[Interview] Running Man stays committed because of gold
“Running Man” is arguably one of the most famous variety shows in Korea, enjoyed by not only Koreans but also by international viewers from all corners of the world. Even though it went through cast changes twice, with the addition of Korean idol Lizzy (After School member) after the departure of actor Song Joongki and then she herself later stepping off, seven members maintained as the permanent cast of the famous show.
Yoo Jaesuk, Kim Jongkook, HaHa, Gary, Ji Sukjin and Lee Kwangsoo have been with the show since day one, with Song Jihyo joining them later as the only female member. Their popularity has grown to the point where they have now become jet-setting celebrities who travel the world to visit their fans. Their most recent stop was Malaysia, though only five members were able to make it.
TheHive.Asia recently had the chance to attend “Running Man Hotlink Race Start Season 2 In Malaysia” press conference on 1 November 2014 at Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur, where amidst jokes and jests the members spilled their thoughts on Malaysia, being in “Running Man” and their motivation to stay committed to their show.
The five “Running Man” members present during the press conference.
What is your first impression of Malaysia?
Song Jihyo: This is my first time coming here. Because of our schedule, we had no chance to walk around yet. Today after the press conference, we will take the time to enjoy Malaysia.
Ji Sukjin: [Jokes] The only thing I managed to see was the swimming pool. But I do not like water so I do not swim.
Kim Jongkook: As Jihyo said, we couldn’t sightsee last night because it was too late. For me, this is my third time coming to Malaysia, it’s all thanks to you guys [the fans]. It feels like home whenever I come to Malaysia.
Lee Kwangsoo & HaHa: [Jokingly interrupt] Me too, me too.
Jongkook: Especially the weather, I love hot weather.
How does it feel like being part of “Running Man”?
HaHa: If I were to describe it in one word, I would pick ‘miracle’. I think it is a miracle for me and I really didn’t expect the show would become this big. Every day I am thankful, and I appreciate everyone’s love for and response to the show. I’m really grateful for it.
Kwangsoo: I completely agree with HaHa and I am so happy that we made it here in Malaysia for a fan meeting. It is amazing. I am utterly grateful for people who support “Running Man”. When we were on the way to Malaysia, we couldn’t help talking among each other just how amazing it is to go to another country to have a fan-meeting.
Jihyo, how does it feel like being the only girl in “Running Man”?
Jihyo: It’s not easy, it’s tough. From day one, Kwangsoo and the oppas (big brothers) have been taking care of me. So here I am today, still on “Running Man”, still with them. Without their help, I would’ve never made it.
HaHa: [Jokes] Don’t just verbally thank us, show us how you feel. Pay us! Pay us!
If the seven members of “Running Man” are able to shoot a commercial together, what kind of commercial would you shoot?
Jihyo: It would be awesome if we get to have one. Since we give off the impression of being healthy and full of energy, maybe we can do something related to that or since we always play game on the show, we can do a commercial for children, too.
HaHa: [Jokes] I have a suggestion but it’s not for me. I would like to recommend Ji Sukjin. On the show, he is known for his character as wangko (Big Nose), so I think he can promote nose pack (nose strips). As for Kim Jongkook, he’s known as the Tiger, since he is very masculine and fit, maybe it will be good for him to do cosmetics and lingerie commercials.
How do all of you manage to stay so humble despite your fame?
Lee Kwangsoo & HaHa: Thank you, thank you! [Playfully bow in an exaggerated manner]
Sukjin: I think it’s because of Korean culture, we are taught over and over again to have good manners.
Jihyo: Kwangsoo and I are maknaes (the youngest), oppas are the ones who show us how to appreciate fans’ love and support.
Kwangsoo: [Jokes] I have always been humble.
How do you stay committed to the show?
Jongkook: [Jokes] The prize is gold.
Sukjin: It’s just that once the cameras start rolling, if you don’t work hard, you’ll be ‘out’.
Jongkook: We always enjoy it. We always have fun naturally and never think we’re working. We always just try to enjoy our show.
HaHa: Me too. These people [Sukjin, Jongkook] are being humble again. The show is actually physically demanding, to shoot even one episode is very tough. But a lot of people love us. They watch us, they support us, so there is no way we can become lazy. Especially Sukjin hyung (older brother), he’s old. He has a hard time shooting but we really do enjoy shooting the show. We bear great responsibility and obligation so the fans can continue enjoying the show.
Any message for your Malaysian fans?
Jihyo: Jaesuk and Gary are not here with us, I’m sad that they’re not here and sorry that they are missing out on the experience. Next time we will come back to Malaysia as seven members, as a complete group.
Catch all seven members of “Running Man” on their weekly variety show.