Archive for February, 2010


Kim Jong il comedy club

Last night on BBC Four they showed Kim Jong-il Comedy Club. This documentary is about a very tall Danish man called Mads and two Korean adoptees, Jacob and Simon, who travel to North Korea to put on a small comedy sketch. However, the ulterior motive is more to check out North Korea and to play a bit of a joke on them by sending these two very amateur guys to go on stage in North Korea. What makes this documentary so good is that the way they are treated is genuinely pretty frightening.

The highlights are when Mads comes to ‘understand’ the Korean mind and shows this by giving a long rambling speech that in ‘any country would’ve landed him in prison’ to the moment they get pushed into a Anti-US propoganda parade and put on national television with Jacob angrily telling Mads to stop lying and Mads telling him he is sorry but feels they better just do as they are told for now.

The other angle of the story is that Jacob has some physical handicap. He gets pampered like a little child by their guide but is then sidelined in all the activities related to the show. Jacob’s speech can’t be understood by the Koreans so he is free to talk openly and gives some good commentary of how ridiculous things can be in the Workers Paradise such as when he notes that he is being smothered by the guide who is patting him and announces it all to be ‘extremely weird’, which to me, put things pretty aptly.

I only found this by chance as I was looking through the channels to see what, if anything, was worth watching on tv last night. However, the London Korean Links knew all about it – I really should check out their site on a more regular basis.

After this and the likes of ‘Don’t Tell My Mother I’m in North Korea’, I wonder it North Korea is going to wise up to these guys and their documentaries where they do the voice over and subtitles after the footage has been checked.


February 2010
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