Sunday, December 14, 2014

Comedy Mission: Accomplished!

.:Comedy Mission Accomplished:.

A few weeks ago, I had my first ever headliner set in standup comedy. I hit the stage for about three quarters of an hour, and somehow managed to hold the crowd's attention for that long, peppering the night with a lot of laughs along the way.

And it wasn't easy, I have to admit. I came in with a lot of mental and actual preparation. Unlike a lot of the veterans out there, I don't see myself just hitting the stage and randomly delivering a twenty-minute set or more without some serious prep time. None of this comedy ever came naturally to me, because I'm not a naturally funny guy.

But seeing a room full of people with different sensibilities, different things that they think is funny, all laughing in unison does instill a sense of accomplishment in a comedian. Top it off with a bunch of people who were just outside Barley that night, yet apparently still paying close attention to my set, and I realized the reason why entertainers do what they do, and why they have a place in the world, even while other people pursue more seemingly worthwhile things, like landing a spacecraft on a comet while wearing a tacky shirt.

It doesn't matter if what we do doesn't revolutionize the world as we know it. If I were selling taho, I'd probably be selling the best damned taho of all time. Or something. I don't know, really, but I'd just want to think that even the most menial of things can be made meaningful somehow. And maybe we don't see it as we feel stuck, but we owe it to ourselves to see it through.

It was a genuine surprise to me that I managed to pull it off, in all honesty. Almost a half-hour of standup comedy, punctuated by 15 minutes of my magic and mentalism. It was something

So another day another dollar for this comedy mentalist. Tonight, I'm performing again, and someone else will be headlining it. It doesn't matter. I will keep on keeping on, because after doing standup comedy for five years, I realize all too well that I really, really enjoy entertaining people, and that's a noble endeavor in and by itself, no doubt.

Thank you to every single person that night who went to support me. From my fellow magicians to my improv groupmates to the fine people of the Comedy Cartel to my friends from Geekfight to even one of my M:TG teammates, it was a night where I really felt that the five years I put into standup comedy were more than worth it. I felt a kind of affirmation that spurs me to push it forward. And so I will.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Project 52 2014 (48/52):Sa Wakas

.:Project 52 2014 (48/52):Sa Wakas:.


Hindi niyo inakala na mananalo rin ako. Pero salamat na rin sa inyo sa wakas...

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,