|"Gag Concert" will return to television after three-year hiatus. Courtesy of KBS|
By Kwak Yeon-soo
"Gag Concert," Korea's longest-running comedy show on KBS, will return to television in November after a three-year hiatus.
The program aired for 21 years until it was axed in 2020 amid a ratings slump. The emergence of social streaming platforms, which give people immediate access to countless uncensored comedic videos, led to the downfall of the sketch comedy TV show.
It will return on Nov. 5 and air every Sunday night on KBS at 10:25 p.m. (KST). The show will contain all the familiar format points, but with brand new cast members. Before it goes on air, the cast will be perform a comedy show at the 11th Busan International Comedy Festival (BICF), which will run from Aug. 25 to Sept. 3.
Some established comedians welcomed the news. "It's exciting that the broadcaster is bringing the show back again. I hope it gives opportunities to fresh talent and leads to the revival of comedy," comedian Kim Dae-hee said at a recent press conference for BICF.
Another comedian Song Jun-geun mentioned how "Gag Concert" has its own charm. "Of course, the revived show may have a new set of things to say, but I hope it is just as entertaining as before. There is a large generational gap, and many people now enjoy watching comedy shows on their phones. I hope the new show brings families together like it did in the past."
The TV show has served as a launch pad to bigger careers for many comedians, including Kim Jun-ho, Kim Byung-man, Lee Su-geun and Kim Jun-hyun.
After premiering in 1999, "Gag Concert" soared in popularity with a mix of slapstick and prop comedy skits. Its viewership peaked at 28.9 percent in 2003 and hovered around 20 percent until the early 2010s. However, the numbers plunged to about 5 percent to 6 percent in recent years as entertainment trends changed.
Meanwhile, another long-running comedy show "Comedy Big League" will go on indefinite hiatus after its final episode on Sept. 13. "The show will be taking a break to develop new comedy formats and material," tvN said in a statement.
First aired in 2011, the show soared in popularity with a mix of slapstick and prop comedy skits. However, its viewership ratings plunged to below 3 percent in recent years due to lack of refreshing comedy ideas and changes in entertainment trends.