August 12, 2011 09:56
Comedian Kim Byung-man has published an autobiography, where he reveals the family hardships and personal demons he struggled with on the road to stardom.
The 36-year-old came from an extremely poor background and only made it to where he is now by force of his dogged perseverance. Like many gripping narratives, his is a classic rags-to-riches tale of overcoming adversity.
Kim, who has one older brother and three younger sisters, developed a series of insecurity and parent-related complexes in his formative years. His father turned to alcohol after failing in business and put the family in chronic debt, while his mother barely helped make ends meet by taking on odd jobs such as working at a restaurant.
Kim also did whatever he could to contribute to the family coffers after graduating from high school, such as taking on jobs as a manual laborer. His small stature -- he is only 158.7 cm tall -- also hampered his confidence and made him more of a shrinking violet.
However, he refused to give up his dream of breaking into Korea's entertainment circle. After leaving his home in Wanju, North Jeolla Province, he moved to Seoul and lived in a small room with other aspiring comedians. He became obsessed with breaking into TV and began applying for auditions with the country's major broadcasters.
After failing to convince producers at KBS in three auditions, and crashing out of four auditions for MBC, he finally won his ticket to perform on KBS on his eighth attempt in 2002.
His autobiography explains how he became a star after his enduring performances on "Gag Concert," a comedy show produced by KBS that called on him to take part in all kinds of slapstick and acrobatic stunts.
The book details his painstaking efforts to perfect his craft on stage, and how he learned to bury his emotions and insecurities in order to make audiences laugh. He explains how getting bruised or injured in slapstick stunts became part of his daily routine, and how a professional comedian cannot let viewers see any of the tension or pain he may be experiencing so as not to interrupt their experience of releasing stress through comedy.
"I want to show people the quintessence of slapstick comedy through movies, dramas and other media," he said. "Furthermore, I hope I can make the whole world laugh. I know this is the time when I should be trying even harder than when I first set out."
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