Fans adore Haha, sweat and all

JAMAICAN JAM: Reggae duo Skull (left) and Haha, both 33, performing their first showcase outside South Korea at Zouk last Saturday night. The latter hosts popular variety show Running Man.
Fans adore Haha, sweat and all

FROM DIFFERENT WORLDS: Skull is from the underground music scene while Haha is more active on variety shows.


    Jul 22, 2013

    Fans adore Haha, sweat and all

    HE ISN'T your typical K-pop idol, but South Korean funnyman Haha's sweat- drenched towel was still a coveted item by his fans here.

    The 33-year-old co-host of popular variety show Running Man unabashedly wiped his toned body, even his armpits, before pitching the rolled-up towel into the crowd.

    "Do you like me or the presents better?" asked Haha, to which the zealous audience shouted in unison that it was him they wanted.

    Haha, whose real name is Ha Dong Hoon, was relatively unknown outside his home country until Running Man boosted his fame.

    Fans were introduced to another side of him last Saturday night, when he was in town as part of reggae duo Skull and Haha. Their first showcase outside South Korea was held at nightclub Zouk.

    The fans filled two levels, crowding mostly around the stage on the dance floor.

    Some enthusiastic fans even donned Running Man-inspired gear, from caps worn by Haha's co-host, Gary, to the show's signature Velcro name tags, worn on the backs of participants.

    One such fan was teacher Iris Poh, 32, who turned up with her husband. They follow the variety show that has contestants (regular hosts and a changing roster of celebrity guests) fighting to outwit, outplay and outlast each other in a series of crazy tasks.

    Mrs Poh said: "I know Haha through Running Man, that's why we're here. We've watched all the episodes."

    Even those who weren't familiar with Skull (real name Jo Sung Jin) and Haha's music found it hard not to bop along to the pair's infectious tunes, like Reggaerilla and Busan Vacation.

    Haha revealed in a previous interview that he has been in love with reggae music since he heard it on Infinite Challenge, a variety show that he also hosts.

    The star released a solo reggae album called Quan Ninomarley A.K.A. Haha Reggae Wave in 2011, before his collaboration with Skull, 33.

    At a press conference at Square 2 last Friday, Skull said that doing reggae in the pop-inundated industry can be "lonely".

    "But it's getting bigger in South Korea and Asia...We feel proud that more people are getting interested in reggae music, especially our music," he added.

    Sporting dreadlocks, the laid-back Skull was more reserved than the Energizer bunny Haha.

    Their diverse backgrounds are what makes them click, said Skull, who added that they come from "different worlds". He is from the underground music scene, while Haha is more active on variety shows.

    Haha recently became a father, and that doting side emerged towards the end of the show when he asked a young boy to come on stage.

    But it looks like fatherhood isn't going to stop this comedian from playing the bad guy, known for turning on his teammates in Running Man.

    He said: "I'll change (my image) if the programme needs me to. But I can do even greater betrayals if (the producers) want me to."