On a typical Saturday night, I would be usually cozying up under a blanket, doing movie marathons and just plain relaxing by my bed. February 25, 2012 was a different case though. I started the day with a fulfilling Kythe insertion, followed by chilling with my friends at MEA’s Mercato Bazaar, then I spent the night laughing in Punchline.
Punchline is a comedy bar found along Quezon Avenue, venue for different types of bars and restaurants. The first time I heard about it was when my parents went with a few friends and siblings to unwind after a long day at work. They’d also come home very late, evidently relaxed and happy. But, when I told my mother that we were going to have our field trip there, she was surprised and not amused. She warned me, though, not to bring valuable things, as it was crowded and pickpockets were rampant.
From afar, Punchline looked as if it was on fire. Since we went there nighttime, the different colored lights draped all around the building had an appeal that quickly stole our attention. By this sight, when I first stepped into the stairs of Punchline, I thought that this was going to be a long day for me. I have never gone into comedy bars or any bar that offered these kinds of services. Clutching the Php 300.00 on one hand, I tapped Kamille with the other, urging her to enter the doors. We were greeted by our teacher and a few other classmates who were standing near the entrance desk, where we paid the fees. Then, we were led by the waiters, some dressed in black while others dressed with vests, to the tables by the stage, where our other classmates where already seated.
From the inside, the venue looked small and cramped. At one corner was the colorful stage with posts on its left and right. Then, on its side was a music sheets stand for when people would need to look at the lyrics to sing. Near the stage, there were a lot of short round tables surrounded by chairs facing front. Behind these were higher tables, similar to those at drinking bars, with matching high seats which were also faced to the stage. Then by the left side of the stage, there were sofa seats where more people could huddle together. Overall, the setting reminded me to that of a French or Italian restaurant. The stage was the street while the tables and seats were faced to the street so people could do people watching. The only difference was that in this comedy bar, the lights were dimmed and a spotlight was focused on the hosts.
By the time we arrived to our seats, there were two homosexuals hosting the night. One was wearing a long backless dress while the other was wearing a black fitted extremely low V neck shirt. Throughout the night, there were changes in the hosts, but all of them were gay. This kept the show interesting as it tackled on all aspects and issues concerning the country today. To name a few are education, gender difference and acceptance, the presence of Koreans and overseas Filipino workers or OFWs. Since the audience was mainly adults, malicious content was also tackled to capture their interest. Although, I think the hosts were warned that students like us would come so they always warned the audience that they should not be shocked with some words such as the mention of genitals. Then, in between changes of hosts, the hosts who were leaving the stage would call on people in the audience to perform a song of their choice. What grabbed my attention though was the way they would advertise the food and drinks the bar was serving, as I began craving for their food while the others ordered in.
Personally, for someone who went to a comedy bar such as Punchline for the first time, it was an eye-opening and fun experience. From there, you could see the dynamics and interaction behind the whole bar. The hosts would tell their jokes, while the audience would chill out and laugh, even while they were being made fun of. In a sense, it becomes a way of living for both host and audience. The hosts, especially gays, are given a chance to make for a living and at the same time give laughter to people. Meanwhile, the audience is given a chance to unwind and become open-minded to the fact about the surrounding issues in the country today and that gays do exist and should be given a chance in society today.
In the end, Punchline is just all about business with a mix of jokes, laughter, malice, food and alcoholic drinks which equals to a happy and relaxed audience craving for more.
Meryl Cua |