19 years, 3 months, and 12 days. That is the duration of how long I have already been living in here where we all are now. I know I am still young. I know I still have a lot ahead of me. I know that I will experience many more things and God has still a lot of things in store for me.
But despite of that belief, I still thought that I have already experienced almost everything for my present age. Nineteen years old. What does a typical nineteen year old boy normally do? Well, based from experience, from the movies that I have watched, and from my friends’ experience, nineteen year old boys usually would study, watch a movie, drink, go on an outing, play sports, and many more. Some of these individuals, including the opposite sex, also would love to go to bars and clubs and party hard. All of these things that I have enumerated, I already have experienced. Aside from being unable go to a strip club and do something crazy, I personally believe that I have completed the bucketlist of a typical all-around 19 year old boy.
But last February 25, 2012, my personal belief had changed. From the first time of hearing that our fieldtrip would be in a comedy bar, it didn’t make an impact to me at first. But as soon as the 25th night of February was over, I realized that there was a missing piece in my personal bucketlist: going to and having fun on the other side.
The other side? What does it technically mean? Based from the things that I have enumerated above, my own connotation of the other side is simply a place or an event where a typical individual is hardly seen. From all my acquaintances and friends that I have unconsciously asked, going to a comedy bar isn’t really a must-do part of their plans in life. Especially that the venue isn’t really popular in our batch, and having heard of gossips that the place isn’t an ideal location to hang out in (unsafe and people are not in our friendship circle), The Punchline Comedy Bar is indeed on the other side.
But what if we try crossing the line and do things out of our plans, wouldn’t life be more exciting and fulfilling? Last February 26, 2012, around 12:30 am, I was thankful that the event that happened just 3 hours before that time that lasted for 3 hours had happened.
My journey to other side started out like this. I made plans with my friend, Stephen, that we go to Punchline together. Around 9pm, he was already nagging me that we should already go there because sir Skilty might mark us as late. I replied, “Come on, this is just a fieldtrip. All we have to do is to show up and just sit down for 2 hours.” It can be implied that from that text, I thought the fieldtrip would be boring because this wasn’t in our usual list of activities.
When we were already in the car, along with Ernest and Mikel, we started talking about what could happen for the next 15 minutes and counting. We talked about Paolo Mendoza who had his fieldtrip the week before us. Ernest said that the comedian teased Paolo and his dad that they were dating inside a comedy bar and how sweet they could be. From that story, I got a little bothered because it was somehow a disrespect to the elderly but I just thought that it was only a part of their job. Stephen’s anxiety also changed my confidence level because he was nervous if he gets called by the gay people and doesn’t know what to do upfront on stage. That also bothered me on the way to Punchline.
But as soon as we arrived in Punchline around 9:35am, my confidence level grew back up as soon as I have entered the door. Just seeing the faces of my other classmates who were also there gave me a different feel of the place and the aura suddenly gave me happy vibes. The place also wasn’t that scary based from the gossips that have reached me. In fact, the place is large and also almost like the bars that I have been into. From the aesthetics of the place, it gave me a feel that nothing really new and scary is going to happen to me tonight. The only thing different of this place from the other bars is the stage with two comedians battling against each other.
The doormen have placed my friends and I on the frontmost tables, which means, we are the ones who got the attention of the gay comedians the most! I really didn’t get anxious anymore if we were called because I knew that my friends are there to support me and everything that will happen is just for fun. Just like what happened to our friend Lee, just as when he was only about to sit down and chill with us, he was immediately called up on stage. From that experience, it gave me a big boost and a big feel that that night would be a good one. Other people not from Ateneo were also called, including a middle-aged man and an old woman. Of course, the “panggagago” of these comedian were never absent in them. One may get offended, but come to think of it, this is their job and in reality, they are sending out big smiles and laughters from people’s faces. And if to be thought of, why would you even go there if you are not a sport knowing about the nature of the place and what people do there? In the end, despite the possible foul pranks thrown by the comedians, they never forget to thank the person they have called up for being a sport and just for simply cooperating with them. In reality, the person they made fun off even helped them fulfill their job properly.
Aside from the comedians, I also have observed the people watching. Of course, laughter is a given in them. But what I thought off is if their laughters were genuine. For me, I think it was because I can always tell whether people are just faking it or not. And besides, all of them might be used in doing this kind of activity because unlike us Ateneans, they went their on their own free will.
To end, I am thankful that this unique fieldtrip had been thought off. It was weird at first, but a lot of insights and realizations had been revealed in the end. Sometimes, us students should just find the time to relax and have fun despite all the schoolwork we have. Sometimes, all of us just have to find the other side, reach the other side and start a new journey
Mark H. Del Pilar