Absurdity and nostalgia

humor in K-pop

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Most contemporary K-pop is performed by impeccably styled and physically attractive idols, who earnestly embody “sexy” and desirable characteristics in their music and videos. Yet K-pop also includes distinctly humorous themes; idols are expected to possess comedic ability and charisma in order to engage with fans and participate in television variety shows. This is reflected in the abundance of comical music videos, incorporating slapstick and physical comedy, absurdity, satire, and kitsch nostalgia. This chapter first explores the use of humor as a part of the larger idol and media ecosystem; second, it examines how humor comments on Korea’s rapid modernization and the significant cultural, economic, and lifestyle changes of the past thirty years.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge companion to popular music and humor
EditorsThomas M. Kitts, Nick Baxter-Moore
Place of PublicationNew York ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781351266642
ISBN (Print)9781138577565
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Music Companions

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