YouTube Vidding and Participatory Memories of Stephen Chow’s Stardom in South Korea

YouTube Vidding and Participatory Memories of Stephen Chow’s Stardom in South Korea
Elaine Chung
Stephen Chow is one of the most commercially and critically successful comedians in Hong Kong’s film history, but his popularity and legacy in other East Asian countries remains understudied. As the South Korean media nowadays still often mention him in their comedy discourse, this article seeks to shed light on Stephen Chow’s stardom, or more precisely, memories of his stardom in South Korea, which endured through the 1990s until the early 2000s. It analyses the YouTube channel B-rated Review, a highly active and popular Korean vidding community for Stephen Chow, on which amateur videos that remix and review his twentieth-century movies are published and discussed. Through the lens of participatory culture and participatory memory, this study examines the discursive strategies employed by the vid creator and commenters to collab- oratively define, translate, and interpret Chow’s sense of humor in the South Korean context. It discusses how they borrow the Korean neologism byeongmat as a foil to argue for the sociocultural relevance of Stephen Chow, and how they use his comedies as a device to evoke nostalgia for their lived experiences. This research, arguing that vidding is a participatory process of not only cultural production but also cultural memory making, demonstrates the active role of user-generated activities in (re)localizing international stardom across time. It seeks to contribute to the belatedly expanding body of literature on Stephen Chow from an intercultural, digital, and audience-centered perspective.

Publication date

1 Dec 2022 – 31 Jan 2023

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0044 8699