Late North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Il enjoyed an elaborate personality cult at home but he was also a favorite of Western popular media, which found him to be a time-tested source of laughs.
From Hollywood to websites, satirists relished skewering a leader whose shrill missives to the world, intolerance for any dissent and bouffant hairstyle made him — at times literally — a cartoon villain.
He was spoofed on Fox’s MADtv as a talk show host who raps about his pursuit of nuclear weapons and gleefully shoots petrified cast members who do not follow his every wish.
P. Diddy & Kim Jong-Il
Even more incongruously, a website dubbed “Kim Jong-Il Dropping the Bass” depicts the usually humorless dictator as a nightclub DJ, ceding the spotlight to revelers as he devotes himself to the turntables.
Kim’s death has immediate consequences for one US show, NBC’s “30 Rock,” where a fictional Kim kidnapped a character. Fans have been asking on social media how the show will adapt.
Margaret Cho, the Korean American actress who has played Kim on “30 Rock,” wrote on her blog that while the role was obviously comedic, she felt a sense of tragedy when she donned his trademark jumpsuit.
30 Rock, Kim Jong-Il and Cho
“My heart broke for a country cut off from the rest of the world, whose only representative is a crazed megalomaniac who fancies himself a polymath… who can not only play the most incredible golf, he also directs films and is half man-half deity — also half-size — as well as being a full-time dictator,” she said.
Perhaps the best-known satire of Kim Jong-Il was in the 2004 movie “Team America: World Police,” a biting take on US foreign policy by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the popular animated series “South Park.”
Kim, in marionette form, feeds UN weapons inspector Hans Blix to sharks, plots to carry out bombings across the world and organizes a “peace ceremony” led by actor Alec Baldwin.
And some Asian Americans are uneasy about the media depictions. The humor in “Team America” plays on Kim’s small stature and some Asians’ difficulties distinguishing between the “r” and “l” sounds in English.
Frank H. Wu, chancellor and dean of the University of California Hastings College of the Law and author of “Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White,” said that while virtually no Asian Americans sympathize with Kim, the community is sensitive about racial stereotyping.
“When individual Asian foreigners are criticized, as they should be, there is the risk of a group image that adversely affects Asian Americans,” he said.
“Asians often are depicted as inscrutable and mindless in following a leader. Assimilated Asian Americans are accused of the same thing when they participate in politics here: being untrustworthy and not being capable of independent thought.”
Danny Cho impersonating him is funny!
Oh well! RIP! LOL!