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Lee Young-ja 1st woman to win grand prize at KBS Entertainment Awards

Comedian Lee Young-ja made history by becoming the first female comedian to win the grand prize at the KBS Entertainment Awards held Saturday.

KBS has held the annual awards ceremony since 2002 to recognize achievements in variety and entertainment programs. The grand prize had been won by men for 16 years in a row.

There were six nominees for the grand prize this year, including Yoo Jae-suk, Shin dong-yup, Lee Dong-guk and Kim Jun-ho. 


Lee Young-ja, who debuted 27 years ago, burst into tears during her thank-you speech. “This award was given to me not because I was good, but because all the ‘Hello Counselor’ staff and participants were great,” she said.

“I didn’t tell my mother to watch this ceremony because I didn’t expect to receive such a prize. Thank you, mother, for keeping me strong,” she humbly added.

“Hello Counselor” is a KBS TV program that has been running for eight years. On the show, guests share their difficulties with hosts and viewers, and receive advice on fixing or overcoming the situation.


Other award recipients include the variety program “2 days & 1 Night,” which won Viewers’ Choice for Best Program for the third year in a row; Kim Sook and Moon Hee-joon, who took Top Excellence in Talk & Shows; and Defconn and Sam Hammington, who won Top Excellence in Variety.

Meanwhile, other female comedians may take home big awards at other ceremonies this week, including SBS’ Entertainment Awards on Friday and MBC’s on Saturday.

For MBC’s Entertainment Awards, Lee Young-ja and Park Na-rae are viewed as leading candidates for the grand prize, considering their strong presence on variety shows. In addition, the two women were named among the top five entertainers of the year by Gallup Korea, an organization dedicated to analytics and consumer trends.

Multiple TV programs have been hosted by female comedians this year, including Kim Sook and Park Na-rae.

It was previously uncommon for women to lead reality programs. However, some reality shows these days even feature only female comedians as hosts, such as Olive TV’s “Bob Bless You,” MBC Plus’ “Video Star” and KBS 2TV’s “Sister’s Slam dunk.”

Such changes are not limited to just TV programs but have also spread to radio and online channels.

By Kim Hye-soo (