Kang Gary Left Running Man?
Kang Gary, whose real name is Kang Hee-gun, is a rapper and a former member of the duo group Leessang, along with Gil. But he really started to gain attention worldwide as a regular member of SBS’s popular variety show Running Man. Although he seemed to be clumsy, he was actually a strong member and won several times on the show. Not to mention he was always partnered with the only female regular member, Song Ji-hyo, and both were called Monday Couple back then. Fans went crazy over their interactions and sweet moments on the show.
Not only that, Running Man ran for years and the members seemed to get along because they had to meet with each other every week to record and play games for the show. No wonder they have a strong bond with each other. Viewers would think they would last together for a really long time, yet surprising news came from Kang Gary, who had chosen to leave the show. Why did he do that? How was his last appearance on Running Man? Channel-Korea will give more details about Kang Gary and his last episode on Running Man.
Departure From Running Man After 6 Years
On October 25, 2016, some shocking news was announced by the Running Man production team. It was said that Gary would leave Running Man. Although the announcement came suddenly, the decision was not roughly made. The production team revealed that Gary actually had told them earlier in 2016, but they and the other members still tried convince him to change his mind. However, his mind had been settled that he wanted to spend more time in music.
The production team decided to respect his decision and finally made an official announcement. As cited by Soompi, they said, “We sincerely thank Gary for putting everything into the show for [six] years, as one of the original members of ‘Running Man.’ Gary wishes to focus on his career as a musician, and we wish him the best.” His last recording of the show was held on October 31, 2016. He was the third member to leave, after Song Joong-ki, who left the show in 2017 after 42 episodes, and Lizzy, who left earlier.
A few days before his last recording, Gary posted a picture on Instagram and made a statement regarding his departure on Running Man. As translated by Soompi, he apologized for announcing the sudden news. He said he was grateful for the attention he received throughout his seven years on he show. He said he promised to do his best in whatever he did in the future, for the sake of the moments that his fans had given. He also thanked the ones who supported his decision. “Lastly, please continue to support ‘Running man’ and the cast for all the hard work and effort they put in each week to make the best of ‘Running Man’,” he ended, along with “Thank you! With much love, Kang Gary”.
Last year, on January 18, 2018, Gary opened up in an interview about why he decided to leave Running Man. As cited by Soompi, Gary said that his character has been undermined and he kept on thinking that he had nothing more to show. He continued, “Of course, every time I thought that way, the people around me would say, ‘Why would you think like that? They’re your family. Don’t worry.’ However, I thought there was nothing more I could do for the program.” He added that Running Man has new members who are fun and that he was very happy about it.
Final Episode in Running Man
Before the airing of Gary’s final episode, Running Man‘s official Instagram account posted a photo of all the seven members. They added a caption saying that it was the last group photo of the seven Running Man members along with the broadcast time.
It was episode #324 and was aired on November 6, 2016. The episode, itself, was themed especially for Gary.
At the beginning of the episode, the six members other than Gary were first gathered at a café to have a briefing about that day’s special episode. The PD said the episode was entitled Running Man Who Can’t Break Up, Gary Who Can’t Leave (a spin-off of the Leessang’s hit single Girl Who Can’t Break Up, Guy Who Can’t Leave). Each of them was given a secret mission, which was to steal objects of various sizes from Gary’s studio apartment without being noticed during the recording. The six members burst into laughter, thinking it would be funny. In addition, the item must be bigger than the one stolen before, in other words, each of them had to be quicker than the others with their theft to avoid having to take a larger object. The one who failed would get punishment.
The six of them went to Gary’s apartment to do their mission and surprised Gary, who was told the recording would be an hour later. He then went to change clothes and it was the right time for one of the members to swipe something. After a while, all the members sat down to hear the main mission. The mission was related to the number 77,000, as it was the total combined distance in kilometers (around 48,000 miles). The members should collect the total amount through completing games to get Gary’s special parting gift. The members were excited about the biggest gift, tickets to Europe.
No pain, no gain. Their first challenge was to endure a sport massage in silence for 10 seconds. They all failed and one person had to take a forehead slap for the team.
They downgraded the challenge to 50,000 km. Now they had to choose the actual food. This time also, the six members were also working their secret mission to steal Gary’s things.
Their next challenge was a three-person relay, in which three representative members would run from fifth floor to first floor and they had to run faster than their VJs to win. Song Ji-hyo tried to steal a plant this time.
They did other games as well, and seemed to be happy with each other. At the end of the episode, Gary finally got the gift with extra gifts from the staff: a mosaic photo of his 317 past episodes and a golden name tag. The moment was so emotional that Ji-hyo started crying.
After the farewell dinner, Gary headed back to his studio, only to wonder why the crew was still following him. When he arrived, he was surprised to find out about the other members’ secret mission and found his stolen things. He was given the last mission, which was to put his things to their rightful places. When he put the stolen items back, he found the members’ gifts and letters at each place.
After the broadcast of Gary’s final episode, Running Man PD, Jung Cheol-min, revealed the story behind the episode to OSEN. He said that Gary tried not to cry in front of the others and that he promised to read all the written letters when he was by himself, so that he could cry privately. Jung Cheol-min also said that fellow member, Song Ji-hyo, could not hold her tears during their farewell dinner after recording, even though she had cried on the camera. “Song Ji Hyo was upset that Gary was leaving ever since she heard the news, and the other members were sad, as well,” the PD added. The PD complimented the Running Man members and their struggle all this time and when Gary joked about coming back to the show, the PD replied, “If you want to, talk to me anytime.”
You can watch the Running Man episode #324 English subbed here.