Brownie, the Hot Dog
I think the piggie toy stars of past hit dramas never enjoyed as much stardom as this zen doggie, who never bites~ hehe
Here’s a translation of an article written by comedian Jung Tae Ho, also known as “Jung Yosa” or “Madame Jung”, the owner who brings Brownie around asking for shopping refunds. From Naver News’ Star Column – “24 Hours of Gag Con” by Jung Tae Ho”, edited by Hwang Tae Hee.
[Editor’s introduction] In KBS2 Gag Concert’s “Madame Jung” skit, upper-class madame Jung Tae Ho saunters in on cue. She gives nonsensical reasons on supposedly defective goods she had bought from the store, before insisting on a product exchange from hapless salesman Song Byung Chul. Her last resort — “Brownie! Bite him!”
“Madame Jung” was performed by gagmen Song Byung Chul, Jung Tae Ho and Kim Dae Sung (above, L-R). However, the star of the show was a toy doggie named Brownie, who brought much fame to the skit, and jealousy from his human colleagues. Although it’s funny that the comedians are jealous of a toy dog, that’s the reality of the dog’s stardom. We have invited Jung Tae Ho to write about his first meeting with Brownie, as well as his real feelings towards the toy, as well as what goes on behind-the-scenes in a gagman’s life. //
Brownie & Me
# The Truth about Brownie…
These days, more and more people are looking for Brownie. What’s more when I (Jung Tae Ho) get interviewed, 8~9 out of 10 questions are about Brownie. Siiiigh… Why do I even have to do an interview on behalf of a toy – I often wonder to myself.
Brownie’s discovery was totally accidental. Initally, we didn’t even think of using a toy as a laughter element in our skit. We just wanted to find accessories that could accentuate Madame Jung’s “visuals” (outward appearance). In other countries, some women of rich families always seemed to be accompanied by a big and impressive dog when they appear in public, that’s how the idea struck. Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy to find a real dog like that for the show.
Upon a suggestion by our mak nae (most junior colleague) Ki Soo, we went to the KBS prop room and found a Siberian Husky toy. While bringing it to show the PD, I thought to myself how ridiculous this is, but after the PD examined it, he said that this little guy would be ok for stage. I named it Brownie just ‘cos that was the first name that popped up in my head. “Brownie, Brownie… Sounds good. That’s it! Your name is Brownie!”
When Brownie first appeared on stage in the skit’s first recording, the audience went wild, and I was shocked. What’s this? Such a response… When I left the stage, I was in high spirits, but there was a nagging doubt somewhere. I just simply joked on the spot “Bite him!” and the audience interpreted it as a cue for laughter. This was a rare case of accidental good luck on stage.
[2012-10-25] Brownie joins a candlelight protest by members of the Manwon Market, and will “Bite HomePlus!”, protesting against the megamart’s bid to set up a branch in the area
Juxtaposed against the pompous, luxurious image of Madame Jung, the silly, frozen expression of Brownie the toy dog tilts the balance the other way. The fierce and stubborn ways of Madame Jung contrasts against the dog’s stoic silence, always calm, never angry. To tell the truth, I was sometimes confused and assumed that Brownie didn’t want to talk, forgetting that Brownie couldn’t talk.
Brownie is a great gift to me and to our gag skit “Madame Jung”. But I was also angry and jealous of him — I was angry that I got jealous at a toy. My fellow members even suggested, “What if Brownie disappeared just once in the skit…” But of course, why the thought in the first place? We’re the leads of the show, not the dog, right?
You can feel Brownie’s popularity during photo requests as well. Requests that asked us to stand aside for a solo photo with Brownie… what’s more, during an interview by “Entertainment Relay”, Brownie dominated the ending footage too. This is a total reversal of who the master was.
Initially, I was quite happy that there was much interest in Brownie. Brownie was originally an acting prop but the concept of Brownie was so endearing he became the lead even in photoshoots. There were many articles about him, many celebrities took photos of themselves hugging him, and his popularity just rocketed higher.
