congratulation on your wedding, Sorry if it's late Hehe, But still i can't accept it that you really have to leave the running members. But I will never ever forget the Monday couple i've known after the 6 years of watching it. SALANGHAEYO GARY OPPA. Imissyou

None on December 15, 2016:

He's a very smart bad boy

Kresta7012 on October 25, 2016:

I was very sad when I heard the news about him leaving RM. But I hope for the best for Gary Oppa. HIMNESEYO OPPA ^_^

Song Ji Hyo 2 on June 18, 2016:

Kang Gary Is So Cool And Humorous Especially Around Ji Hyo I Hope To See More Inspiring Moments In The Future In Running Man And I Also Hope That He Writes More Songs..:)!!

Song Ji Hyo on June 12, 2016:

I love Kang Gary so much!! I was really sad and shocked when he said he will stop all his variety shows :( but fortunately it didn't happen