Yoo Jae-suk

Last updated
Yoo Jae-suk
Yoo Jae Suk going to work at Happy Together on August 19, 2017 (1).jpg
Yoo for Happy Together Season 3
Born (1972-08-14) August 14, 1972 (age 47)
Seoul, South Korea
Medium Stand-up, television
Nationality South Korean
Education Seoul Institute of the Arts
Years active1991–present
Genres Observational, sketch, wit, parody, slapstick
Na Kyung-eun  [ ko ](m. 2008)
Website www.fncent.com/YuJaeSeok/b/introduce/10867
Musical career
Also known asYoo San-seul
Years active2019–present
Yoo Jae-suk
Revised Romanization Yu Jae-seok
McCune–Reischauer Yu Chae-sŏk

Yoo Jae-suk (Korean : 유재석; Korean pronunciation:  [jud͡ʑεsʌk̚] or [ju] [t͡ɕεsʌk̚] ; born on August 14, 1972), is a South Korean comedian, host and television personality currently signed to FNC Entertainment. He has hosted several variety television shows in South Korea, including Infinite Challenge , Running Man , and Happy Together . 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, arguably the most well-known and popular celebrity in South Korea. [1] [2]


Early life and education

Born on August 14, 1972 in Seoul, Yoo is the eldest of three siblings. In 1985, Yoo Jae-suk completed his primary education and graduated from Youhyun Elementary School in Seoul. In 1988, He completed his middle school education and graduated from Seoul's Suyu Middle School. 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]



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"


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

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 December 2, 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 October 20, 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

Yoo also co-hosts Come to Play with Kim Won-hee [11] and Happy Together Season 3 . In particular, Happy Together is 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

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 July 11, 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, 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

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]

2nd heyday: Hangout with Yoo

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 will 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, [19] [20] the media labelled the show as Yoo’s 2nd heyday with Yoo’s 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. [21] [22]

Other notable programs: Sugar Man and Busted!

From 2015 to 2016, Yoo hosted the program Two Yoo Project Sugar Man together with You Hee-yeol. The program focuses on current popular artists remaking hit songs from singers who have disappeared from the public eye. [23] 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. [24] The show then returned again for a third season in late 2019 with Yoo co-hosting alongside You Hee-yeol, Kim Eana and Heize. [25]

Yoo hosted both seasons of Netflix's variety show, Busted! , which aired in 2018 and 2019. [26] [27] [28]

Guest appearances and collaborations

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". [29] He also appeared in Psy's follow-up single, "Gentleman". [30] In 2015, Yoo collaborated with JYP in Infinite Challenge. On July 15, 2015, Yoo signed an exclusive contract with FNC Entertainment after having been without an agency for about five years. [31]

In 2016, Yoo collaborated with EXO for the SM Station single "Dancing King", which was also a collaboration for Infinite Challenge. [32] He performed with them at EXO's EXO Planet #3 - EXO'rDIUM concert in Bangkok. [33]

In the media

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 Korea, [34] topping the Gallup poll in 2009, and for six consecutive years since 2012. [35] [36] [37] [38] He is one of the highest paid television personalities in Korea, [39] [40] and one of the most in-demand endorsers. [41]

Known for his exemplary image, Yoo has consistently been picked as a role model by fellow entertainers, as well as the citizens of Korea. [42] He makes donations regularly to several causes, and has participated in philanthropic acts. [43] [44] [45]

Yoo is the first television host to have his own wax figure, currently displayed at the Grevin Seoul Museum. [46]

Personal life

On July 6, 2008, Yoo married MBC announcer, Na Kyung-eun  [ ko ], who worked with him on the show Infinite Challenge. [47] [48] Yoo and his wife welcomed their first child, a son, Yoo Ji-ho, on May 1, 2010. [49] [50] Their second child, a daughter, Yoo Na-eun was born on October 19, 2018. [51]


List of current programs

2010–present Running Man SBS Since 2010.07.11
2019–present Hangout with Yoo MBC Since 2019.7.27 [52] [53]
2020 You Quiz on the Block (Season 3) tvN Since 2020.3.11 [54] [55]
2020 Busted! (Season 3) Netflix Since 2018.5.4



As lead artist

TitleYearPeak chart
Sales (DL)Album
"Fascination of Samba" (삼바의 매력)2007N/AN/AInfinity Challenge Gangbyeon Road Concert
"Grasshopper World" (메뚜기월드)20134 Park Myung-soo’s How About This?
"Hapjeong Station Exit 5" (합정역 5번 출구)
as Yoo San-seul
201999N/A* Hangout with Yoo "Bbong For Yoo"
"Redevelopment of Love" (사랑의 재개발)
as Yoo San-seul
"Redevelopment of Love 2" (사랑의 재개발 2)
as Yoo San-seul
2020Redevelopment of Love 2
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
* Gaon stopped releasing download sales numbers in January 2018.


