Meet Han Gi-myeong, Korea’s ‘first disabled stand-up comedian’

by KnowingKorea

Every Thursday at 6pm, in a comedy club just off Exit 7 of Hongik University Station in Seoul, ordinary people gather to participate in an open mic. Among these, one of the most popular is Han Gi-myeong, a 25 year-old who introduces himself proudly as ‘Korea’s first disabled stand-up comedian’.

Unashamed of his physical and mental disabilities, which make it uncomfortable simply to move his arms and legs, Han instead uses them as the main inspiration for his jokes, having no qualms with making a caricature of himself.

Han dreamed of becoming a comedian ever since he was 7 years-old after a car accident left him in a coma for six months, before being moved to a general ward where he was confined to bed. With little else to do besides watch television, Han fell in love with the popular Korean sketch-comedy show ‘Gag Concert’. “I dreamed of becoming a comedian because I wanted to have a job that would move people and make them laugh,” he explained in a press interview.

After years of hesitation, Han finally took the plunge on February 1st this year, though it was far from smooth sailing from the start, as he describes his first performance as a complete disaster thanks to a mixture of nerves and lack of rehearsal.