Back in 2016, singer Eric Nam appeared as a guest on tvN‘s Saturday Night Live Korea, dressed as Krillin from Dragonball Z. His bald cap and animated eyebrows sure got a good chuckle out of the audience.
Fast forward five years later, a Korean netizen claiming to be a friend of a former SNL staff shared the story behind the hilarious Krillin skit. According to the story, the staff claimed that in the original script for the skit, Eric Nam was actually not meant to be Krillin — but that changes were implemented after the singer made some conscientious choices against being offensive and insensitive.
The Krillin skit still makes me laugh, but there is something really important to know about it. I heard this from my friend who used to be a staff on the SNL show, but you know how the ‘3-Minute Boyfriend’ skits are based on the Korean ready-made 3-minute curry product, right? And the original skit had Eric Nam portray Gandhi. But Eric said absolutely not. He told the staff that they can’t portray Gandhi like this for comedy.
So the staff suggested comedian Hong Seok Chun instead, since the comedian is also bald and runs an Indian cuisine restaurant. Then Eric pointed out that it is never okay to mock a person of sexual minority. So that plan got cancelled too. Eric said he doesn’t mind making himself look ridiculous, but that he found Gandhi and the sexual minority to be absolutely off limits.
After a meeting, the production team decided on Krillin from ‘Dragonball Z.’ And apparently, after the skit went live, Eric went around greeting everyone and signing autographs. My friend became a huge fan after that.
The story about Eric Nam’s conscientious choice has resurfaced after the controversy building around K-Drama Joseon Exorcist started making headlines. The series faced backlash for the “inappropriate usage of Chinese props,” as well as the “distorted and inaccurate portrayal of South Korean history.” Following the backlash, Korean viewers actively criticized the actors cast in the series for having taken on the roles regardless of the show’s controversial nature.
While the production team has addressed the issue, Joseon Exorcist has seen a large portion of its advertisements withdraw from sponsoring the series. In response to the growing concerns, SBS decided to cancel this week’s episode of Joseon Exorcist.