Making the cut

SOUTH KOREA - He is famous for his funny antics and over-the-top performances on wildly popular South Korean variety show Infinity Challenge.

The YouTube generation may also recognise comedian-host Noh Hong Chul as the crotch-thrusting "elevator guy" in South Korean singer Psy's hit music video Gangnam Style.

Yet, when the 34-year-old made headlines in his home country recently, it wasn't because of yet another stunt.

Noh stunned audiences and fans alike when he underwent a shocking physical transformation on the show.

The popular funnyman, who was nicknamed "New Pig" on Infinity Challenge by his fellow hosts because of his pot belly, lost 15kg in a month and showed off his lean, toned physique - complete with six-pack abs - in an episode on Nov 30.

He used to weigh 75kg and stands at 1.81m.

The variety show often presents its seven hosts with absurd challenges and missions. They use creative and comical means to overcome their tasks.

Other hosts of Infinity Challenge include Yoo Jae Suk and Ha Dong Hoon (Ha Ha) from another hot variety show Running Man as well as Gil, one-half of Korean hip-hop duo Leessang.

In a previous episode, Noh had wondered aloud about being a fashion model in Milan, and the show's producers turned it into a challenge.

The hosts met up with South Korean fashion designers, magazine editors and models to discuss their prospects, and were told that they needed to lose weight before they stood a chance.

When Noh showed off his hot bod in the recent episode, the other hosts looked amazed and said: "I think he can really go to Milan!"

Gil said: "He worked really hard. He only ate chestnuts and sweet potatoes and did not take a single grain of salt."

Noh, who was very pleased with the results, tweeted before the broadcast: "Oh yeah. If you do what you'd like to do, it's exciting and fun. And if it's exciting, you can make anything happen."

On the show, there was a short clip which showed Noh doing vigorous ab exercises in the gym, an indication of the kind of daily workout required to attain his hot bod.

MODEL DREAMS

But Noh was not the only Infinity Challenge host who wanted to realise his model dreams.

Jung Joon Ha, who was known for being big-sized and was nicknamed "God of Eating" for his ferocious appetite, lost 18kg and also surprised everyone when he revealed his thinner frame in the same episode. But his washboard tummy could not compare with Noh's.

Jung is 1.86m and used to weigh 92kg. The 42-year-old said: "But after seeing Noh Hong Chul's abs, I'm losing confidence."

The "after" photos that Noh and Jung took during the episode were sent as audition shots to modelling agencies to determine if they would get to model in Milan, but the results are not out yet.

Meanwhile, netizens and fans of Infinity Challenge have been weighing in.

One of them, Toprace01, wrote: "Wow, both are looking good" while another, DewOfTheSea, commented:

"Amazing, such an inspiration!" Online user Myumeful said: "Hong Chul is actually pretty damn hot."


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