If there’s anything that I love doing the most, it’s laughing. I have always loved comedy and any form of it. From the corniest pick-up line to the wittiest inside joke – name it – I’ll get a kick out of it like it’s the first joke I have ever heard in my life. Laughing is sort of like a drug that if I go on a day without I’d probably turn neurotic or something. It takes me on a natural high, no matter what the circumstance. So it was without a doubt that I had to choose to go to a comedy bar when we were to pick our destination for our field trip. I liked hanging around with funny people the best and it didn’t hurt shedding off a few bucks just to be around some. So it should be fun.
It was a Saturday night – the eighteenth of February, thirty minutes after nine. While other college kids were out partying, I was on a field trip…to a comedy bar. There I was, entering Laffline, not really knowing what to expect. The night was young and the place was still three fourths empty. It was a typical bar setting – the stage was lighted heavily, the audience area dimly lit, there was a hint of secondhand smoke in the air, and playful sound effects were present to hype the “euphoric” vibe up even more, among other things. As the night grew deeper, the comedy bar was slowly becoming into a full house. The place was filled up with people from, roughly, early twenties to mid forties, with only a few kids and some grand moms as outliers. The audience was a mix of college students, yuppies, couples both young and old, and even families. There were also a couple of balikbayans and foreigners in the house that were later on somehow paid special attention to.
The stand-up comedians that performed before us were all gay. They were clad in extra shiny clothes, micro mini skirts and ultra high heels; their faces with heavy make up on. It was hilarious how, at one point, I thought that one of them would actually pass as a really hot woman (he was skinny and his hair was great and all – plus he dressed hot) but then he talked in a deep, raspy voice and it was all ruined. It was the funniest. I, though, somehow found it ironic how through the night they talked about how they despised women, but there they were, trying too hard to look like women. What was more ironic was it was the transgender who voiced the most his (or her?) utter hatred to women. Who was I to judge, though? The stage was theirs and they had the freedom to do whatever they wanted; the freedom to do anything that the judging society outside might never render acceptable.
If there was one word to describe the type of comedy that they did present, it was low-end (okay, two words). You may think that I’m too blunt, or you may say I’m just being realistic. Here’s why I think this is so. They made deeply offensive remarks to some members of the audience, which was heavily based on physical appearance. If you were good-looking, they would tend to look for your “weak points” just for the sake of poking fun at you. Furthermore, green jokes were thrown one after another. If I’m not mistaken, they were the main content of their stints. The amount of profanity in just one sitting was too damn high, too. It was just like blabbering penis-balls-fuck-tits-doggy-style-this-pussy-that and expecting people to laugh just by the mere mention of these words. (It was funny in (500) Days of Summer, but that’s not even a comedy flick to begin with.) There. Sure, it’s all in good fun; but if that does not sound “low-end” enough, then I don’t know what does.
Don’t get me wrong, though. As I said, I loved comedy and any form of it. I was cracking up the whole night even when it already became predictable. If there was something as funny as the “I-didn’t-see-that-coming” joke it would probably be the “I-saw-that-coming” joke.
If you think about it, though, this is the type of humor that “typical” Filipino comedy-bar-goers do enjoy. It’s mostly young adults that come, and it could safely be said that for this type of audience, with libidos most likely at its peak, there’s nothing funnier than a well-crafted green joke…and foul mouthing on the side. Plus, I’m sure that these cursing, cross-dressing homosexuals would yield more laughs from a crowd like this than, say, Tina Fey who probably has a popularity of zero in a place like Laffline.
Furthermore, if you would listen closely, you would realize that beneath all those green jokes and bad words are actually stories that reflect the harsh realities for deeply conflicted minorities (such as these gay comedians) who do experience more pain than others. For instance, the transgendered one said that he got surgery to finally get female privates because it was hard (pun kind of intended) sticking his dick up all the time just so he could pull off a more feminine figure. Of course, he also said that guys almost always preferred girls than gays just because they had vaginas. It was a touchy topic but because of the jokes he said in line with his narration of this anecdote of his, it actually didn’t feel like it was such a burden talking about it with such a huge crowd.
Stand-up comedy, then, becomes a way of escape in the sense that the awkwardness of bringing up sensitive issues (such as homosexuality) in daily conversations would eventually be inexistent. It would be through “laughing it off” that topics such as these easily become lighter and, at the very least, bearable.
And just like that, the art of trying to make people laugh doesn’t seem so one-dimensional anymore.
Danielle Urmaza. 103916. Section Q.