May 5, 2012 was really a day to remember. That day was our first time to enter a comedy bar. Days before the event, we had prepared ourselves with stories from other people and warnings on what to expect at such a place. Comprehending their narrations, we individually tried to imagine what we might experience and prepared ourselves for the things that is in stored for us. Despite the feeling of being prepared, nervousness filled us as we left our respective homes to go to a foreign place – Lafline Comedy Bar Timog Avenue.
With the long day that depleted most of our energy level, tiredness overshadowed us as we travelled to our destination. Nine thirty in the evening was the call time. Naturally, it was extra dark outside. The outer appearance of the comedy bar sent an eerie feeling (perhaps because of the poor lighting). It was very similar to those bars that were featured or used as shooting place on television shows where lots of guys drink and have fun or drunken people fight, hitting themselves with anything that they can lift. We suddenly remembered our parents’ endless reminders about places like comedy bars and other kinds of bar in general. Although Lafline Comedy Bar looked like a place different as what typical bars portray in television, it still was not able to send an aura of tranquillity. With the feeling of excitement muddling up with fear, we took all the guts we can accumulate and finally marched in.
Reaching the guarded entrance, two securities were tasked to check everyone’s belongings. This was one of things that sent a feeling of being secured. It was one of the management’s ways to let their customers feel that they are concerned with everyone’s security. With the night still young (as they call it), we met several people (in groups or individually) who are about to enter the comedy bar too. Most were girls, probably in mid-twenties. They are probably co-workers which happen to just leave work and decided to have some fun and enjoy the Saturday night instead of going home at once. The guard or bouncer directed us in and was received by the front desk lady to pay an entrance fee of 300 pesos. The entrance fee is solely for the entrance plus the entertainment only, no complementary drinks or anything included. It seemed like a fair price for a place where one can be entertained and can be spared from the heat of the summer season. The people assigned at the entrance all possess a welcoming character. In fact, they were kind enough to assist every guest through the whole routine, from paying to choosing an area then directing the way and then settling in the seats. This was a very good way of making someone’s first time feel good. We paid the fee and were then directed to the seats.
As we entered the area where all the entertainment-seekers were seated, we learned that most of our classmates have already arrived. Comedians were already hitting the stage as we searched for our block mates to seat with them. With the half-filled bar at nine thirty in the evening, we were able to find our block mates and thus decided to settle down.
At that time, most of the guests in the bar were our classmates. In the seats at the middle of the front row laughed a group, perhaps a family consisting of single men and women, couples and a man approximately in his early 50s which happened to be the topic of the night, probably around twelve people. There was also the group, which we met outside, seated together by the third row. Beside us was a family of three together with their son’s wife who ate and drank and laughed. There were not much people coming in for some time. But at around ten thirty when the night is slowly reaching its peak, the number of customers started to increase. One of our guess is that people get more excited as it gets later in the night. And we later learned that the main comedians set foot on stage when it was past twelve midnight. Here is an analogy that we made for the comedy bar based on our observations: the later the night, the more famous the comedian; the more famous the comedian, the more the people.
By about eleven in the evening, we were already “in” the comedy bar. By this time, we had already immersed ourselves in the place. The amount of time that we spent in the comedy bar really helped in giving us the feeling of belongingness. Engrossed in the entertainment that the comedians are giving us, we failed to notice that almost the whole bar was already full. Friends were shouting on top of their voices as they reserve seats for some company that will be coming late. There was a group of beautiful girls drinking and smoking as they talk to each other, ignoring the performances happening in the stage. With alcohol and nicotine mixing in their system, they were really showing everyone how free they are, how happy they are expressing themselves, and how much enjoyment they are receiving given the wild aura of the bar.
Listening closely, most of the jokes the comedians delivered were, if not humiliation and curses, green jokes. As they repeatedly say, everyone in the bar is equal, “…kahit sino ka man sa labas, pagpasok mo dito, wala kaming paki…” They were also very open in saying words which may be deemed as taboo outside the bar. The subtle or blunt way of referring to private parts of both male and female, the continuous sounds and actions which depicts sexual acts and the never ending “malulutong na mura”, and things that are not openly spoken outside the bar are the common topics inside the bar. And of course, those who make fun of themselves or their co-comedians just to entertain and to make other people laugh are also common. These “jokes” run all through the night and this is difficult for first timers like us. Something that we take for granted is the bread and butter of another. To keep the whole crowd entertained from nine in the evening until three in the morning is a great feat that the comedy bar overcomes for a living.
First time experiences will always be regarded as something very important and worth remembering. Our experience in Laffline Comedy Bar opened our innocent and unexposed minds. Through that awesome experience, we were introduced to an area in society where people of the third sex are greatly accepted and respected because of the entertainment that they give. Thinking through the experience, we came to realize that the society really offers a balance in everything and that each and everyone’s role in society is of equal importance. There are places and people in the society that stresses us, but there are also places and people in the society that entertains us. This is what a comedy bar is all about, entertainment. We went inside the comedy bar full of doubt; we were not sure of the things that may happen to us. We left the comedy bar with new found respect for the third sex who courageously shown the world who they really are, for the comedians who put their best effort to make their customers enjoy the night, and for the people who support comedy bars for without them, many will not have jobs. We went inside the comedy bar armed with stories of the experiences of other people. We left the comedy bar bringing with us our own stories to tell.
Isabelle-Lynn Co and Vincent Su