Wednesday, December 11, 2013

United in Laughter: Breaking the Highly Miscontrued Stand-Up Comedy Barrier

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The Cinema 5 of Greenbelt 3 was a venue to a stand-up comedy revolution.

Indeed, with an almost full house, United in Laughter was undoubtedly phenomenal. Though the cinema is just a 200 seating capacity, it is quite incredible that Comedy Manila, the organizers of the event, were able to attract quite a number of guests that were close to a standing room.

I thought I was not able to get a seat because I came in late, but I was glad there were a few seats left somewhere at the 4th row. The amazing thing was that most of the people inside the cinema were young lads not above 30. It seems the youth has finally gained an interest to this brand of comedy that seems to catch the attention more of our older generation.

With six comedians sharing the spotlight (literally), I have to admit it was supposed to be kinda easy. The variety will not bore the audience. Instead of listening to just one comic in an hour of humorous stories, the audience were treated with six witty personalities of different nationalities.

The host, Eri Neeman, leading the pack of mischievous characters was really creative in his lines. Though I've heard some of them from his previous stints, it never fails to make me laugh, or smile a bit. What I don't like was all the "Put*ng Ina " cursing. But I guess it comes naturally less demeaning to our mothers as its the common curse of Filipino as compared to "What the F*ck!" or "Sh*t!" by our neighboring countries.

What got me worried was when Alex Calleja, one of the Filipino comedians, blurted out his jokes in Tagalog. That may have not registered good for the foreign audience, which was sort of just fine considering there were only a few, but if we really want to be competitive internationally, I guess we should practice our punchlines in English - the international language that is understood by many....and it also makes our jokes a lot more cool and classy.

The plus point for him was when he introduced his team mates that made up Comedy Manila. There was a bunch of them that has stood strong to fight for a better style of stand-up comedy. May the force be with them until we are able to sort out what has gone wrong with the Filipino taste of what is really humorous and what is simply disgusting.

You can relate to Poon Chi Ho very well being an Asian that goes through almost the same experiences as Filipinos. What struck me to say Wow! was when he used some dance routines to share his style of comedy.

Andrew Netto made fun out of his "bumbay" umbrella-totting brothers to capture the attention of the audience. That's a lot better than those "beki" comedians who mock and demean their audience.

GB Labrador, the co-founder of Comedy Manila, was a tall guy who had a lot of things to say about the tricycle. Yeah, I have complaints to about those diminutive means of transportation that charges a special rate when you try to hire them by your lonesome.

Rizal Van Geyzel proved that people always serve the best for last. He was our sweet dessert but Eri Neeman was our coffee.

Though the guys were all sweating from the heat of the spotlight, and that they couldn't really see their audience because of the blinding light, all of them were successful in tickling our funny bones.

Overall, I would say that the night was really successful so I am sending my congratulations to the people that made United in Laughter possible. You make us proud and giggling!

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  1. To change Stand Up Comedy in the country we have to get the majority on our side and to do that, Comedians doing their sets in Tagalog would make it easier.

    Alex for me is at the forefront of the style being accepted in our country because of how he combines so effortlessly POV Stand Up Comedy and our local language.

    He is in my opinion the best Stand Up Comedian in the Philippines and GB is the best Filipino Comic for the international crowd.

    Saying that we should switch to English because it'll make our jokes, "cool and classy" goes against what we want to achieve.

    We want to change Stand Up Comedy in our country. That is the main dream. Going international is a big second. This style is what we want to leave behind for future generations. Everything else just falls into place after that.

    For me, it doesn't matter if it'll be in English or Tagalog. None is classier than the other. It is a language and a tool to express oneself. Whichever language any Comedian chooses to express his or herself with doesn't determine their cool points or class.

    Class and cool for me lies in the person. Not the language.

    What makes a Comedian funny is their ability to make people laugh and that's what we encourage. Just be funny. No matter what language you use.

    This is not an attack Ross, but simply a sharing of perspective. Thank you for your support and again I hope you read this email with an open mind and heart.

    Till our next gigs. All the best.


    Eri Neeman
    Co-Founder - COMEDY MANILA

    1. I respect the opinion. I was just echoing what my colleague and I discussed after the event.

      Yes...we have high regard for our national language. It is just that it would have been better if he shared a balanced usage of the languages for the benefit of the foreigners who couldn't understand Tagalog.

      He was actually the one who made me laugh louder than everyone else and I was hoping he could effectively translate the experience for everyone else to enjoy.

      Cheers! and hoping you'll invite us once again on your other gigs so we could really make a justifiable review.

      Thanks and more power to Comedy Manila!

    2. Thank you Ross and I look forward to more partnerships in the future. We appreciate your support.

      Cheers. :)


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