(2012-10-22) Brownie and gang on the runway, as VIPs to the Seoul Fashion Week S/S 2013
# “Where’s Brownie?”
Brownie’s popularity was created wholly by the public. To tell the truth, I’d prefer if Brownie could be less exposed (?) to the media during the period when Madame Jung was being aired. Yes, it sounds funny if a toy dog has to have a schedule (like a celebrity), but I felt that Brownie was over-exposed — he’s here, there, everywhere.
I thought about the consequences of making this little guy disappear from the skit, when he had to go on stage during a “Music Bank” recording. (translator note: Music Bank probably made their pre-recordings at the same time as Gag Concert, in the same station) Whether it was that incident, or the many instances when celebrities took photos with him, it was very obvious that he was much more popular than us. When we intended to remove the toy from the show, people around were shocked. Well, if the response wasn’t good, we could just simply bring him back, couldn’t we? At that time, those people made me feel as if I commited a big crime. I realized that with Brownie’s level of popularity, his disappearance wouldn’t just affect Madame Jung’s gagmen alone (but probably the whole show too).
Another time, after a Gag Concert recording, a group of fans gathered in front of KBS. They sounded like they were chanting “Bo Ra unni, Bo Ra unni” (Shin Bo Ra is a popular gagwoman, “unni” is an endearing term for an older female you like). Bo Ra was elated and rushed out to meet the fans… until OMG! The fans weren’t chanting “Bo Ra unni”, they were chanting “B-row-nie”! Poor Bo Ra unni had to graciously give way to Brownie. She could only smile weakly then.
(2012.10.03) Brownie and Madame Jung “crashes” K Will’s recording studio, as part of the singer’s promotion of his 3rd album. At 1:35, K Will puns.. “브라우니가 물면 터지는 앨범~” (If Brownie bites, this album will explode in popularity) /_ _ \;;
People often asked me about what Brownie thinks. “What does Brownie think about this?” “What did Brownie say?” questions like that, to which I replied humbly in the same way, “Why don’t you ask him yourself?” What more should I say? It’s better to say that then to offer more lies, no?
With Brownie’s popularity, more and more people wanted to have a Brownie for themselves. Many Brownie imitations could be found in the market. The production team decided that they had to do something to protect the true Brownie, and created a certificate of authenticity (below) for the Brownie toy, the “Real Brownie”. Also an authorized badge hanging from Brownie’s collar defines it from other imitations.
Although this is not confirmed yet, as Brownie’s popularity is created by the public, we are thinking of donating the proceeds of Brownie toy sales to a charity. Strictly speaking, those money wasn’t really earned through our gag alone. Thanks to Brownie, we hope to be able to put those money to better use and also improve our team’s image too, much like killing 2 birds with one stone.
(2012-09-27) “Madame Jung” stars and Brownie visited and donated 1 ton of food to a local pet shelter
# Although it would be good if “Madame Jung” could extend it’s run..
It has been 4 months since “Madame Jung” began. Now, the fans are used to our skit’s patterns. Whichever skit it is, what troubles gagmen most is always the content. Thus, a skit is at it’s most entertaining when it airs for the first time. Ironically, the longer the fans enjoy the skit, the more the skit is being depleted of entertaining ideas.
Towards the end, it often felt as if Madame Jung’s attempts at product exchange wasn’t that interesting anymore, thus we increased airtime for Brownie to liven up the skit. However, doing too much of this may disrupt the original flow of the skit, changing it completely.
Gagmen usually work at the same place throughout the week, having meetings and giving ideas, thus their life experiences could be more limited compared to ordinary people. To be able to generate interesting ideas, we have to depend on our past life experiences, as well as the generous help from our fellow senior and junior gagmen and scriptwriters.
These days, the gag code (trend) changes rapidly, thus it’s hard to maintain a long-running skit, requiring lots of hard work and interest from the public. Although I hope this skit can extend as long as it can, there are people who would rather a skit ends at it’s highest point. Now that the skit has had it’s last curtain call, I feel regretful when I hear fans ask, “Has Madame Jung ended already?” Proving that it ended at it’s best.
My current challenge is to enable the gag skit “Brave Lads” to continue on stage. It’s my goal to achieve a “Brave Jung Tae Ho” out of “Brave Lads”, after lit. coming out of being the successful Madame Jung.
More Brownie Sightings