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Kee-Yoon Kim

Courtroom humour

 

A Frenchwoman of North Korean origin, Kee-Yoon Kim followed an unusual path: a few years back, she dropped her career as a lawyer to become a comedian. She is now on the stage in Paris in her show "Jaune bonbon" (Yellow as a candy). 

 

Memories of a good girlkee_yoon_400

When "Les Inrocks" magazine published an article on her first show, Kee-Yoon Kim had to spell the name of the magazine to her parents. More of a "Télérama" (left-wing upper middle class magazine) reader than the rock magazine, her mother did not expect her daughter to be mentioned in the "humour" section.

She reveals with a wide smile that her daughter has been raised like a "small racing pony". She was just a few months old when her parents left Berlin, where she was born. They went to Paris: her mother, an opera singer, had just been accepted in the music conservatory. At home, Kee-Yoon Kim's parents made a point in speaking to her in Korean. She had no time to get bored: she attended Korean school on Wednesday, Chinese classes on Saturday and learnt classical music on all other occasions.

 

Korean style

During summer, all the family flies to South Korea. The French took a long time to discover the existence of this country: "Before, when you were Asian, you were either Chinese or Japanese. Now, there's Samsung and Kim Jong-Un. Korea is mentioned more often."

Kee-Yoon Kim speaks of South Korea with excitement. To illustrate the aura of the country, she mentions the hallyu, a Korean wave that exists in all cultural industries. The young lady says that Koreans "love to travel. They're interested in everything that is done elsewhere, while staying real patriots". She also loves their sense of self-mockery: "In Korea, irony is a national sport. My father himself is very funny. My mother is having fun all day."

 

The "racing pony" galopped through her studies

Before she made people laugh, Kee-Yoon Kim chose to study law after her A-levels. This choice was partly due to Kee-Yoon Kim's affection to her uncle, a renowned law professor and former Prime minister in Korea. She honours her uncle: Assas, Sciences-Po, Essec... Kee-Yoon Kim passes degrees after degrees. She adds experiences abroad to this incredible resume: a semester of studies in Seoul and an internship in New York. She's not even 30 when she is recruited in a major firm in Paris. 

 

Courtroom humour

When she says now with a pop tone that she's going to beat her ex up with a brick, it's difficult to imagine the lawyer she used to be. It is rare to plead in business law. Kee-Yoon Kim discovered her taste for the stage by chance: in 2010, she passed the prestigious rhetoric competition of the conference of the bar of Paris. "I never experimented cracking a joke that makes 200 people laugh. So I wondered: 'people are paid for this. Why not try it myself?'"

 

Seeing life in colour "yellow as a candy"

A new life begins: Kee-Yoon Kim tries her first shows on open stages and upload them online. She develops her show "Jaune bonbon" (Yellow as a candy) and plays every Monday evening in the Théâtre du gymnase. With her fresh creativity and sharp humour, Kee-Yoon Kim talks about the course of a top of the class student who decides to go sideways. Every day, she's happy of her choice to "accomplish a kid's dream: 'What if I stopped everything just to make jokes?'".

 

Photos: ©Pierre Le Tulzo / Animal pensant

 

"Jaune bonbon", every Monday evening in the Théâtre du gymnase