Break-ups are so hard, you guys, especially if it’s with such fine men like actor and comedian Lee Kwang Soo. So many fans were heartbroken as Kwang Soo's entertainment agency and the cable network SBS confirmed that he's leaving the variety show, Running Man, after 11 years. That’s a little over a decade of laughter… and betrayal—for fun!
On Running Man, Lee Kwang Soo goes through all lengths for an entertaining show. Slapstick comedy, over-the-top stunts, thrilling betrayals, extreme competitiveness, witty remarks—you name it, he's done it. Not to mention, he's definitely been blessed by the variety show gods (as they say in Running Man) with the worst fortune, which means he always ends up losing games of luck, getting betrayed, and dealing with punishments. He's the unlucky giraffe, Kwangvatar, and Asia's Prince that we're so lucky to witness.
Beyond the variety show, Kwang Soo has shown amazing duality. He's a ~serious~ actor who's not afraid of looking *ugly* or being the butt of a joke—literally (more on this later). He's also a tall, toned, and handsome oppa that looks stunning on CFs (commercial films). And, he's a talented artist that can make you ugly-cry in dramatic scenes.
Curious what he's like outside his animated personas on Running Man? Here's a list of TV shows and movies starring Lee Kwang Soo that will show you his ~range~ of entertainment skills:
1. It's Okay, That's Love (2014)
Where you can watch it: Netflix, Viu, iQIYI
The plot: Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin pair up as a mystery novelist and a suplada psychiatrist. It's Okay, That's Love is all about flawed and emotionally broken people finding and healing with each other. Here, Lee Kwang Soo plays a café worker with Tourette syndrome and panic attacks. He meets and falls for a troubled girl, played by the similarly long-legged Lee Sung Kyung.
2. Sound of Your Heart Season 1 (2016)
Where you can watch it: Netflix
The plot: In this sitcom, Kwang Soo plays the lead character: A struggling webtoon artist who's socially awkward. The story revolves around his comedic interactions with his family, girlfriend, and friends or colleagues. IMO, it's one of the funniest Korean sitcoms ever, so I advise you to not watch it in public because you will be laughing so damn hard.
3. Live (2018)
Where you can watch it: Netflix, iQIYI
The plot: The series starts with career shifters who sign up in a police recruitment program. After their intense studying and training, they become probationary officers in a busy neighborhood patrol division. Here, they learn about their sense of duty from skilled mentors and from the gruesome crimes they face daily. Lee Kwang Soo leads the cast with gorgeous actress Jung Yu Mi.
4. Entourage (2016)
The plot: Adapted from the American series, this series is all about a rising celebrity (played by Seo Kang Joon) and his friends. Among the cast members aside from Kwang Soo is Reply 1988's Lee Dong Hwi and Signal's Cho Jin Woong. There were also cameos by Running Man members like Ji Seok Jin and Song Ji Hyo, plus a special appearance by Kwang Soo's current girlfriend, Lee Sun Bin.
5. Busted! Season 1 and 3 (2018-2021)
Where to watch it: Netflix
The plot: This Netflix Original brought together huge Hallyu names, including Yoo Jae Suk, Lee Seung Gi, Park Min Young, gugudan's Kim Sejeong, EXO's Sehun, and, of course, Lee Kwang Soo. The celebs play various roles like detectives tasked to solve murder mysteries.
6. Wonderful Radio (2012)
The plot: This rom-com film is about an ex-pop star who's now a struggling radio DJ. Kwang Soo plays a dedicated manager and fan to the former girl group member. At one point, he encounters a couple of memorable taxi passengers: Running Man castmates Kim Jong Kook and Kang Gary.
7. The Accidental Detective 2 (2018)
The plot: Kwon Sang Woo and Sung Dong Il team up again as private detectives who just want to earn a living by solving crimes. Eventually, they recruit a tech wiz (Kwang Soo's character) to help in their investigations.
8. Inseparable Bros (2019)
The plot: The leads aren't brothers by blood and are polar opposites but they've built a solid friendship. They navigate through life by making up for each other's flaws. This one's a tearjerker, and Kwang Soo's commendable performance earned him the Baeksang Arts Award for Best Supporting Actor in Film.
9. Tazza: One-Eyed Jack (2019)
The plot: If you love poker, you'll love this movie. It's about a player that joins a poker team gunning for a huge jackpot. Here, Kwang Soo plays a cocky card shuffle master. PSA: He has a naked scene here, which is why his butt was the ~butt of a joke~ by the cheeky Running Man members!
10. Cameo: Descendants of the Sun (2016)
Where to watch it: Netflix, Viu, iQIYI
The plot: You probably know the legendary drama DOTS, which launched the even more legendary Song-Song ship. Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo were quite memorable as a soldier-doctor pair with a love affair against all odds. Since Kwang Soo is good friends with Joong Ki (who made a cameo in Sound of Your Heart, BTW), he made a brief special appearance in a carnival scene.
11. Cameo: Hwarang (2016)
Where to watch it: Netflix, Viu, iQIYI
The plot: Another epic K-drama, this series was set in the olden times and revolved around elite pretty boys in the Silla kingdom. Kwang Soo was not part of the Hwarang. Instead, he was a peasant who was friends with the role of Park Seo Joon. Lee appeared only in the first few episodes (and in a few flashbacks) but left a heartbreaking impression.
Aside from all his past shows, our girin (Korean term for giraffe) has also been busy filming movies! Lee Kwang Soo will star in the sequel of The Pirates along with Kang Ha Neul, Han Hyo Joo, and EXO’s Sehun. He will also be in the disaster film called Sinkhole with Cha Seung Won and Kim Sung Kyun. Lastly (for now), it was also confirmed that Kwang Soo will be part of the cast of Happy New Year. Watch out for the romantic movie's star-studded lineup, including Lee Dong Wook, Han Ji Min, Kang Ha Neul, and Girls' Generation's Yoona.
So yes, Kwang Soo is leaving Running Man and it's so sad. However, it will be for his health, and he won't stop making his presence felt with all the big projects he has lined up. Hugs, fellow Runners!