When we first heard about our field trip for our Sociology and Anthropology class, we, Rosario Reyes, Maningning Francisco and Earl Murphy were amazed. Definitely, this field trip was completely different from what we were used to. Our professor told us that we were going to observe the place, the people who work there and those who go to this place. The three of us were thrilled and were filled with excitement. We were excited to accomplish the task that was given to us and at the same time, come to an environment we were not used to.
Last May 5, 2012, our class had the chance to go to a comedy bar, a place most of us had never been to. We went to Laffline, a comedy bar along a very lively place called Timog Avenue. The three of us arrived in the venue at around 9:15 pm. We were all excited to enter a new place and experience something we have never encountered before. We did not know what we were getting ourselves into but when we entered the bar together, we felt relieved to see a couple of our classmates already occupying a few tables. The show began with three performers singing very confidently on the stage and we noticed that they were “gay”. After singing, they warned everyone in the bar about the jokes they were going to make. They seemed to know that their jokes might somehow hurt the feelings of some people in the bar but still continued it anyway and called it “biru-biruan lang”. Finally, the show began and they started making jokes and their first “victim” was the old man seated on the front row. They were saying jokes about the man being old and they even sang the song, “The End is Near”. They also said dirty jokes, still referring to the old man. At first, we were surprised by their offensive jokes but at the same time, we also tried to understand that they were only doing it to make people laugh. We laughed with the other people in the bar as they were picking on the old man but as the time went by, the hosts stopped and went around the bar to approach those who were seated at the back. Some looked scared that the hosts might make jokes on them too. Some were not looking at them in the eye and some were even hiding behind their friends just like what one of our classmates did.
While they were going around, a group of old women went in and the hosts sang “Ave Maria”. They also said: “Naliligaw po yata kayo, hindi po dito ang prusisyon.” Everyone laughed as the hosts continued to go around. Their next stop was the table of our fellow Ateneans. They were making jokes about different schools and Universities. One of their unforgettable jokes was when they said: “Ganyan na ba ang itsura ng mga Atenista ngayon?” We found that really offensive but the students in that table still laughed at the joke. After that, the hosts went back to the stage and started to pick on the old man again. This time, the three of us did not find it funny anymore. We found it so rude that they were saying curse words to the the poor man. He had his family with him but they were also laughing at him and with him. We felt pity towards the old man but at the same time, felt confused if he also found it amusing because he was also laughing even if harsh words were said to him.
The second part of the show started and this time, it was all the performances coming from the host themselves. It was a mix of singing, dancing, acting and impersonating. One of the hosts sang a duet performed just by himself. He sang as both the guy and the girl. The audience was so amazed to see such a skill and to hear such a beautiful voice. We were entertained by how someone who is a man biologically can sound like a real woman when singing. After singing, the comedian went back to saying silly jokes. He talked about the hardships of being a gay and how he became a transsexual. The environment seemed serious for a moment until he joked about his penis being cut off and that it is being served with the sisig. Everyone laughed as the comedian left the stage. The next hosts did performances similar as the first performances. They did what they did to make people laugh and make money at the same time.
Aside from these observations, we also came to realize why these people do what they do. First is the workers. Since that kind of environment has become their workplace, they became so used to the dirty jokes, the “gay” performances and the making-fun-of-other-people kind of thing. The workers go to the comedy bar almost every day of their lives that they tend to become “immune” to the happenings in the place. What they do may appear to be derogatory for some people but there is a reason why their jokes are like that. People go to comedy bars because they want to have fun. The comedians will not do these things if people do not like them. For their customers, these “green” and offensive jokes are what make the experience unique. Some even bring their relatives from other countries to this place. We can only imagine how their jokes may be unacceptable to society if these are brought out so publicly and out in the open because the topics may be sensitive or taboo and it is only in this kind of place that these jokes become acceptable. Let us not put all the blame on these comedians because they will not continue to do their job the way they do if people do not patronize it. They act the way they do because that is how they are expected to act inside the comedy bar. We believe that being a comedian is no easy task because their job requires skills, patience, and hard work.
Second is the audience. The people who go there seem to be aware of what is going to happen in the bar. They knew that if they sit in front, the jokes will be on them and if they sit at the back, their chances of being picked on is less. People go to comedy bars to have fun and to experience something that they do not usually experience. The customers actually go to these bars for the offensive and “green” jokes because comedy bars are known for these things. It has been established that when you go to a comedy bar, you should be open mined and you should not take the jokes of the comedians seriously because the things going on inside the bar are all just for fun.
When it was time to leave the bar, we found ourselves not wanting to leave. The experience was different and we were able to observe different kinds of people. We entered a different environment and it was surprisingly fun. We were also able to understand the comedians as well as the customers. The comedy bar experience was truly memorable because it opened our minds to things that we were not exposed to. We left the bar with a different perception on gay comedians and comedy bars. We opened our eyes to a different world, a world we were not used to, a world of reality.
By: Earl Murphy, Rosario Reyes, and Maningning Francisco