Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Comedy: Serious Business

.:The Serious World Of Comedy:.

First, let me get the shameless self-promotion out of the way: this coming Monday, I'm headlining at Barley Gastropub in Sct. Bayoran corner Sgt. Esguerra, in Quezon City. I would really appreciate if you guys could catch me perform there around 9-ish, because it's the first time I'm headlining a comedy show, and I'm both nervous and stoked about it at the same time.

I never thought about it until recently, but I've actually already spent half a decade as a standup comedian. While magic and mentalism is really my primary competency, I have to admit that I really am glad to be doing what I do in standup, and the opportunities I've been given over the years.

Don't call it a comeback. We never left.


Nonetheless, the Philippine standup comedy scene is definitely a growing scene, and the Herculean task of establishing the scene set up by the Alan Manalo's and Tim Tayag's and Mike Unson's of the country has paved the way for many comics to really thrive. Whether it's Alex Calleja or GB Labrador of Comedy Manila, or the newly-crowned Komikazee winner Chip Balbuena of the Comedy Cartel, there's room for everyone to be better and to grow, and healthy competition certainly makes for better comedians.

They're not marching to Malacanang.


And while all this is happening, growing with it side by side has been improv comedy. From Bacolod's Kinenkoy to SPIT and now Switch Improv, there's something to be said about how much the improv scene continues to thrive as well, despite the apparent lack of marketing drive it has in contrast to the standup comedy scene. Why is that, though?

Loud noises!


I don't want to speculate, but I think the answer is that improv answers a completely different demand from standup, even if both of them usually end up in comedy, one way or another. Standup comedy is an entirely different skillset from improv, and it's hard to succeed in one or the other while carrying exactly the same attitude towards both crafts.

I've only been actively doing improv since 2012, which is three years after I started with standup. I've always had a healthy fear of improv, because while I could memorize jokes, there was something about being challenged to be funny at the drop of a hat in improv that frightened me.

Except the more I looked into improv, the more I realized it's not about trying to be funny that makes it funny. And the reason it's funny to people is also the reason it gets raised eyebrows from pure standup comics: the laughter comes from the truth, not from the punchline. We always say “it's funny because it's true,” but it's never been truer anywhere else than it is in improv. People laugh their heads off and give applause breaks for improv performances that did not contain a single punchline because reasons, and that's the magic of it all.

Yet, to say that it's better or inferior to standup comedy, to even compare the two on that level, is to do an injustice to both art forms. True, both have the same goal: to entertain people. However, the way they take it can be ridiculously different from each other, more often than not. Standup has a rhythm and method all its own that makes it work for what it is. Improv has a rhythm and method all its own that makes it work for what it is. And as vague as it may seem, those two are as different as can be when you pick up on all the nuances and small things they choose differently. For starters, one is a showcase of an individual's humor and point of view. The other is a group effort of people who build on the concept of “yes, and” with fanatical devotion. If you tried coming into an improv scene with a bunch of pre-planned jokes, you might be thrown for a looop when your partner decides to do something else.


Which one you prefer may very well be a matter of taste. But to say which one is better is ultimately a fool's errand. And to the practitioners of these art forms, there's absolutely no doubt that comedy is serious business.

So yeah. See you Monday, y'all!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Project 52 2014 (47/52): 'Til The Love Runs Out

.:Project 52 2014 (47/52): 'Til The Love Runs Out:.


I got my mind made up, man, I can't let go. I'm killing every second 'til it saves my soul. (Ooh) I'll be running, (Ooh) I'll be running, 'til the love runs out, 'til the love runs out....

Monday, November 10, 2014

Let's Talk About Boris. But Secretly, Let's Not.

.:I'm Not A Cat Person, But...:.

Meow.

Ever since my mom got injured, I've had to let her cat live in my room. Boris is a Russian Blue cat and probably one of the nicest cats I've ever met, never having scratched me even once. Okay, maybe once, just as I was about to upload this pre-written post, but whatever.

I must say, it's been nice having Boris around, even if I'm not really a cat person. It reminds me of George, the cat we had in Makati when I was still staying there.

There's a lot of randomness in this post right now, and I don't even know where I'm going with this, but I miss writing actual posts in my blog, and I can write what I want if I'm not hurting anyone in the process, so here we go.

I guess when I try to think about it, not being a cat person hasn't hindered me from treating this kickass cat well. Not being a cat person hasn't given me any excuse to be mean to the cat, or to insist that I don't keep it in my room, because why would I want to do that if I'm not a cat person, right? I guess in that regard, it makes a bit of sense. I mean, it was either keeping him in my room or letting him sit in a cage for a loooong while, which I just couldn't bear to see.

Obviously, I'm really not a cat person. But I've learned to like them, and despite being a self-professed dog person, it isn't our two dogs sleeping in my room now, is it? At some point, you have to accept that unlike dogs, cats are just friendlier to have in rooms, especially since they're almost automatically housebroken. But you never think about that when you think about the dog. All you think about is how affectionate they are and how passionate they can be, but you tend to forget all about the shit you have to put up with – until you get what you want, and you have to deal with just that.

So when I try to think about that, and when I look at life and love, I realize that it works much in the same way. We all have our ideas who we are and who we want to be with. We all have notions of how it should work, and we all think that hey, this is the ideal, and this is what I'm sticking to.

But in doing so, we miss out on the little things. And if we continue to do it, we even miss out on the bigger things, too. Because our ideals never capture the entirety of a person, and we never know what we might really want until we open up our horizons. And we really forget about the shit we have to put up with until we do get that person, and we realize that maybe, just maybe, there's a healthier relationship to be had elsewhere.

So yeah, much in the same way that a dog person like me will always have a soft spot in my heart for a dog, when it comes to pets and love, there is nothing wrong about going against type so long as you realize you aren't just settling for the best you can get at the moment. There's a lot of things to love about cats. There's a lot of things to love about someone who comes into your life unexpectedly. And that's the beauty of it. Being aware of this doesn't compromise how you felt about dogs. Being aware of this doesn't diminish how special this cat is to you now.

Because by jove, you may not be a cat person, but this cat is totally rocking your world. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging that, appreciating that, and ultimately, reciprocating cat.


I may not be a cat person, but surprise surprise. I love this cat. And somewhere down the road, I may have muddled up the metaphor,   

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Project 52 2014 (46/52): Mirrors

.:Project 52 2014 (46/52): Mirrors:.


And I tell you baby, it was easy coming back to you once I fingered an owl...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Project 52 2014 (45/52): What's Up

.:Project 52 2014 (45/52): What's Up:.


And I try, oh, my God, do I try. I try all the time, in this institution.

And I pray, oh, my God, do I pray. I pray every single day for a revolution.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Project 52 2014 (44/52): Big Yellow Taxi

.:Project 52 2014 (44/52): Big Yellow Taxi:.


Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Project 52 2014 (43/52): Out Of Reach

.:Project 52 2014 (43/52): Out Of Reach:.


I really was stupid for a while. It was so easy to get caught up in the rapture, that you forget that things aren't actually anywhere nearly as good as you think it is. And that's how it went on for so long. I fooled myself into thinking the world of you, so thank you for pulling the plug on me and revealing exactly why I deserved better than you.

Was I ever loved by you? Probably not. You probably don't even know what the word means up to this very moment. I never had your heart. And the moment you got what you needed from me you just lay in wait for the first excuse to cut and run.

Don't say I never did right by you. Don't go around painting me as the bad guy in all of this, when after all has been said and done, you bailed on me when you found that I have outlived my usefulness. 

Now, you are indeed out of reach. And I'm done stretching.