One would think that humor (and the intense love for it) has become deeply embedded in Philippine culture. Unfortunately, aside from slapstick comedy and exaggerated adlibbed sketches, other comedic styles haven’t exactly been welcomed with open arms. Safe to say that it sure hasn’t been easy for the stand-up comedians here in the country.
Comedy Manila strives to change that.
Founded by GB Labrador and Eri Neeman in 2013, Comedy Manila has sought to revolutionize the Filipino comedy scene. Now with 44 comedians in their arsenal, Comedy Manila is changing the way young Filipinos view stand-up comedy.
Last year, Comedy Manila graced the Ateneo with their “United Colors of Comedy” college tour show. Despite it being their first large-scale stand-up comedy show in the school, it sold out. The crowd at the Henry Lee Irwin theatre were mad with laughter as comedian after comedian put out their best jokes. In fact, the show was such a success that as soon Comedy Manila announced that they were partnering up with the Collegiate Society of Advertising (CoSA) for a second show; people immediately started asking around for tickets!
Of course, their upcoming “Stand-Up Revolution” show won’t just be a sequel to their sold-out show. This year, they’re bringing out even bigger guns, with new comedians taking the stage. And we got to meet two of the headlining comedians to tell us more about the stand-up comedy business.
Alex “The Master” Calleja, is arguably one of the best comedians in the country. A perennial headliner, he began his career in 2007, successfully maintaining his status in the Philippine stand-up comedy scene. The Master has left no topic unexplored (like the hardship of zombies, for example).
Believe it or not, even The Master has hit a few bumps on the road – stand-up comedy is hard enough as it is, and it definitely doesn’t help when your audience is filled with skeptic Filipinos. “Pinoys are hard to please,” he said matter-of-fact. “ They think stand-up comedy is an insult to comedy.” He even said that one of his biggest worries is his audience not listening to him – granted, his hilarity makes it impossible to ignore him.
The other big name in the line-up is Ryan Rems Sarita, who began his career in comedy in 2008. He rose to fame through his appearances in the noontime variety show It’s Showtime as a contestant in their segment, “The Funny One,” before eventually becoming the first-ever winner and ultimately joining the show’s cast as one of its co-hosts. The Rakistang Komikero’s unique comedy style has taken the nation by storm, along with his famous catchphrase, “Rock ‘N Roll to the World.”
With such a big-time repertoire, it’s easy to expect this rock star comedian to be fearless when it comes to his acts. Surprisingly enough, one of his biggest fears is his audience thinking he is garbage! “I get more nervous nowadays [compared to] before.”
Catch these two hilarious comedians at Comedy Manila’s Stand-Up Revolution at the Henry Lee Irwin Theatre at the Ateneo de Manila University tonight. Doors open at 7:30 PM.