Video: Meet the world’s first professional Kim Jong Un impersonator

November 14, 2013

A Hong Kong resident named Howard has taken it upon himself to professionally mimic North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a transformation chronicled in this video by the British media outfit Barcroft TV. "The key to becoming him is to always look unhappy and dissatisfied," Howard says. "It is his trademark look."

Howard has a nice gag where he walks into the South Korean and American consulates to apply for asylum. It's pretty funny.

Howard says that he turns heads wherever he goes, that clients pay him to show up at events as Kim and that some people really do believe he's the North Korean leader -- indeed, a few passers-by tell the camera as much.

I have to confess, though, that I don't think the impression is that good. Start with the "trademark look" – it's all wrong. Kim smiles all the time, a marked and highly significant contrast with his stern father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il. Kim Jong Un's beaming smile is plastered all over North Korean state media, part of his carefully crafted image as a caring, parental leader who loves his people deeply and earnestly. Here's one of many examples:


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses on new military equipment with military officials. (REUTERS/KCNA)

If Howard really wants to nail the Kim Jong Un look, he should spend more time doing fun stuff like riding roller coasters, cheering at basketball games and riding horses. He could even get a nice straw hat!

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Max Fisher · November 14, 2013