TitleYearPeak chart
Sales (DL)Album
"All You Need Is Love"
with Infinite Challenge
2006N/AN/Adata-sort-value="" style="background: #ececec; color: #2C2C2C; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center; " class="table-na" | Non-album single
"If I Do It or Not" (하나마나송)
with Noh Hong-chul
2007N/AN/Adata-sort-value="" style="background: #ececec; color: #2C2C2C; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center; " class="table-na" | Non-album single
"The Family's Day" (패밀리의 하루)
with Family Outing members
2009N/AN/Adata-sort-value="" style="background: #ececec; color: #2C2C2C; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center; " class="table-na" | Non-album single
"Let's Dance"
with Tiger JK & Yoon Mi-rae
N/AN/AOlympic Expressway Music Festival
"Apgujeong Nallari" (압구정 날라리)
with Lee Juck
  • KOR: 3,081,488+ [59]
Infinite Challenge West Coast Highway Festival
"As I Say" (말하는 대로)
with Lee Juck
  • KOR: 1,857,332+ [60]
"Heat Stroked Seagull" (더위 먹은 갈매기)
with Song Eun-yi, Kim Sook
20125I'm A Singer In My Own Right
"Room Nallari" (방구석 날라리) [62]
with Lee Juck
  • KOR: 1,041,308+ [63]
data-sort-value="" style="background: #ececec; color: #2C2C2C; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center; " class="table-na" | Non-album single
"Please Don't Go My Girl
with You Hee-yeol, Kim Jo-han
20133Infinite Challenge - Jayu-ro Song Festival
"Dance King" (댄스왕) [65]
with You Hee-yeol
"Yes, We are Together" (그래, 우리 함께)
with Infinite Challenge
"I'm So Sexy"
with Park Jin-young
20155Infinite Challenge Yeongdong Highway Music Festival
"Dancing King"
with EXO
20162 SM Station
"Like" (처럼)
with Dok2 feat. Lee Hi
7Infinite Challenge Great Legacy
with Haha
2019N/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
2020114Farewell 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
"Play That Summer" (그 여름을 틀어줘)
with Lee Hyo-ri and Rain
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
* Gaon stopped releasing download sales numbers in January 2018.
TitleYearPeak chart
Sales (DL)Album
"Again" (다시)
Turbo Feat. Yoo Jae-suk
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
* Gaon stopped releasing download sales numbers in January 2018.

Music credits

Music credits adapted from the Korea Music Copyright Association. As of 23 December 2019. [73]

2011Yoo Jae-suk, Lee Juck
(Sagging Snail)
"As I Say" (말하는 대로)Infinite Challenge West Coast Highway FestivalYes Lee Juck NoN/A
"Apgujeong Nallari" (압구정 날라리)YesNo
2012"Room Nallari" (방구석 날라리)Non-album singleYesNo
2013Yoo Jae-suk, Yoo Hee-Yeol Feat. Kim Johan
(How Do You Dool)
"Please Don't Go My Girl"Infinite Challenge - Jayu-ro Song FestivalYes Yoo Hee-Yeol No
Yoo Jae-suk, Yoo Hee-Yeol
(How Do You Dool)
"Dance King" (댄스왕)Yes Yoo Hee-Yeol, TEXUNo
Infinite Challenge members"Yes, We are Together" (그래, 우리 함께)Yes Yoo Hee-Yeol, Infinite Challenge membersNo
2019 Running Man members"I Like It" (좋아)Running Man Fan-meeting: Project Running 9YesJung Joon-il, Running Man membersNo
UV, Urban Zakapa THIS IS MUSIC Hangout with Yoo "Yoo-plash"NoN/AYesYoo 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)NoYes 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?)NoYes Yoo Hee-Yeol, Yoon Sang, Lee Sang-soon, Jukjae, GRAY, Crush, Sam Kim
Paul Kim, Heize, Peakboy"Tic Tac Toe" (눈치)NoYes 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)NoYes 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"YesLee Geon-wooNoN/A


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  46. "Yoo Jae-suk to be recreated in wax, 1st for Korean TV show host". Yonhap. July 6, 2016.
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  50. "Na Kyung-eun Wants to Swap Mic for Maternal Duties". The Chosun Ilbo . 6 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
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  57. Cumulative sales of "Grasshopper World":
  58. "Gaon Digital Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart.
  59. Cumulative sales of "Apgujeong Nallari":
  60. Cumulative sales of "As I Say":
  61. Cumulative sales of "Heat Stroked Seagull":
  62. "'Snagging Snail' The remix version of 'Room Nallari' to be released". Yahoo. Star News. August 28, 2012.
  63. Cumulative sales of "Room Nallari":
  64. Cumulative sales of "Please Don't Go My Girl":
  65. "Yoo Hee Yeol & Yoo Jae Seok's bonus track 'Dance King' grows hot". Yahoo. Star News. November 7, 2013.
  66. Cumulative sales of "Dance King":
  67. Cumulative sales of "Yes, We are Together":
  68. Cumulative sales of "I'm So Sexy":
  69. Cumulative sales of "Dancing King":
  70. Cumulative sales of "Like":
  71. "Gaon Digital Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart.
  72. Cumulative sales of "Again":
  73. "Korea Music Copyright Association". komca (in Korean). Retrieved 23 December 2019.