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Content creator Lee aims to become Korea’s Jon Stewart

Content creator and media critic comedian Lee Young-joo / Courtesy of Lee Young-joo


By Jhoo Dong-chan

Lee Young-joo may have been a lesser-known figure in the star-studded lineup when he was first cast for a discussion panel of top cable channel JTBC’s new show, “Chayinanun Class.”

But the content creator and media critic comedian was named the most frequently searched figure at the nation’s top internet portal Naver shortly after the show was first aired on March 5.

The 33-year-old, who hosted the JTBC Digital Newsroom’s foreign affair show, “Brave New World,” and operates his own independent media Youtube channel, UpsetLab, attracted a great deal of audience attention for his cutting remarks and incisive questions during the show.

Lee said “democracy is like underwear” when former welfare minister and show host Rhyu Si-min asked what democracy is during the show.

“The first thing we wear is underwear after taking a shower. We then wear shirts and pants,” Lee said.

“Likewise, I believe democracy is the prerequisite virtue society should wear. It then wears other stuff like justice, national security and public welfare. If we change the order wearing pants instead of underwear first, it would be like Superman. We have seen a number of tragic cases throughout history that those powerful political figures oppress democracy and basic human rights.”

Graduating from the University of Southern California, Lee started paying attention to Korean politics when he came to the country in 2009.

“I have since had various jobs like as a card company salesman before I joined JTBC in 2014. I found Korean politics as well as public opinion as somewhat too serious and hostile to opposition,” he said.

“I wanted people to discuss such agendas in a pleasant and joyful way. I would like to become Korea’s Jon Stewart.”

Jon Stewart is an American comedian and media critic who hosted “The Daily Show,” a satirical news program on Comedy Central, from 1999 until 2015. Gaining critical acclaim and popularity for his acerbic and satirical criticism of the public agenda, “The Daily Show” won 22 Primetime Emmy Awards.

“Unlike the U.S., it is still very difficult for comedians to use their satire and wit in describing the nation’s public agenda. Even if we satirize those powerful people based on facts, they often just sue us for defamation,” Lee said.

“I believe these laws should be revised. I believe society would be better off when more people talk freely about what they believe. I would like to become a social asset contributing to introduce such a society here as soon as possible.”


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