Episode 452: November 15, 2016
<Live Talk Show Taxi> is a talk show hosted by comedian Lee Young-ja and actor Oh Man-seok. The two pick up a couple of celebrities and interview them as they drive around in a taxi. It’s a pretty simple concept, so the show relies heavily on the interactions between the MCs and guests.
Filming usually takes a few hours, but Tom Cruise was only available to film for half an hour, so the first half of this episode is just filler. Scroll down if you only want to read only the interview parts with Tom Cruise.
MCs Lee Young-ja and Oh Man-seok are waiting outside a CGV movie theater. I think it’s the one in Apgujeong, Gangnam. They announce that today’s guest is Tom Cruise!
Cut to the Gimpo International Airport where hordes of fans scream as Tom Cruise arrives in Korea. He takes photos and signs autographs with fans. He’s looking a little older than I remember. But then again, I haven’t really paid attention to him since his couch surfing days on <Oprah>.
Meanwhile, MC Lee Young-ja talks about when she first met Tom Cruise in 1994 when he came to Korea to promote <Interview with the Vampire.> She interviewed him for an entertainment news show and asked Cruise if he could lift her. He did pretty easily, which is no small task because Lee Young-ja is known for being overweight. She’s one of those comedians who does a lot of self-deprecating fat jokes.
It’s because of their history together,that Cruise decided to appear on <Taxi.> It’s not a bad show, but I’m just surprised he decided to go with a cable show. All the other Hollywood stars that come to Korea have been on terrestrial channels like Jack Black, Brad Pitt, and even Paris Hilton. The only exception I can think of is Chloe Grace Moretz who was on SNL Korea.
MC Lee Young-ja says they’re going to go to a hotel in Gangnam to meet with Tom Cruise, but on the way there, they’ll hang out with special guests reporter/comedians Kim Saeng-min and Kim Kyeong-shik who are known for hosting a movie segment on <Let’s Go! Video Travel>.<let’s go!=”” video=”” travel=””>
MC Lee Young-ja apologizes to them for not bringing them on as the main guests, but it is Tom Cruise after all. Kim Saeng-min comments, “Oh you mean that guy who lifted you that one time?” Psh. Pretending like they don’t know who Tom Cruise is.
Kim Saeng-min and Kim Kyeong-shik are good-natured about it though, “Just think of us as the cover, and Tom Cruise is the main event inside.” (It sounds wittier in Korean.)
While on their way to meet up with Tom Cruise, the MCs interview Kim Saeng-min and Kim Kyeong-shik in their taxi. Kim Saeng-min has been in the film critic industry for 19 years and Kim Kyeong-shik for 15 years. They joke that means that if they were attending a standard conglomerate, it would be time for them to retire.
Oh Man-seok chides the two for being con men. They always make the movie reviews sound good and trick people into watching even the bad ones. Kim Kyeong-shik, “Don’t blame us. We get tricked too. Sometimes we write reviews based on the previews only.”
The MCs ask a few more questions about them. The first is whether the “ad libs” they do on their movie review show are real or scripted.
Kim Kyeong-shik says his are written by the show writers. His segment relies on fast comedic timing, so it’s not really possible for him to make them up on the spot.
The second question is whether it’s really true that their filming only takes 15 minutes per episode for <Let’s Go! Video Travel>. Kim Saeng-min, “Well we film twice per week. One day in the studio and one day for voice over narrations. Since we’re veterans, it doesn’t take much time.”
MC Lee-Young-ja, “So that’s why your salary hasn’t gone up in ten years . . . ”
Kim Saeng-min, “Yeah, it’s been over ten years. We need to switch companies or move programs to get a pay raise.”
Now the topic shifts to Tom Cruise. Lee Young-ja shares that when she asked Cruise if he could lift her 22 years ago, she was going off the script, and all his bodyguards were angry at her. She was lucky that Cruise was in a good mood.
We cut to what Tom Cruise is doing. He is at the Lotte World amusement park & mall complex for a press release for his latest film <Jack Reacher: Never Go Back>.
Kim Saeng-min and Kim Kyeong-shik talk about their favorite Tom Cruise movies. Kim Saeng-min like <Top Gun> so much that he brought aviator glasses and wore a green jacket today. I can’t believe it’s already been 30 years since the movie came out.
Kim Kyeong-shik says he likes <Cocktail>. “Even though Tom Cruise is known for his action films, he’s also popular for his melodramas.”
They compliment Cruise for his unique aura and million dollar smile. He even once won Best Celebrity Smile in People Magazine. They also talk about his debut in <Endless Love> starring Brooke Shields (1981). He was only in the movie for two minutes, but he was a scene stealer.
