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7 Funniest Moments in "Running Man"

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

The original cast of "Running Man"

The original cast of "Running Man"

Lately, fan cafes and forums are filled with complaints about Running Man’s supposed lack of funny and compelling episodes. People keep saying that games are being repeated way too much, the news ones are sloppy, and the cast members are becoming predictable. I don’t agree with most of them but appreciate the fact that many care to comment.

I want to balance things out and look back at some of the funniest moments in the show. It would all do us good to be reminded just how great Running Man is in making us laugh.

This post will be divided into two parts simply because there are simply too many moments. This is in no particular order.

1. Episode 5: The Introduction of Jong Kook’s and Gary’s Signature Dance

This was during the early part of the show’s run, and the cast members were still adjusting to the physical demands of the show. It was past midnight, and to keep people awake, the PD asked Yoo Jae Suk to get the cast members to do a “talent” show off.

The first one to be tagged is Kim Jong Kook. Having been a member of the hugely popular duo, Turbo, he was coaxed to show off his dance moves. However, he opted to demonstrate a dance he learned early on.

Later, Haha spilled that Gary was formally invited to be a part of H.O.T., but Gary declined to be in the boyband. Gary, however, didn’t have any problems recreating the famous dance in the '80s . . . he tweaked it a bit and made it his own of course.

The result is a hilarious hip-hop session. It also became the signature dance of both Kang Gary and Kim Jong Kook.

2. Episode 8: The Leisurely Tea

Perhaps the funniest moment in all of Running Man, at least to me. It is also a turning point for the cast members, realizing they can create funny moments with nothing but each other and Yoo Jae Suk leading the way.

The leisurely tea was anything but leisurely. The object of the game was to break the chopsticks by clipping it between their hands, but it took them more than five minutes before getting to the mission because they got busy messing each other up.

More than anything, this moment revealed so many things about the casts:

  • Yoo Jae Suk can spin any situation into anything funny.
  • Ji Suk Jin is often deemed as the weakest member, but in fact, he is the one whom YJS looks to for support in creating funny situations; notice how Ji Suk Jin was able to stretch the situation where his head was being hit and by stick on the forehead and by “rescuing” Song Ji Hyo’s terrible comedic timing when they asked her to make a cheer for the team.
  • Kang Gary’s unparalleled wit. In fact, this is the moment when Monday Couple actually started. This is also the moment that proved easily Kang Gary can wiggle out of any situation also by using his wit.
  • Haha may be the weakest physically, but his facial expressions are his strongest comedic element. Notice how he reacted when he failed to break the chopsticks. He did nothing, but his eyes managed to convey what’s in his head, “I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m dead.”
  • Kim Jong Kook’s vulnerability lies in small but sharp pain. Everyone has attested to how strong Kim Jong Kook is. Those buff muscles aren’t for display. He really is strong, but if there is any kind of pain that really gets to him, it’s those sharp pain like the pain caused by breaking. He did manage to break the stick, but his reaction says the pain got to him.

Watch the clip below.

The current cast of Running Man: Yoo Jae Suk, Song Ji Hyo, Kim Jong Kook, Ji Suk Jin, Haha, Gary, and Lee Kwang Soo

The current cast of Running Man: Yoo Jae Suk, Song Ji Hyo, Kim Jong Kook, Ji Suk Jin, Haha, Gary, and Lee Kwang Soo

3. Episode 27: Drawing Game With TVXQ

TVXQ remains one of the most popular boybands in Asia, and they have some of the most protective fans out there. So much so that even the leading ladies in their dramas get death threats if they kiss Max Changnim or U-Know Yunho in their drama.

Kim Jong Kook’s variety of experiences was evident as he figured out a way to turn TVXQ’s popularity to his advantage by acting like he was scared of the TVXQ. Yunho’s terrible art skill almost caused the team’s victory, but Kim Jong Kook always blamed the other Running Man members for their loss. The other RM members, specifically Yoo Jae Suk and Haha, did well in feeding off Kim Jong Kook’s situation.

4. Episode 30: Deforming Their Faces

This one is for the PDs.

Koreans are big in slapstick comedy and Running Man PDs know exactly how to give the members the platform to do slapstick comedy. In this episode, the members were asked to push and pull faces of the others members to make them as deformed as possible. Gary became the natural target because of his “ugly” character. Yoo Jae Suk and Ji SukJin were the next targets because their experience in variety made them more “game” to get as ugly as possible for the sake of a good laugh.

However, props to the PDs who thought of maximizing a simple venue to create some good laugh.

PD Jo, the brains behind Running Man

PD Jo, the brains behind Running Man

5. Episode 37: The Pitiful Fan Signing

This is one of the first few moments when the members were separated, and they were forced to create moments on their own. They were dropped off in an isolated location with a booth announcing they were having a fan signing. With no support, the members simply had to create funny situations, and most of them didn’t disappoint.

Yoo Jae Suk was obviously the most popular and required nothing but a couple of minutes to get people to line up for his fan signing, but he also easily created a funny situation when he forced the producer with him to accept one fan card with his signature. He also bantered with the PD until he found someone to whom he can give his autograph.

Haha created a “drama” by asking several students to act like they are crazily running toward him. Count on Haha to turn simple situations into a funny movie.

Lee Kwang Soo knows how to maximize his character as the “loser” in the group, but his brilliance as a variety star allowed him to spin off his character as an unconventional loser. He is the loser that fights back and, at times, win over their strongest. In this episode, he was the last to finish, but he managed to banter with the fans and establish a relaxed atmosphere that allowed the fans to be more spontaneous with him. Lee Kwang Soo managed to turn his fans into his bullies, which ultimately won him more screen time.

7. Episode 37: Park Ye Jin vs Yoo Jae Suk

Song Ji Hyo is known as a tough woman in Running Man, but Park Ye Jin is the original tough woman of all of variety. She proved this in her one-on-one with Song Ji Hyo. Park Ye Jin is one of the very few women who creamed Song Ji Hyo in a one-on-one.

Park Ye Jin managed to establish her character to strong that she had to quit Family Outing early because her character in the variety show was overshadowing her ability as an actress.

When Park Ye Jin made an appearance in Running Man, Yoo Jae Suk, and Kim Jong Kook, again displayed their veteran variety skill by sustaining their characters in Family Outing and carrying them onto this episode. Kim Jong Kook stood stunned at the sight of Park Ye Jin. In fact, he willingly gave her his walkie-talkie and even taught her how to use it after being ousted.

Yoo Jae Suk caught Park Ye Jin, but Park Ye Jin managed to fulfill her mission “while caught” by Yoo Jae Suk. Lee Kwang Soo’s expression after discovering Park Ye Jin just fulfilled her mission says it all.