When I first heard that we were going to a comedy bar, I immediately thought it would be one of those shady places we’ve seen in the movies where fights break out suddenly. My parents, who were usually nonchalant about the things I do on a Saturday night, were especially worried. They seem to remember the fire incident that occurred in a bar once.
However, as I entered the Punchline comedy bar, all my preconceptions flew out the window. It was actually a pretty decent place. The chairs and tables looked clean and the stage was set up nicely. The audio system was also great. But it was dark, as all comedy bars should be, I think. I was especially careful in choosing my seat as I was warned beforehand that the ones who were usually in front would be the butt of their jokes. Knowing my personality, I probably couldn’t take it if I was called to the stage and made fun of.
We decided to take a seat near the right side of the stage, and not long after, the show finally started. The first thing I saw was a gay person belting out a song with high notes. I was immediately impressed because it made those people that we see on television who can sing in two different voices seem not so special. In fact, it was a common talent among the gay hosts to follow.
After the singing, they started talking about green jokes and immediately warned us not to be pikon if targeted, especially when you’re in front, and not to be too offended by their language. They even explicitly stated that they hate girls who are very maarte. After all, this was a comedy bar, and the goal was to have fun. No one wants a killjoy. True to their words, they would often call on audience members from time to time.
One thing that really fascinated me was how these comedians can make a witty remark on the spot. They don’t plan it beforehand. You can see it in the way that they would all sometimes target the same person that the previous comedian already pinpointed a while ago. You can tell that they simply make their acts right on the spot. I actually pitied the guy who sat in front as he was the subject of most of their jokes, about him being ugly, throughout the night by various comedians.
As I was noting the kinds of people who would go to a comedy bar, I was surprised that they were actually well off. I guess it was obvious since the entrance fee was quite high and the menu even pricier. It doesn’t matter that some of them were OFWs, old high school friends, and an all-girl barkada. What I saw were people who simply wanted to have fun and forget their worry and stress if only for a night. For that, they were willing to not only shell out a few hundred pesos, but their pride as well—all for good fun. They didn’t mind that they were called upon and made fun of if it would make their night more enjoyable. I was especially impressed with the OFW girl who not only withstood the insults thrown upon her, but would sometimes make a witty comeback too. As the show went on, I got more and more used to their language. In fact, I wasn’t that worried when they also called upon us. They even made a joke about us sitting at the exact same spot where the air conditioner above us supposedly fell the last time. In the end, I was laughing with everyone else as their words got dirtier and dirtier.
But among all these observations, one thing that struck me the most was the acceptance of gays here. Before going to Punchline, I’ve always thought that the comedians wouldn’t be gays, or would only compose a small part of the bar, but to my surprise, almost all of them were gays. Not that I hate them; in fact, I love their humor. One of their more prevalent jokes is usually directed upon themselves. They would often talk about being gay like “Kung may lalaki diyan na kailangan ng pera, lapit lang kayo sa amin,” and they wouldn’t mind at all that the audience would laugh about it. Perhaps, laughing would make it seem like they were more accepted by society. Indeed, we can see that this minority of people is slowly gaining popularity in televisions, movies, and the likes. Going to the comedy bar made me realize that the age where homosexuals are being ridiculed is slowly coming to an end. This is evident by the fact that the audiences are mostly females and men alike, not just homosexuals.
Overall, I think that this field trip in SA is worthwhile. I may not be going back to a comedy bar anytime soon, but I will surely remember the stress-free night it gave me. The green jokes, the blinding lights, the great voices, and most of all, the laughter that filled the room—a comedy bar isn’t so bad after all.