I’ve always wanted to go to a comedy bar. Last May 5th, I finally had a chance to go to one. The bar’s name was Laffline Comedy Bar, and was located along Timog Avenue. I went along with three of my blockmates, who were also my classmates. I have to say that I only got to be in Laffline up until around 11:30 – 12:00, and did not finish watching the whole event.
From far away, I could already see lights emanating from the signage of the comedy bar. The sign said “Laffline”, and also contained the names of featured performers for a given night. That night, two of the names included were Chokoleit and Ethel Booba. I have heard these names before, and from what I knew, they were really good comedians.
There were cars already parked along the parking lot in front of the building. Just outside the main doors stood a few guards, inspecting the bags of those who were coming in. I’ve noticed that they were already asking people how many people they were in a group. I was not used to guards asking that kind of question because I only hear those from ushers in restaurants. We had our bags inspected and told the guard that we were three in the group, but there were other people who’ll be arriving later on.
He let us in, and I immediately saw a small crowd of people in front of a front desk. That was where we pay the entrance fee of P300. To the left was a bar area, where I saw bottles on shelves, typical of a regular bar. We then proceeded to the main area where the stage, and tables and chairs were found. There were already people seated – some in front of the stage, in the middle, and in the back. The bar wasn’t all that crowded at that time. On the stage, there were already three performers, or comedians, interacting with the audience. My dad told me before that I shouldn’t sit in front; as they were the people who get picked on by the comedians a lot. And sure enough, they were already picking on this group of balikbayans from the US, particularly, an old man. I think this was because the comedians can interact more easily with those in front than those seated in the middle and in the back. They did, however, interacted with some audience members in the middle, a few minutes after we took our seat. But they did not do that again when the place was already packed with people.
I noticed that the waiters are careful when it came to the way people are seated. They wouldn’t allow too many people seated around one table. When more people came to our group, we were asked to move to a bigger table, one that was closer to the front. I think they wanted to be as efficient in seating people as possible, so that they can seat more people. By around 11 o’clock, the place was already full of people. The waiters roam around, taking orders from the customers. The customers then had to sign a piece of paper, where their orders were written on. This was maybe to ensure that the customers pay for what they ordered when they leave.
The stage was well lit, with the lights hanging from the ceiling pointing to the stage. There was also what I think is a small TV screen hanging from the ceiling as well. When audience members were asked to sing on stage, the comedians would point to the screen. The backdrop for the stage was made up of drawings of musical instruments and notes. For me, it felt out of place, since that was a comedy bar, not a karaoke bar where the design would be more appropriate, although, there were singing performances throughout the night. There was a tech booth to the side of the stage, where there were two people manning it. In my knowledge, this was where lights and sounds effects were controlled from.
The form of entertainment in that comedy bar, or any other comedy bar, is live. Live entertainment is different from the kind of entertainment we get from watching TV, or listening to music simply because it is live. While they were performing, one of the comedians said how the MTRCB cannot control the material they use on stage. The MTRCB could not censor the language and theme the comedians used. I think live entertainment is an effective way to deliver comedy. The comedians can directly interact with the audience. Having a live performance also shows how good a live performer is. A good live performer must know how to handle sticky situations like awkward technical difficulties, or tough crowds. Unlike taped TV shows or recorded music, there is no editing; and everything the audience sees is raw entertainment. Sure, there might be some scripted parts of a performance, but the fact that there are no do-overs adds real pressure to the performer.
The comedians commonly had sexuality as the theme in their performances, specifically homosexuality. They would either talk about themselves being homosexuals or some sexual experiences. Accompanying the themes was the type of language they used, which was adult language. I’d say that adult language wasn’t inappropriate for the event. The audience members were desensitized about the themes and language the comedians used. The comedians even explicitly stated that everybody should be mature about the language they use, stating how we should call things as they really are. It wasn’t only the words they used that were adult in nature, but the way they moved. For example, they would move their arms in a masturbatory fashion. I honestly knew what they were imitating to do.
The comedians often share their homosexual experiences through their acts, in comedic sorts of way. For example, one comedian was sharing how he disliked having a penis, and started slapping it. He ended up masturbating. In a society where homosexuality is slowly being accepted, it’s nice to see gay people being proud of what they are, and sharing it to the world in the form of comedy. In the end, I had a fun time watching them perform. And that’s what a comedy bar is supposed to do – to make people have fun and enjoy themselves.
James Adrian D. Esguerra – 101426 – SA 21 A