They think he’s a great person because he overcame his dyslexia, and worked ten times harder than other actors to memorize his scripts. I think most Koreans have a good impression of Tom Cruise because they don’t know about Scientology. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything negative about him in Korea.
We’re halfway through the show and still no Tom Cruise. I guess he really must have been pressed for time, so much so that the <Taxi> production team could only squeeze out half an episode worth of footage.
The MCs and two guests talk about the greatness of the <Mission Impossible> series.
Finally, the taxi arrives at a hotel in Gangnam, Seoul. It looks like Tom Cruise won’t be getting in the actual taxi, they’ll just interview him in the hotel.
Poor Kim Saeng-min and Kim Kyeong-shik get kicked out since they’re not invited to the interview.
MCs Lee Young-ja and Oh Man-seok pace around while they wait. They must be nervous.
When Tom Cruise walks in, MC Lee Young-ja musters up the entirety of her English skills. “Hello. Thank you. Sit down, please.” Luckily MC Oh Man-seok speaks English almost fluently.
Cruise likes her red grandma glasses, so Lee Young-ja asks if he wants to try them on. She must have really bad eyesight though, because Cruise complains that he can’t see anything.
Lee Young-ja dusts off Cruises’ chair before he sits down. He does the same for her. The MCs exclaim, “What a gentleman.”
Oh Man Seok asks if Tom Cruise remembers Lee Young-ja. Just in case he didn’t remember, they have a video clip from 22 years ago that they watch on an ipad. Tom Cruise comments on his long hair back then.
They watch Cruise lift Lee Young-ja. Cruise laughs for what looks like a full minute. Oh Man-seok, “This is mission impossible.” Lee Young-ja, “Korean men impossible, but Tom Cruise, possible.” She wants to know if his back was okay back then. Cruise, “She was like a feather.” Lee Young-ja says she’s lost 20 kgs since then. Cruise, “Wonderful.”
Oh Man-seok notes that he’s the Hollywood actor who’s visited Korea the most. He has visited Korea a total of eight times. Tom Cruise, “I like to be the record keeper. I always want to win.” He has a lot of pleasantries to say about his Korean fans.
Oh Man-seok asks more about his impression of Korea. Cruise, “It’s cool, great cinema, the people have such a warmth, very open.”
Oh Man-seok says Koreans refer to him as “friendly mister Tom” (note: I’ve only heard him called this once and it was on TV, not in real life.) It’s because he spends a lot of time doing fan service, spending hours taking photographs and signing autographs for fans.
Lee Young-ja asks, “How are Korean Women?”
Oh Man-seok, “Even her?”
Cruise, “When I was growing up, I wanted to make movies and I wanted to travel the world. I remember being four years old and dreaming of places like this. It’s a privilege to be able to travel and learn and to be welcomed. I love it. It’s a privilege.”
Lee Young-ja, “I saw the movie yesterday.”
Tom Cruise, “Good!”
He says he does all the action scenes himself, all the time.
Oh Man-seok asks him to introduce the film.
Cruise, “It’s a suspense film. The characters is very capable. He used to be a military police officer, so he’s very intelligent and physically capable. He’s a loner. He hitchhikes and goes on buses, and he’s someone who’s very off the grid of life. He’s disconnected. He lives by his own rules, but has a very strong moral code. He gets pulled into situations and stands up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves. He deals with things in a very unique way.”
Lee Young-ja, “I could feel the warmth as you looked at your daughter in the film.”
Cruise, “Good. Thank you.”
Oh Man-seok, “I saw the first movie twice. What’s the difference between this and the first movie?”
Tom Cruise, “This one is more of an emotional movie than the first. This one takes place in New Orleans as opposed to Pittsburg. These stories take place all over America. There are other different books. It has a very personal dynamic with the family. It has the same kind of very tough action.”
Oh Man-seok looks at his hands, “Are you okay.”
Cruise, “I’ve broken my knuckles a few times. It happens.”
Oh Man-seok, “That’s why Koreans call you the God of Action.”
Lee Young-ja imitates an action sequence from the movie.
Cruise goes along and asks if she’s been training a bit.
Oh Man-seok asks about the action scene to look forward to.
Cruise, “Quick knockouts, some really nasty fight where I’m fighting four five guys at once, lots of fights, little bit of car action. Lots of good car chases.”
As the interview ends, the MCs give him a rice cake.
They also take some pictures and Tom Cruise asks for a shot with all the staff members as well.
Tom Cruise lifts up Lee Young-ja one more time.
She’s like, “OMG OMG OMG,” flopping around like a fish, making it harder for Tom Cruise to hold her.
The interview was super short, but it was cute seeing Lee Young-ja and Tom Cruise together again.
Next Week: Kim Hee-chul and Min Kyung-hoon.