One may never really appreciate the value of laughter until he or she visits a comedy bar. Through visiting and observing Laffline, a comedy bar found in Timog, I gained a newfound perspective in these types of entertainment hotspots as being more than a commercial establishment. The atmosphere in comedy bars such as Laffline is most definitely different than the everyday settings of being in an office or in school. In fact, it could be said that a comedy bar is a totally different world altogether—one that challenges most, if not all, concepts governing society today. It’s a world with arguably very little worries to bother yourself with, aside from how much money you have left (which rarely matters in the setting) or what drink you should indulge yourself in next.
The very first observation you would notice about a comedy bar such as Laffline is its seating arrangement. The tables and chairs are tightly packed and appear to be drawn to the stage. These seats easily get filled up with people as the night goes on. The seats are so tightly packed that you would literally be less than an arm’s length from the stranger next to you. As awkward as it appears, one never really bothers as, just as the seats seem to be drawn to the stage, so are the audience. It is very easy to get lost from your sense of time and space in a comedy bar. Add alcohol to the mix and it will feel that the limitations of time never even existed. As such, the arrangement of the tables and chairs do not affect one’s preference for space as the program is more than enough to keep the viewers in trance. This is in stark contrast with the settings found in the office and in school. In both these settings, it appears that time and space governs most of our actions. These two elements remain looming above the workplace and school such that in most cases they are the underlying roots of the problems found within these two settings. In the workplace, the constraint of time and limitation of space one has takes a toll on the worker’s capacity to do his job well. This applies in the school setting as well in terms of the student-teacher relationships at play. With limited time come more shortened and less detailed versions of lessons which turn out as a disadvantage for the student.
Another most striking observation in the Laffline comedy bar is the type of people found in it. There is to method to distinguish one’s social class from the other. It appears that people from all ages and walks of life could be found in the comedy bar—rich or poor, young or old, straight or homosexual. Moreover, there is no “higher authority” found in Laffline. The comedians reiterated countless times that inside the venue, everyone is equal and no one has the right to be offended by what these comedians say. As such, even the balikbayans and political figures fall to the countless hirits of the comedians. This is what truly makes Laffline or any comedy bar for that matter different. There is no social stratification found within the walls of the comedy bar. As such, the amount of money and influence one has is irrelevant to the comedians and to the rest of the audience as well. You cannot buy anything in the comedy bar other than more alcohol or food. Aside from that, the rest of the inhabitants of the comedy bar remain oblivious to one’s monetary status.
The value for equality is clearly promoted in Laffline. The fact that one’s monetary status is irrelevant is further reinforced by the fact that the products in Laffline are rather cheap and affordable. The drinks in Laffline are much cheaper than those found in other bars. A drink that may cost 120 pesos in another bar costs less than 80 pesos inside the comedy bar. As such, anyone can afford a drink or two in the comedy bar. This further reinforces the fact that everyone has a right to be entertained and have fun. Aside from the much more affordable prices found in Laffline, the types of jokes also promote the overall equality of the audience. Most of the jokes are sexually explicit while some are directed to humiliate certain members of the audience. These types jokes cater to every human’s insecurity to talk about sexual things and to comment about someone’s physical, social, or mental form. In other words, it is natural for us to talk about these topics but because society dictates it, we must refrain from doing so publicly. As such, Laffline breaks the social norms regarding these topics and openly talks and comments about them, making the comedy-bar business a successful one. There really is no other place to speak of these topics openly besides the setting of a comedy bar. And because it is innate for everyone, regardless of social class, these jokes cater to the upper class and working class alike, further reinforcing the fact that everyone inside the comedy bar is deemed equal.
With all this said, it is clear that comedy bars truly are commercial institutions like none other. Not only do comedy bars like Laffline provide entertainment affordable and interesting enough for any audience regardless of social class, but the method of entertaining is also unique and different. It could be likened to a society devoid of the limits of space and time; a community which challenged the norms and expectations predetermined by society. It is a worry-free place where one and all are perceived to be of equal status with one another. It is a melting pot of people from all walks of life who’ve come to enjoy the special entertainment that is comedy.
Don Angelo Buena, SA 21 J