m a r k a n d e y a

Slave Contracts

Posted by Brian on May 12, 2005

Some Korean gagmen are angry:

Meanwhile, another 14 comedians with the popular SBS program "People Searching for Laughter" including Yun Taek and Kim Hyeong-in have asked their management firm, Smile Mania, to release from contracts they say are grossly unfair. "The contract we signed with Smile Mania last fall is an unfair one for 10 to 15 years and with almost no signing bonus,” they said in a statement. “The contract is disadvantageous to the comedians in many ways such as substituting our signing bonuses for theater rents and meal costs." Smile Mania president Park Seung-dae said the contract was for those who only wanted to be stand-up comics. “But since the situation of the actors has changed, we can now discuss the content of the contract."

It seems like every year or so, some segment of the Korean entertainment industry – singers, actors, now gagmen – get all up in arms about their contracts… the term "slave contract" gets thrown a lot during such periods. Frankly, I really can't understand their protests; the one-sided nature of contracts in the Korean entertainment industry is not a huge secret… even an outside observer like myself knows what's going on behind the stage. Like Hollywood some 50 or so years ago, management here controls access to the industry. If you want to be on TV… if you want to be famous… you need to play by their rules. These gagmen, desperate to be rich and/or famous, signed a deal with the devil and now they have their regrets. Deal with it…

It's like going to a restaurant with the best steak in the world, but the staff slaps you in the face as you leave. If the steak is really that good and makes the slap worth it, by all means go. But if you don't want to get slapped, regardless of how tasty the steak is, you should stay home. What you shouldn't do is go there to eat knowing full well what you're getting into it, and then complaining about it later. That's just silly.

My message to all these comics is that if they don't like it, quit. The world will go on just fine even without your latest "look at me dressed like a woman" skit.

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