Usually, my Saturday evenings are spent in malls. After playing for a youth service in the afternoon, then attending the main church service following that, my family would normally hang out in Eastwood. On February 18, 2012 though, instead of malling, I went to Laffline instead. I went there because it was required for me to go, and I felt that it was the best choice, better than going to a gay bar
(if a guy goes to a gay bar, what does that make him?) or a “girlie” bar. Enchanted Kingdom, another one of the choices, was automatically out of my choices; I have been there enough times to the point that I wouldn’t enjoy.
Since I was to go to Laffline late in the evening, I had to ask permission from my parents. When they learned that I had to go to a bar, insisted that one of them should accompany me. At first I hesitated (
I thought that it would be pretty awkward to see mother/father and son together), but I eventually decided to accept their condition, because apparently they have been there before. So my dad went with me to Laffline.
Laffline Comedy Bar was located in Timog Avenue, beside Burger King. We arrived there at around 9:30, just in time for the start of the show. Here did I only realize that there were entrance fees for these kind of places. My dad got us a seat in one of the VIP areas, at the back, because he knew that the hosts would mock or insult the people in front of the stage. Once we sat down, we ordered our coke and watched the start of the show. Honestly, I didn’t expect the performers to be gay, or maybe some of them. Actually, I’m still confused if all of them were gays or some were really women. That aside, I’m amazed at their singing. Hindi sila nawawala sa tono. Their voices were also powerful, too powerful that I thought my ear drums would pop.
A few minutes later my classmates arrived, and trying to push the idea of participant-observation further, I decided not to join them, remaining instead with my dad. I thought they looked too obvious, especially when you see a huge group of students in the middle of the audience. It paid off, but I think it wasn’t worth it. After the hosts were done singing, they gave a clear warning/disclaimer that they would definitely tease, insult, mock people in the audience, at wala sanang mapikon sa kanila dahil nagkakatuwaan lang. Also, they warned the audience not to be shocked if the hosts cracked very obscene jokes, as it was part of their show. After warning the audience, the hosts decided to go around the audience and talk (
more like insult) to them. I thought that they would only remain in the front of the audience, but one of them went to the VIP area, and somehow managed to talk to me. The host’s question to both of us was “Kayo, anniversary niyo rin ba?” ( implying a relationship other than father-son) to which I immediately replied with “Tatay ko siya.” I was pretty insulted, but to diffuse that feeling, I followed up with “Bakit, mukha pa bang bata tatay ko?” to which the host replied with a yes. After the host went to the other people near the front, my father told me, “O, sabihin mo yan sa nanay mo. Mukha pa raw akong bata.” But still, I guess I pushed the idea of participant-observation too much.
So while the hosts were talking/interviewing the audience, I noticed that a lot of them were OFWs. I immediately asked my dad on this, and he corrected me by saying that not only OFWs come here, but balikbayans in general. In fact, he said, my aunt from Japan always go to Laffline every time she visits the Philippines (
no wonder why my parents insisted that they join me in Laffline). I asked him the reason why, and he said that these kind of bars are not allowed in other countries, so overseas Filipinos can only enjoy these kinds of bars only in the Philippines. So this my first observation in Laffline comedy bar: overseas Filipinos wouldn’t pass up the chance to watch a show in a comedy bar, probably because they miss those good ol’ Filipino jokes, I guess.
So after the hosts were done talking with the audience, they began their meltdown of obscene jokes, insulting the audience from time to time. Also, they would go around and find people to sing on the stage. They found a girl, brought her on the stage, and left her there while they were busy cracking jokes on themselves, while insulting the girl. After they were done insulting themselves, they let the girl choose a song and sing. After she was done singing, the hosts performed a song again.
While the hosts were singing, I noticed the room was already almost filled. I decided to look around again, and besides the balikbayans I saw earlier, I saw students, businessmen, as well as families and couples.
After the hosts finished singing, they went around for a bit, teased some couples out in the front, and finally introduced a special guest. The guest was gay (I’m not surprised), huge, and apparently an actor(
actress?). I couldn’t remember the name, but the guest was great at cracking jokes. In the middle of the performance, I felt that the jokes were scripted due to the well-placed execution, and my dad commented that it may explain why the guest landed an acting role. So, although the jokes were cooked, the execution was impeccable and it led to good laughs within the audience. Also, I noticed that a lot of those jokes had something to do with today’s pop culture. Along with those are obscene jokes too though. All in all, the guest did a great job of bringing some laugh to the audience.
After the guest was finished, I checked my phone to see the time. It was already around 11:05 pm, and I only a few more minutes to wrap up everything. With all the diverse people, besides the balikbayans, present in the bar, I concluded that they went here to have a good time, relax from the stress of daily life, despite the fact that they will inevitably be insulted by the hosts. Therefore, even though I hate to admit it, I guess Filipinos are used to being insulted, that they could take it as something as light-hearted as a joke. The hosts, knowing that it is acceptable to Filipinos to be insulted, used it as a medium to bring laughter to the audience, because it was what they were paid for. It appeared to me that they would do whatever it takes to do their job, that job being to de-stress the audience, and that’s why, after insulting someone from the audience, babawiin nila para gumaan yung loob ng tao. And I guess, that’s all I can say.
My father and I left around 5 minutes before 11:30 pm because we didn’t want the hosts to notice that we were leaving. They would definitely notice us if a group as big as a class went out at the same time. After going out, we went to Burger King and ate some midnight snack, before going home. I definitely had a fun time in the comedy bar, but if someone asked me to go to a comedy bar again, I wouldn’t. It’s just not my thing, really.
CPM 102531 | SA 21 Q