Hit The Lights

13 May

The place shines brightly with its neon lights to capture the attention of the people outside and to add to the lively atmosphere inside the bar. On the left side of the reception desk, one can easily find out why such a place is called a bar with its dimly lit counter table, bottles of wine and other drinks. The mood lights up all the more as we see several tables surrounding the vividly highlighted stage. Large groups of people can be seen at the higher level of the area. On the lower level, a handful of groups can be seen on the left side while groups with less than 4 members are on the right. Waiters were circling the place, approaching tables and taking peoples’ orders.

One of the attendants led us to a table at the lower level of the area. Apparently, we have to take up as much space as there is. It was a good thing that we can combine tables so the place still accommodates us. Not surprisingly, the place was crowded with a number of audience so we decided to get our orders as soon as possible. The food was limited to finger food, snacks, and “pulutan”. We decided just to have sisig and a bucket of beer. It was also a good thing that we ordered early because as time passed, the number of customers began to increase and the demand for food and drink became for abundant.The food came in just at the right moment since the show was about to start.

As the show started, the audience began to sit in the areas that they have been assigned to and the entertainers started to enter the stage one by one. The whole set of comedians gave a song number as the opening act and introduced themselves afterwards. For starters, the comedians approached a nearby table, just in front of the stage, and gave friendly jokes about an old man in the group. Each comedian had his or her own segment and these segments showed the different types of comedic styles that each entertainer had. It’s an amusing thing to point out that most of the comedians kept coming back to have a good laugh with the old man. The entertainers made sure that this is all for fun and that everything under the sun can be turned into a laughing matter. As stated earlier, each one has his or her own style of making the audience laugh. Aside from using insulting yet funny jokes, the comedians entertained the audience with their talents in singing and dancing.

One prominent topic of their jokes is their sexuality. The gay men knew they were gay, liked it and were proud of it. A lot of them were recounting, or maybe just inventing, their past sexual adventures for the entertainment of the audience. Most of these stories were even educational. One of them was ranting about how hard, pun not intended,  it was to be a gay man and be…gifted. He told us that most gay men were very well endowed and even pointed out to one of the comedians. He shared his experience in Thailand where he had his penis removed and even forced an audience member to feel it.This kind of humor would be very weird and unpleasant to conservative people but I guess if you’re going to a comedy bar, you should be prepared for these kinds of jokes.

During the segments wherein the entertainers go around the area, we get to see more of the audience and their interaction with the comedians. Most of them are adults so it was easy to make green and slightly debasing jokes about them. Some of the audience were even put into a hot seat. Although these scenarios are actually humiliating, the whole point of it being embarrassing seemed to make the whole place more lively and hilarious. The entertainers made it clear that what they are doing is to make people laugh and that everyone, under the same roof, will undergo a similar experience. Just to prove this statement true, some of our classmates had their own special experience in the comedy bar.

Two of our classmates had the chance to really participate in the show. Ana Karina Sesbreno, who was from our table, was chosen to sing when one of the entertainers were at our table. It was during the time when one comedian first went around the place and made comical comments about people. Later during the show, she really was asked to come up on stage and sing. After a few jokes about Ateneo, her dress and other random things, she was asked to sing, but declined after another set of jokes. She then pointed another classmate to fill in for her, Ian Hermogenes, who sang two songs after being a subject of many rounds of different jokes.

Our night made us think about the whole point of a comedy bar. Ever since 1970, bars have started to feature stand-up comedy which was what we saw in Laffline, the comedy bar we visited. Why have comedy bars been built in the first place? That is a question that came to our minds when we began to contemplate on our experience.

A comedy bar is a place for people to eat, drink and enjoy. One thing that is always found in a comedy bar is laughter and because of that, people go there to be happy. There may be times when stress is too much for some to bear and they find no better way to be relieved from it than by laughing at the jokes and stunts of the comedians who work in the said bars. These were designed to help people forget about the problems they have in their lives. We noticed that most of the people that were there were in groups whose ages ranged from late teens to early forties. They seemed to be either a barkada or a group of co-workers. There were also families present there; people in their early twenties with their parents. It seems like the place is a usual venue for de-stressing. Old friends who decide to get together again or co-workers who’d like to get away from their jobs. Aside from people from Ateneo, there didn’t seem to be a lot of teenagers our age there. Teenagers nowadays do not really tend to hang-out in comedy bars but rather in places like Fiamma or 7th High. Places like Laffline and Punchline therefore embody this kind of authenticity. Comedy bars are an important part of our culture. It shows how most Filipinos like to spend their free time and the kind of humor they find funny. This sort of reflects how in the past decades, Filipinos would always find something funny out of everything and reflects our natural sense of telling jokes. Places like these thrive on reputation alone. They don’t hold a majority of the entertainment market’s consumers yet they still stand today because we want them to.

In analyzing the effects and influence that comedy bars project, we can see that it plays a big role in our culture, especially the FIlipino’s perspective on comedy. Being used to slapstick during the early years of comedy, stand-up comedy in this form allows the genre to be more versatile and reach a wider demographic. And in our country’s case, comedy did take over for some time. Modern examples would be the fame of different stand-up comedians, like Chokoleit, K Brosas and most of all, Vice Ganda. Thus, comedy bars also help promote young talent in the industry of the art of hilarity.

Looking at the type of interaction between the audience and entertainers as well as the interaction between  the audience themselves, we now seem to understand what the comedians have been pointing out throughout the night. Starting from the simplest of things that we have observed, our whole experience brings out the idea that the comedy bar is a place that brings together all kinds of people. First of all, the music were mostly popular songs. Most probably, everyone in the place has encountered the songs at least once. Even though it is not much of a big deal, it is the kind of thing that makes you realize that it was made to build a connection among the people. Second, the type of comedy displayed by the entertainers is something that all of us can relate to. No one gets left out. They are simple jokes that everyone can laugh at and still ensures that people are equal in that place. Last and most important of all, the treatment we get from the entertainers brings out the idea more prominently. As stated before, there were various kinds of people present in the comedy bar. There were people of all ages, class, and even race. Although this is the case, we were all subjected to the same treatment. We found this as such an amazing aspect of the comedy bar. All in all, these factors in which all of us can relate to are responsible for sense of belonging that we encounter.

Comedy bars may have been popular for the laughter and joy they bring to the masses but we, now, recognize another side that they bring out in our culture and society. In these types of places, we experience a sense of belongingness, of people not being different from each other because in this social setting, we don’t have to be. Once the stage lights go on, everyone is equal and no one is no longer different from one another.

Ian Hermogenes 111876
Tristan Molina 112674
Christelle Tecson 113935
SA 21 Section J


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